UKZN’s Drama and Performance Studies department is currently hosting the SHAKESPEAREmustFALL? Theatre Festival at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, until October 2. This event coincides with the global commemorations of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.
The two-week student Theatre Festival highlights the work of young and emerging artists in KZN and features productions from UKZN (Howard College), the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and AFDA Durban, and seeks to engage with Shakespeare in a way that reflects the impact and presence of his plays in the contemporary South African context, particularly for young people.
“Shakespeare’s works remain the most performed plays in the world and offer a potentially unique perspective on the world we live in today. This Theatre Festival explores that perspective in our unique South African context,” says UKZN lecturer and festival director, Tamar Meskin.
There is a long and storied tradition of Shakespeare at UKZN; one of the most important of those stories is Welcome Msomi’s groundbreaking ‘Umabatha’, first staged in 1970 at the Open Air Theatre at UKZN, marking the first presentation in South Africa of an isiZulu version of a full-scale Shakespearean production.
“‘Umabatha’ went on to play to a global audience, has since been published and is recognised as the seminal beginning point of Africa’s engagement with decolonising Shakespeare,” adds Meskin.
Msomi will deliver the keynote address on September 30.
Between 2001 and 2010, UKZN presented an annual Shakespeare Festival, which saw more than 9000 school learners visit the University to see productions ranging from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Twelfth Night’.
“The goal in each production was to make Shakespeare accessible for a multicultural, young, and uniquely South African audience,” concludes Meskin.
* Performances are at 6.30pm daily. Tickets are R40 for adults, R20 for scholars, students and block bookings over 10.
Tickets may be reserved by calling 031 260 3133; or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, they are available an hour before the performance, at the door.
SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES:
DUT: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’
Directed by Debbie Lutge
Friday September 23 at 6.30pm
Saturday, September 24 at 6.30pm
AFDA: ‘Shakespeare’s Women – The Space Between’
Written by Janet van Eeden
Directed by Clinton Marius
Monday, September 26 at 6.30pm
Tuesday, September 27 at 6.30pm
UKZN – HOWARD COLLEGE: ‘The Past is Prologue’
Devised by Tamar Meskin, with Kamini Govender, Devaksha Moodley, and Donna Steel
Directed by Tamar Meskin
Friday, September 30 at 6.30pm
Saturday, October 1 at 6.30pm
Sunday, October 2 at 3pm