Theatre Buzz

Theatre Buzz

Hundreds of fresh theatrical voices at the Baxter

The 2017 Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival, which takes place from March 18 to 25, will showcase a diverse programme of 56 different productions – a record for the annual festival – performed by nearly 300 artists, from all over the Western Cape and other regions, covering various genres, theatrical styles and languages.

Now in its seventh year, this year’s instalment of the leading development festival features young and rising talent, along with some stalwarts and previous participants who will fill the Baxter stages over the eight-day event. The focus this year is on fresh and innovative ideas.

The festival kicks off with the Zabalaza Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19, when all the venues and spaces in the Baxter theatre complex will “pulsate with dynamic and assorted artistic activities” featuring nearly 30 productions.

This is followed by the Zabalaza Week from Monday to Friday, March 20 to 25, with daily performances starting at 10am and continuing throughout the day until 8pm, in various venues and performed in six different languages – English, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sesotho, Setswane and Afrikaans.

Productions from groups all the over the Western Cape, including some further afield such as Knysna, Wellington, Oudtshoorn, Swellendam, Bredasdorp and Paarl, make up the bulk of the programme, while there are two each from the Eastern Cape, Johannesburg and Pretoria and one from Durban.

The productions were primarily selected from the mini-festivals which were held earlier this year in Worcester, Nyanga East, Khayelitsha, Delft, the Eden Drama Festival, the Cape Winelands Festival and the Overberg Drama Festival. The winning productions from the latter three festivals are also included in the line-up.

The festival boasts multiple genres – from drama, musical theatre, movement/dance to physical theatre and comedy. One of the innovations this year is the introduction of reggae in the musical theatre category.

In 2016 Zabalaza won a special Fleur du Cap award for Innovation in Theatre.

* Tickets for the festival are R30 and R40 for the Reggae Edition and booking is through Computicket.

To view the full festival programme, visit