The Baxter’s annual Zabalaza Theatre Festival returns for its ninth edition, from March 8 to 16, with a fresh and creative line-up, showcasing some of the finest theatre and emerging artists from all over the Western Cape.
This year, the Baxter will buzz with works by new theatremakers as nearly 40 theatre productions and events, featuring well over 100 artists and performers, make up the programme, which is filled with “innovation, relevance and originality”.
The team that make up the festival comprises the award-winning actor and director Mdu Kweyama as curator, along with artistic director Bongile Mantsai, coordinator Zoleka Helesi, administrator Jestine Sias and Monde Myataza (marketing and sales).
The continued support from the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the City of Cape Town, Distell, HCI Foundation and Pick n Pay has enabled the successful and sustained growth of the festival every year, allowing it to maintain its reputation as one of the leading development platforms of its kind in South Africa.
Following the overwhelming support and success of the Zabalaza Challenge in 2018, this vital initiative will once again become an important way to contribute in a meaningful and impactful way, to not only the festival, but also to the artists and the arts. Baxter CEO and artistic director Lara Foot, who introduced the challenge last year, encourages and challenges individuals, businesses, corporates, organisations and the public, to join her in purchasing bulk tickets, at only R30 per ticket. These tickets will be offered and distributed to those who are not able to afford them.
“This is an investment into the future of theatre-making in the Western Cape,” explains Foot. “Not only will these tickets be given to learners or communities who cannot afford to purchase them, the door takings from each show will go straight back the groups or artists, which, in turn, means more plays by more talented artists.” (Taking up the challenge is simple and easy and can be done by visiting www.baxter.co.za/ZabalazaChallenge.)
The University of Cape Town’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, will be the keynote speaker at the gala opening this year.
The festival kicked off with the Family Carnival Weekend on February 10 and 11, which was aimed at and curated for the entire family to enjoy together.
The main festival will run from March 11 to 16 with daily shows at 10am, 11:30, 4.30pm and 7pm throughout the week. The full programme can be viewed on the Baxter website at www.baxter.co.za. These productions were the strongest productions chosen from four mini festivals that took place over two weekends in Khayelitsha, Delft, Nyanga and Langa.
On March 16, at 7pm, in the Concert Hall, the acclaimed poetry and spoken word group Lingua Franca, will explores how fatherlessness affects young black males from the townships in post-colonial South Africa by using poetry, images and sounds. It is directed by Lwanda Sindaphi.
The festival will close with an award ceremony on Saturday, March 16, where accolades will be awarded to artists and productions in various categories. The Best of the Zabalaza Theatre Festival winner will be announced, and the production will receive a two-week run at the Baxter in May.
* Tickets for each production on the main festival cost R30 each, while shows over the Family Carnival Weekend are priced differently. Bookings are through www.webtickets.co.za, or at Pick n Pay outlets.