Entries open for Zabalaza Festival

The Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival is calling for applications from theatre-makers, directors, script writers, community groups and theatre companies to participate in the 2017 Zabalaza Theatre Festival.

The deadline for applications is Monday September 26.

The 7th annual Zabalaza Theatre Festival will take place from March 17 to 26 next year. The festival was launched in 2011 with a new name, managing team, vision, format and programme designed to showcase new and upcoming talent that may otherwise not be seen on professional stages. The full name, Zabalaza Intsika eBaxter Theatre loosely translated, means two things: striving towards being a pillar of the Baxter Theatre Centre and striving towards success.

Since its inception the festival has grown exponentially with the organisers paying special attention to innovation and expanding the programme. Previous Best Production winners are Uhlazo by Loyiso Damoyi (2011), Worst of Both Worlds by Bulelani Mabutyana (2012), Skierlik by Phillip Dikotla (2013), The Champion by Khayalethu Anthony (2014), Paul Noko’s Fruit (2015) and most recently, Lauren Hannie’s Tip-ex (2016). These productions went on to be staged at various festivals and events in the Western Cape. Skierlik received two Fleur du Cap nominations and Khayalethu Anthony won the Fleur du Cap award for Best Performance in a review, cabaret or one-person show for The Champion.

Productions which are selected from applications received for 2017 will first be auditioned and will then be invited to participate in the Zabalaza mini-festivals, which are planned for January 2017, when the final selection for the 2017 line-up will be made. Auditions take place from end of September through to December, so artists are encouraged to apply early.

The festival organisers are looking for one or two-handers, children’s theatre productions, puppetry, musical theatre, drama, comedy, physical theatre and storytelling.

For the 2017 Zabalaza Theatre Festival previous festival participants are also welcome to apply with any of the plays they have done in the past. The only plays which won’t be allowed to re-enter are all the previous winners of the Zabalaza Theatre Festival and productions that were offered short seasons at the Baxter Theatre Centre.

“We have seen some very strong productions since 2011 and it’s really sad when you no longer see some of these great plays. We want to allow theatre makers to also revive some of their strongest work and bring them to the festival. This is just one of the many feedback points we received from artists. We are therefore responding to that call as Zabalaza,” says Thami Mbongo, Zabalaza artistic director.

The Zabalaza festival team has already been hard at work searching for productions that will be part of next year’s programme through the Eden, Overberg and Cape Winelands Drama Festivals. The winning productions from these festivals will automatically form part of the 2017 line-up although the final selection from these regions will be made in November.

Entry forms may be obtained from the festival office at the Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch. \mentors to the participating theatre groups leading up to the festival’s opening.

The team heading up the festival is made up of artistic director Thami Mbongo, co-ordinator Zoleka Helesi and executive director Bongile Mantsai.

The core team is complemented by a number of fieldworkers – various artistic experts who play the role of mentors to the participating theatre groups leading up to the festival’s opening.

For more information, contact Zoleka Helesi on 021 680 3980 or email zoleka.helesi@uct.ac.za or visit www.baxter.co.za