Ikhwezi Theatre Festival

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(Also referred to as the Ikhwezi Community Theatre Festival or simply the Ikhwezi Festival) Inititated in 1998 with Itumeleng Wa-Lehulere as Festival Director, it formed part of the Baxter Theatre Centre’s Ikhwezi Outreach Programme. As part of the latter programme, directors' workshops were held throughout the year, and selected performance groups visited the Baxter Theatre Centre to present their plays and workshop their theatre skills during the Festival – usually held Two plays were usually selected from the festival productions for a special run in the Sanlam Studio, billed as "The Best of Ikhwezi". The festival received a National Arts and Culture Trust Award for its contribution in 2004.

Over the years the festival showcased over more than 200 new works and it has seen young performers like Chuma Sopotela, and Thami Mbongo, Andrea Dondolo, Andile Nebulane and Connie George move from amateur to professional actor status.

As an integral part of the programme, directors' workshops were held, throughout the year, with actors, writers and directors attending workshops and participating in the festival, conducted under the guidance of highly acclaimed local playwrights, directors and other theatre specialists. In the workshops, which form the foundation of the overall vision of the festival, they were taken through the finer arts of the director’s task, such as pre-production planning, finance, funding, marketing, casting, rehearsals and the opening night. Creative writing in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa was also included in the workshops.

The festival aimed to developing critical thinking among audiences and theatre practitioners through the arts; popularising social programmes such as health, environment, education and human rights; using the arts to stimulate community initiatives; developing new playwrights in the Western Cape; and exposing new and upcoming actors, writers and directors to mainstream theatre.

In 2011 the Baxter Theatre Centre changed the name of the Ikhwezi Theatre Festival to the Zabalaza Theatre Festival, with a new managing team, vision, format and programme.



For more information

See the Baxter Theatre and the Baxter Theatre website at http://www.baxter.co.za/

See also Community Theatre, Community Theatre Festivals and Festivals

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