The Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019 returns to the Baxter with fresh and vibrant works and a special Weekend Programme. The fresh and creative line-up will showcase some of the finest theatre and emerging artists from all over the Western Cape from 8 to 16 March 2019.

Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019: Baxter

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 dynamic 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).

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.

The University of Cape Town’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, will be the keynote speaker at the Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019 gala opening this year.

Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019 highlights

The festival kicks off with the Family Carnival Weekend on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March, which is aimed at and curated for the entire family to enjoy together, with a wide range of activities and shows on offer. Every venue and space in the Baxter will come alive with energetic performances, alongside some fun family activities. Kids will have plenty to do with jumping castles and face-painting while the rest of the family will be able to enjoy the shows on offer, as well as the food, clothing and accessory stalls.

Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019: Baxter

Six productions from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) finals will be staged over the weekend with participants from the Overberg, Cape Winelands, Central Karoo and Garden Route Districts presenting their best work.

The weekend line-up will boast some top local performances and artists. On Saturday, at 3pm, in the Concert Hall, afro-jazz music sensation Liso Somila Toyi will present Mdantsane Grooves, featuring Luyolo Lenga, accompanied by Wimbo Project, with artists from Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Cape Town. At 4.30pm in the Theatre, Hip-Hop music artist Pzho Thee Kulguy and friends will stage an all Hip-Hop concert called Incwadi (The Book).

Popular comedian Siya Seya returns to the festival to offer all the laughs in his exclusive isiXhosa comedy show entitled, Critical but Stable at 7pm, in the Baxter Concert Hall. Reggae Edition, which is on in the Masambe Theatre at 7pm, takes reggae music from the streets of Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Mitchell’s Plain, into the mainstream at the festival.

Rising afro-jazz young star, Linomtha, along with Sobantwan and Buhlebendalo Mda from The Soil-fame will present She Multiplied on Sunday, at 3pm in the Theatre. The show is dedicated to women of South Africa and pays tribute to those women who came before them, celebrating legends like Winnie Mandela, Busi Mhlongo, Miriam Makeba and Dorothy Masuka.

Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019: Baxter

The award-winning actor/director Thando Doni’s brand-new play Isithyilelo, looks at the scourge of corrupt priests who misuse their powers by urging congregations to donate money to the church and become rich in the process, while the poor remain poor. Doni, who was last seen in the Baxter’s production of #JustMen, will be showcased on the Platform for Special Talent at the Zabalaza Festival.

Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019 awards

The main festival runs from 11 to 16 March with daily shows at 10am, 11:30, 4.30pm and 7pm throughout the week. The full programme can be viewed on the Baxter website. These productions were the strongest productions chosen from four mini festivals that took place over two weekends in Khayelitsha, Delft, Nyanga and Langa.

The festival will close with an award ceremony on Saturday, 16 March, 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.

What: Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2019

Where and when: Baxter Theatre from 8 to 16 March 2019

Book: Webtickets or Pick n Pay outlets