Pupils prepare to perform the Bard’s works

Pupils from several schools spent a week taking part in workshops at the District Six Homecoming Centre in the lead-up to the 13th Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSFSA). SSFSA facilitators such as Cindy Tommy and industry professionals including Imaan Isaacs and Roberto Kyle shared tips with budding thespians on acting, directing and production.

The 13th Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSFSA) will host its longest season yet with the upcoming event taking place over three weeks at the Star Theatre in the District Six Homecoming Centre in Buitenkant Street from Monday May 8 to Saturday May 27, with performances nightly at 7.30pm.

The SSFSA is a youth drama festival event with a purely Shakespeare focus.

Since 2009, 12 435 pupils from 661 schools have performed in 582 plays in the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

This year’s fest is themed Unplugged and Illuminated in 2023! with 38 confirmed groups performing the Bard’s works over 17 days.

“The SSFSA is a catalyst for youth empowerment and over more than a decade we have developed a non-competitive, fully inclusive environment where school-going youth can build confidence, improve on life skills and have their voices heard, acknowledged, encouraged, challenged and respected,” says festival founder and CEO Kseniya Filinova-Bruton.

The festival welcomes pupils with different abilities and physical challenges such as the De La Bat School for the Deaf and the Pioneer School for the Visually Impaired, both in Worcester.

The full range of Shakespeare plays is on offer with texts also available in isiXhosa.

Plays are no more than 30 minutes in duration. Imaginations can run wild and pupils can be innovative with their own props, costumes, sets and interpretations. Throughout the preparation process, the SSFSA team is on hand to assist with scripts, acting and directing tips with a number of educational programmes established in the lead-up, to benefit educators, learner-directors and casts.

Tickets cost R110 each through Quicket. Visit www.ssfsa.co.za for more information.