Zabalaza to showcase multiple talents

Samuel Jumat and Llwellyn Bond in Afsny Punt.

The 2017 Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival, which takes place from Saturday March 18 to Saturday March 25, will showcase a programme of 56 productions, performed by nearly 300 artists.

Now in its seventh year, this leading development festival covers various genres, theatrical styles and languages.

Young and rising talent, along with some stalwarts and previous participants, will fill the Baxter stages over the eight-day event where the focus this year is on fresh and innovative ideas.

The festival kicks off with the Zabalaza Weekend on Saturday and Sunday March 18 and 19 March.

This is followed by the Zabalaza Week with daily performances in various venues and performed in six different languages – English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Setswane and Afrikaans.

Productions from groups all the over the Western Cape, including some further afield such as Knysna, Wellington, Oudtshoorn, Swellendam, Bredasdorp and Paarl, make up the bulk of the programme, while there are two each from the Eastern Cape, Johannesburg and Pretoria and one from Durban.

The productions were primarily selected from the mini-festivals which were held earlier this year in Worcester, Nyanga East, Khayelitsha, Delft, the Eden Drama Festival, the Cape Winelands Festival and the Overberg Drama Festival.

The winning productions from the latter three festivals are also included in the line-up.

The festival boasts multiple genres – from drama, musical theatre, movement/dance to physical theatre and comedy. One of the innovations this year is the introduction of reggae in the musical theatre category

The core team behind the festival comprises artistic director Thami Mbongo, co-ordinator Zoleka Helesi, executive manager Bongile Mantsai, administrator Akhona Shinga and audience development officer, Monde Myataza.

Tickets for the festival are R30 and R40 for the Reggae Edition. Book through Computicket. For discounted corporate, schools or block-bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Sharon on 021 680 3962, email or Carmen on 021 680 3993, email

To view the full 2017 festival programme go to