18 March 2019

South Africa: From Ekasi to the Baxter - - the Rise of Theatre in the Townships

The Zabalaza theatre festival, which takes place at the University of Cape Town's Baxter Theatre, is one of the few platforms bringing 'township theatre' to the mainstream. That's because theatre in these communities often goes unnoticed, or struggles due to limited funding. Despite these challenges, young, talented theatre practitioners and artists are creating alternative theatre spaces to tell their stories and effect change.

"Theatre is mostly ignored in the townships," said Ayabonga Bebe, a young actor from Khayelitsha performing in this year's Zabalaza Theatre Festival at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

The annual festival is a development programme targeted at up-and-coming performers from in and around the Western Cape. They have an opportunity to showcase their work (and works in progress) at mini-festivals, script readings and finally at the main theatre festival -- at the Baxter -- which was held from 8 to 16 March 2019. The aim is to assist theatre practitioners in crafting and developing their works and build on their existing skills and talent.

Bebe, who is from Khayelitsha, is a part of a production titled The Vow, presented by Lekker Jy Productions -- a theatre group from Parow. The play is based on isiXhosa Culture...

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