After a successful first season at the Precinct Homecoming Centre in District Six, the organisers of the 12th Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSFSA) are now preparing for the next leg, taking place at The Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch from August 10 to 20, 2022.
Founded by Kseniya Filinova-Bruton in 2009, the SSFSA has successfully united and empowered youth in South Africa since inception, using the transforming power of theatre and specifically the works of Shakespeare, to achieve that goal.
From the start, the SSFSA has been a highlight on the cultural calendars of school and amateur drama groups, and cultural clubs. “We’re excited to finally be able to hold live performances after two years of challenging Covid circumstances has been a great morale booster," said Filinova-Bruton.
The SSFSA is Africa's largest youth drama festival event that focuses solely on Shakespeare plays. To date it has showcased 518 Shakespeare plays across the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, has worked with 10,866 learners from 597 schools, and bolstered 764 teachers in their capacity as drama and performance arts directors. "Young thespians are asked to present innovative, abridged versions of Shakespeare plays of their choice in no more than 45 minutes. “It’s a non-competitive environment and kids have loads of fun while learning at the same time,” says SSFSA manager Blythe Stuart-Linger. Casts are encouraged to 'turn a play on its head' by making it relatable to themselves and their peers. Throughout the preparation process, the SSFSA team assists with scripts, and acting and directing tips, running a number of educational programs alongside to benefit educators, learner-directors and casts.
Joining in at the Baxter Theatre in August, will be Groote Schuur High, Fishhoek High, Westlake Primary School, Greenfield Girls' Primary, Worcester Gymnasium, Herschel Girls School, Trinity Classical Christian School, Curro Somerset West Primary School, De La Bat School for the deaf, Blouberg International School, Hout Bay International School, Christel House South Africa, Generation Sandown Middle School, Generation Sandown High School, Hoërskool Swartland, The Settlers High School,Darul arqam Islamic High, South Peninsula High, The Settlers Secondary School, Queen's Park High School, Hoërskool Strand and Educations drama group, among others.
Importantly, the festival also welcomes Learners with different abilities and physical challenges. The De La Bat School for the Deaf participates regularly in Cape Town, using South African Sign Language, and each year they, and the Pioneer School for the visually impaired, deliver ground-breaking and moving renditions of the play of their choice.
Tickets cost R85 to R100pp and are available through Webtickets. After the Baxter, the SSFSA will be presented at the Joburg Theatre (Gauteng) from 6 to 11 September; at The Dotsure George Arts Theatre in George (Western Cape) from 9 to 11 September and at The Playhouse in Durban (KZN) from 13 to17 September 2022.