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PRESS: Applications now open for 2024 Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival

Pieter Toerien Productions


Celebrating 14 years of award-winning developmental theatre, the Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival is delighted to invite dynamic theatre-makers, directors, playwrights, community groups and theatre companies to participate in the 2024 festival line-up. The deadline for applications is Friday, 23 June 2023 at 5pm.

Application forms may be obtained from the Baxter Theatre reception or the Zabalaza Theatre Festival offices. They are also available at Makukhanye Art Room in Khayelitsha, Rainbow Arts Organisation in Delft South, Zolani Centre in Nyanga, Guga S'thebe in Langa, Mitchells Plain at the Alliance Française, Africa Tikkun in Mfuleni, Kraaifontein at Kraai4Theatre, as well as Desmond Tutu Hall in Makhaza. Alternatively, the application forms can be obtained online at

Auditions will be held in July, August and September 2023 for the productions selected from the applications received. If successful, productions will be invited to participate in the mini festivals, which are scheduled for October 2023, when the final selection for the 2024 line-up will be made.

Made possible by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the festival organisers are looking for a wide range of productions, including children’s theatre, puppetry, drama, dramedy, musical drama, physical theatre and storytelling.

Previous participants are welcome to apply should they feel that their work could benefit for further development. However, this only applies if it is a new work, not seen before at the festival. Festival director Mdu Kweyama explains, “Those who auditioned before and were not selected to be part of the programme may re-apply by auditioning with the same production, provided that they can show that they have worked on improving it.”

Successful applicants will be informed of the result of their applications towards the end of 2023. Preference will be given to productions from the Cape Metro. Any groups outside of the Western Cape will be invited at the panel’s discretion. The number of productions chosen for the main festival will be determined by the availability of funding.

The Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival is widely regarded as one of the top-tier development platforms in the country and has received great acclaim and praise over the years, with many former participants going on to win multiple awards. Hostel Lights by Sohail Booise and Back To Ashes (Formerly titled Mothers Son Devour Women) by Molupi Lepedi won the Finest of the Festival in 2022. The four 2021 Best of Zabalaza winners were all nominated for the best new director Fleur du Cap award in 2022. Siphenathi Siqwayi for Ganga Nyoko! Inzima Nyoko! won the award. Hostel Lights by Sohail Booise was nominated for best direction in the 2023 Fleur du Cap awards.

Since its inception, the festival has grown exponentially with special attention given to innovation and expanding the programme. Audience attendance grew from 5300 in 2022 to 6800 in 2023 and revenue was up by R5000, which goes directly back to the participating artists. Winners of 2023 Best of Zabalaza, Tiro’s Toughloop Testimony by Mfundo Zono, Lamentations by Samkelo Zihlangu and Oorwinningsreis by Patwill Titus, will be staged at The Baxter later this year.

Applications for the 2024 Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival close on Friday, 23 June 2023 at 1pm. For further enquiries or more information, contact Imameleng Masitha on email: or call on 021 680 3980. Alternatively or Facebook


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