Press: Applications now open for the Baxter’s 2018 Zabalaza Theatre Festival

August 23, 2017

The Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival is calling for applications from theatre-makers, directors, script writers, community groups and theatre companies to participate in the 2018 Zabalaza Theatre Festival and the deadline for applications is 18 September 2017.


The eighth annual Zabalaza Theatre Festival will take place from 9 to 16 March 2018. It is widely regarded as one of the premier development platforms in the country and has received great acclaim over the years. Launched in 2011 with a new name, managing team and vision the format and programme is designed to showcase new and upcoming talent that may otherwise not be seen on professional stages. The full name, Zabalaza Intsika eBaxter Theatre loosely translated, means two things: striving towards being a pillar of the Baxter Theatre Centre and striving towards success.


Since its inception the festival has grown exponentially as the organisers pay special attention to innovation and expanding the programme. Previous Best Production winners are Uhlazo by Loyiso Damoyi (2011), Worst of Both Worlds by Bulelani Mabutyana (2012), Skierlik by Phillip Dikotla (2013), The Champion by Khayalethu Anthony in 2014, Paul Noko’s Fruit in 2015, TIP-ex by Lauren Hannie in 2016, and Boy Ntulikazi by Thobani Nzuza in 2017. These productions went on to be staged at various festivals and events in the Western Cape. Skierlik received two Fleur du Cap nominations and Khayalethu Anthony won the Fleur du Cap award for Best Performance in a review, cabaret or one-person show for The Champion.


Productions that are selected from applications received for 2018 will first be auditioned and will then be invited to participate in the Zabalaza mini-festivals, which are planned for January and February, when the final selection for the 2018 line-up will be made. Auditions take place from October through to December 2017, so artists are urged to apply early. 


The festival organisers are looking for one or two-handers, children’s theatre productions, puppetry, musical theatre, drama, comedy, physical theatre and storytelling.

Previous festival participants are also welcome to apply should writers feel that there is a space for their work to grow during the festival. 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.


The Zabalaza team has already been hard at work searching for productions that will be part of next year’s programme. The winning productions from these festivals will automatically form part of the 2018 line-up although the final selection from these regions will be made in November.


Applications for the 2018 Zabalaza Theatre Festival close on 18 September 2017 and entry forms may be obtained from the festival office at the Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch. They can also be downloaded from or Arrangements will also be made for application forms to be sent to the Makukhanye Art Room in Khayelitsha, Zolani Centre in Nyanga, as well as the Delft Rent Office.


The amount of funding available will determine how many of these can be accepted. Applicants will be informed of the result of their applications. Preference will be given to productions from the Western Cape and any groups outside of the Western Cape will be invited at the judge’s discretion.


The team heading up the festival are Bongile Mantsai (Artistic Director), Zoleka Helesi (Co-ordinator), Lauren Hannie (administrator) and Mdu Kweyama (curator).  The core team is complemented by a number of fieldworkers; various artistic experts who play the role of mentors to these theatre groups leading up to the festival’s opening.


For further enquiries or more information about the festival contact Lauren Hannie on 021 680 3980, fax 021 689 1880 or email Alternatively visit or on Facebook


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