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Back Sifiso Lupuzi, Lonwabo Xatasi, Front Nomakrestu Xakathugaga, Luvo Tamba, Zoleka Mpotsha, Siphiso Mbopha in o Whom it May Concern, pic by Jnr Sithembele_smallThe Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival is calling for applications from theatre-makers, directors, script writers, community groups and theatre companies to participate in the 2019 Zabalaza Theatre Festival and the deadline for applications is 5pm on 31 July 2018.

The ninth annual festival will take place from 8 to 16 March 2018 and will once again commence with the exciting Zabalaza Weekend on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March.

Productions which are selected from applications received for 2019 will first be auditioned and will then be invited to participate in the Zabalaza mini-festivals, which are earlier this time around, planned for the last two weeks of November, when the final selection for the 2019 line-up will be made. The auditions, however, will take place from July to October this year, 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.

Zabalaza Festival curator, Mdu Kweyama said “we would strongly encourage women writers and directors to apply as the festival provides the perfect platform for young, upcoming theatre-makers to share their stories with a wider audience.”

Previous participants are also welcome to apply, provided that they bring an entirely different production. 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.

Widely regarded as one of the premier development programmes in the country, having received great acclaim over the years, the festival has grown to become an essential platform for fresh talent. Launched in 2011 with a new name, managing team and vision the format and programme is designed to showcase new and upcoming theatre-makers 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 at a rapid rate as interest from artists throughout the Western Cape (and around the country) has increased and 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 (2015), Lauren Hannies’ TIP-ex (2016), Thobani Nzuza’s Boy Ntulikazi (2017), and most recently Carlo Daniel’s Onweer in 2018. These productions went on to be staged at various festivals and events in the Western Cape, working with well-known theatre-makers.  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.

Applications for the 2019 Zabalaza Theatre Festival close on 31 July 2018 and entry forms may be obtained from the festival office at the Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch or from the beginning of June at Makukhanye Art Room in Khayelitsha, Zolani Centre in Nyanga, Delft Rent office and Joseph Stone in Athlone. They can also be downloaded from or

Interested community groups and theatre-makers from outside the Western Cape are also welcome to apply. The amount of funding available will determine how many of these can be accepted. Applicants will be informed of the result of their applications.

For further enquiries or more information contact Zoleka Helesi on 021 680 3980, fax 021 689 1880 or email or Alternatively

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