Applications now open for Zabalaza Festival 2019


Zabalaza Festival The Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival is calling for applications for next year’s festival – the deadline for applications is 17:00 on 31 July 2018.

Theatre-makers, directors, scriptwriters, community groups and theatre companies are invited to participate in the 2019 Zabalaza Theatre Festival in March next year. The ninth annual festival will take place from 8 to 16 March 2019 and will once again commence with the Zabalaza Weekend on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March.

- Advertisement -
To whom it may concern by Thando Mzembe, on stage at the 2018 Zabalaza Festival.
To whom it may concern by Thando Mzembe, on stage at the 2018 Zabalaza Festival.

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.

Download the application form here

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

Akhona Shinga, Khayelethu Anthony and Asandiswa Maliti in Iqonga at the Zabalaza Festival.
Akhona Shinga, Khayelethu Anthony and Asandiswa Maliti in Iqonga at the Zabalaza Festival.

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 may re-apply 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.

Aims and Objectives of the Zabalaza Festival:

  • To encourage and contribute to the development of new South African work by providing a platform for artists who want to venture into acting, stage management, writing and directing
  • To provide an ongoing skills programme in areas of theatre-making to upcoming artists
  • To identify raw talents in the community theatre groups and expose them to a theatre
  • To promote and build a culture of attending theatre among new audiences
  • To provide mentorship/internships to deserving individuals (writers, directors, stage managers, actors, etc.) who would like to take up theatre as a career
  • To provide guidance and information where necessary to upcoming artists, especially disadvantaged artists

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.

Leave a Reply