Ikhwezi Theatre Festival turns 10

03 March 2008

The highly popular and award-winning Ikhwezi Theatre Festival celebrates 10 years of development theatre in the Western Cape this year, with a record number of 20 exciting new plays from 1 to 20 March in the Baxter Sanlam Studio.

This year the festival will see plays from 12 young directors from the Western Cape, four from Gauteng and one each from the Eastern Cape, North West and Free State.

The overall aims of the festival include developing critical thinking among audiences and theatre practitioners of the arts; popularising social programmes such as health, environment, education and human rights; using the arts to stimulate community initiatives; developing new playwrights in the Western Cape; and exposing new and upcoming actors, writers and directors to mainstream theatre.

Over the years the festival has showcased over 150 new works, and it has seen scores of young performers move from amateur to professional actor status. This includes 2007 Fleur du Cap nominees Chuma Sopotela and Thami Mbongo, as well as Andrea Dondolo, Andile Nebulane and Connie George.

The festival, a Baxter Theatre Centre initiative, has been successfully staged since 1998 and was awarded the highest honour at the 2004 Arts and Culture Trust national awards when it came out tops in its category.

More than 625 actors, writers and directors have attended workshops and participated in the festival, conducted under the guidance of highly acclaimed local playwrights, directors and other theatre specialists.

"The expansion and growth of the festival every year is certainly very exciting and most encouraging," says festival director Itumeleng Wa-Lehulere. "To have 20 plays platformed in the festival with eight young directors from the rest of the country is testament to the festival's popularity."

The festival runs daily, Mondays to Saturdays, at 10h00, 12h00, 13h30, 15h00 and 19h00. All Tuesday night performances start at 18h30.

Ticket prices are R30 throughout, with discounts for block or school bookings of 10 or more available through Sandiswa on 021 680 3991. Book through Computicket at 083 915 8000.

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