The 13th edition of the Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSFSA) is currently captivating theatre-goers at the Star Theatre in Cape Town’s historical District Six Homecoming Centre from 8 May to 27 May. This year’s festival, with the theme “Unplugged and Illuminated in 2023!” features 38 groups of young South African performers showcasing their talent by performing Bard’s works over 17 days.
A Catalyst for Youth Empowerment
According to Kseniya Filinova-Bruton, the festival founder and CEO, SSFSA has been a catalyst for youth empowerment since its inception in 2010. It offers school-going youth a non-competitive, inclusive environment where they can build confidence, hone life skills, and have their voices heard, acknowledged, and respected.
Inclusivity is Key
SSFSA welcomes learners with different abilities and physical challenges, including students from the De La Bat School for the Deaf and the Pioneer School for the Visually Impaired. To encourage learners to unleash their creativity, each participating play must be at most 30 minutes, and participants are encouraged to interpret the works innovatively while adhering to Shakespeare’s fundamental elements.
The Full Range of Shakespeare’s Plays
Scripts in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, and Afrikaans are available for performance. The SSFSA team supports participants throughout the process, offering assistance with scripts, acting, and directing tips. In addition, educational programs have been established to benefit educators, learner-directors, and casts.
Impressive Line-Up of Performances
The 2023 SSFSA program features performances by various schools, including Lalela Hout Bay, Generations Blue Moon Montessori School, Parklands College, Athlone High School, Wynberg Boys’ Acting Association, De La Bat School, and many more. The festival culminates on 27 May with performances by Curro Hermanus Independent School, Westlake Primary School, and Bay Primary School.
Fostering a Sense of Camaraderie and Teamwork
The Shakespeare Schools Festival in South Africa is an excellent platform for learners to showcase their talents. With the continuing support of educators, mentors, and the SSFSA team, it will keep growing and inspiring young performers for years to come. It promotes and encourages youth in the performing arts and fosters a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the students.