The 9th Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSF SA) is heading to Durban, George and Joburg after successful runs in Cape Town and Makhanda.

The much anticipated cultural event kicked off at the Artscape and Baxter Theatres in Cape Town in April and May, and at Rhodes University in Makhanda in August, with great success.

The SSF SA is an education programme aimed at improving language and social skills through the Performing Arts. It is Educape’s flagship initiative that was launched in 2010 by Kseniya Filinova-Bruton with the objective of strengthening the link between the arts and education. Since inception, the SSF SA has gone from 20 to 2000 participating youth and learners across the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

We are huge Shakespeare fans at CN&CO, and are involved in the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa as a sponsor and supporter. We will also be attending one of the Joburg events of the 2019 SSF SA. Let Colin know if you’re keen to join!

“Staging a Shakespeare play in a professional theatre is a challenge to be relished and the SSF SA is an ideal way for young people seeking to explore their potential in a fun, developmental way, simultaneously making their theatre debut on a professional stage in a non-competitive environment,” says Kseniya. “The SSF SA is fully interactive and provides guidance and the resources through scripts, training, frame work and feedback that equips learners and educators to successfully direct and perform Shakespearean plays from the first line to the final bow.”

Schools prepare and perform 30-minute abridged versions of the plays of their choice. By the end of this year’s festival, a total of 85 schools will have participated in the festival across the various provinces.

“Notable breakthrough performances in the Cape came from the De La Bat School for the Deaf using South African sign language (SASL) and the Pioneer School for the Visually Impaired,” says Ksaniya. “In Johannesburg, the Adelaide Tambo School for the Physically Challenged will be taking part in the festival and performing at Joburg Theatre, supported by BNP Paribas Dream Up Foundation.”

Performances, open to the public, take place in Durban from 5 to 8 September at the Durban Playhouse, in George from 7 to 9 September at the George Arts Theatre and in Joburg from 10 to 14 September at the Joburg Theatre.

For info and details about performance starting times please visit www.ssfsa.co.za and keep up to date via the Shakespeare Schools Festival SA Facebook page or email info@educape.co.za

Photos by Mike Leresche