Eden District’s young drama stars recognised by Zabalaza Festival
The Eden Drama Festival came to an historic end on Saturday 23 February 2019, with five of the participating groups invited to perform at the Baxter Theatre’s annual Zabalaza Festival.
The Festival is hosted by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) in partnership with the Oudtshoorn Municipality, the Zabalaza Festival, Kunste Onbeperk and the Suidoosterfees. The participants are teams of young, amateur actors, directors and writers who create and perform original productions.
The festival, now in its eighth year, took place at the Toekomsrus Community Hall in Oudtshoorn and attracted participants from all over the region. A total of 11 groups performed, coming from towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, George, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Barrydale, Swellendam and Dysselsdorp.
“This has been one of the hardest adjudication processes in the eight years I have been adjudicating at these finals,” said Zabalaza Festival artistic director, Bongi Mantsai.
“We couldn’t decide on a winner and this shows how successful the programme has become. Our rural groups are presenting us with productions that are of a high standard.”
Mantsai - also an actor in the soapie, Scandal - was joined on the judging panel by Suidooster star and fellow SA Film and Television Award winner, Abduraghmaan Adams, and DCAS Deputy Director for Arts Development, Liezl Jansen.
Uniondale’s Fantasties Dramaties and Redefined 101 from Knysna were named Best Production and Best Production runners-up respectively, securing their places at the Zabalaza Festival.
Joining them as invited performers at Zabalaza will be Team Most Wanted, from Swellendam, who were named as Best Ensemble. Dysselsdorp’s Take A BOW and Riversdale’s Untitled Production have also been invited to perform at the Baxter’s emerging talent showcase, which takes place from 8 to 16 March this year.
The other Eden Drama Festival award winners were:
• Best Director: Mandisa Litoyi (Redefinded 101)
• Best Writer: Stephen Saayman (Untitled Productions)
• Best Supporting Actor: Ayden October (Team Most wanted)
• Best Supporting Actress: Abbey-Lee Bezuidenhout (KSS Drama Group)
• Best Actor: Llewellyn Bond (Fantasties Dramaties)
• Best Actress: Charne Jansen (Redefinded 101)
Artistic director for Kunste Onbeperk, Hugo Teart, also confirmed that winners Fantasties Dramaties and runners-up Redefined 101 would be granted the opportunity to showcase at the Uitkamp Teater.
The Eden Drama Festival was preceded by the Cape Winelands Drama Festival in Ceres on Saturday 16 February, where Kwakhanya and African Calling were named as the respective winners and runners-up to secure their places at Zabalaza.
The Cape Winelands and Eden winners and runners-up also qualified for the DCAS Grand Finale, which takes place at the Suidoosterfees at the Artscape Theatre from 25 April to 1 May 2019.
DCAS and its partners aim to develop the arts by offering young talent valuable opportunities, BETTER TOGETHER.