The 8th Shakespeare School Festival South Africa (SSF SA) is taking place in Cape Town from 19 to 21 April at the Artscape Theatre and 7 to 12 May at the Baxter Theatre.
The Shakespeare School Festival is an education program aimed at improving language and social skills through the Performing Arts. It is Educape’s flagship initiative that was piloted in 2010 by Kseniya Filinova-Bruton with the objective of strengthening the link between the Arts and education. Since inception, the SSF SA has grown from an event that attracted 20 learners, to drawing approximately 2000 youth across the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape.
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. 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 get to prepare and perform 30-minute abridged versions of the plays and those taking part this year Western Cape schools are participating from all over the Western Cape Metropole and as far afield as Hermanus. Exciting news is that the De La Bat School for the Deaf will make their stage debut with their version of Romeo and Juliet in South African sign language (SASL) and the outreach programme will extend into new communities in Mitchells Plain and Manenberg for the first time.
Says Festival Managing and Creative Director Kseniya Filinova-Bruton: “Year after year it’s been incredible to see the amazing, creative interpretations of Shakespeare’s works. Mastering the skill to perform the Bard's plays is, in my opinion, a Master Class in acting. I always say to the learners – if you can conquer Shakespeare, you can overcome many other challenges!”