Ongezwa Qalukabona

The Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival is back.
Image: Supplied

The Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival returns this April

The award-winning Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival is the product of hybrid mentorship programmes for writers and directors.

Ongezwa Qalukabona

The Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival is back.
Image: Supplied

From 2 to 8 April 2022 The Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival – now in its 12th year – takes over The Baxter with 32 brand new productions from across the Western Cape, showcasing the best in dynamic and original developmental theatre.   

The award-winning festival, for the first time this year, is the product of hybrid mentorship programmes that included script writing mentorship for writers, as well as mentorship workshops for directors to produce the best in cutting- edge developmental theatre.

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The Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival commences with the hugely popular Family Day on Saturday, 2 April, curated by the Fun Squad that includes a variety of food stalls and a jumping castle for children to enjoy. Performances for children will run from 9.45am to 12pm. A showcase of the Best of DCAS – annual invitees to the festival – also takes place on the day with participants from the Overberg, Cape Winelands, West Coast and the Garden Route Districts.  

For adult audiences the Saturday evening offers a selection of performance experiences. An energetic and fresh poetry performance takes place in the Baxter Garden at 5pm and theatre-lovers can experience Shadows of the past at the same time in the Golden Arrow Studio. RAW (Real Art Wednesdays) returns to the line-up with a vibrant platform for a variety of talented performers, in the Concert Hall at 19.30.  

The 32 productions on the main festival, from 4 to 8 April 2022, with performances at 09:45, 11:00, 12:00 and 19:00 daily, were selected from the mini festivals which were held over two weekends at the end of January 2022 at the Delft Rent Office, Kraai4theatre in Kraaifontein and the Makukhanye Art Room in Khayelitsha.  

The gala awards ceremony takes place on 9 April, where various productions and artists will be chosen in various categories and the Best of Zabalaza winner (which benefits from a two-week run at The Baxter in August 2022, will be announced). 

Scene from “Hostel Lights’. Image Supplied


The festival is curated by Mdu Kweyama (artistic director and curator), along with Zabalaza team members, Bulelani Mabutyana (coordinator), Tshegofatso Mabutla (festival administrator) and Nonsikelelo Maboza (audience development). 

This year’s programme, once again, boasts a wide range of content and themes that include negligence in the medical industry, conversations around the influence of media on the sense of self and value, the questioning of religion and dogma and how the effects of abuse and domestic trauma affects the performance of learners at places of education.  

Special thanks to the partners and funders who have supported the festival over the years. They include the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, City of Cape Town, Distell Foundation, HCI Foundation and Pick n Pay. Junket Publishing continues its affiliation by publishing the script of the winning production from the main festival, as it has done for the 11 past Best of Zabalaza winners.   

For over a decade the Baxter Zabalaza Festival has grown and developed young theatre-makers and artists, many who have gone on to receive recognition and accolades in the local (and in some cases, international), theatre landscape.

ALSO READ: Time of the Writer Festival: A focus on mental health and suicide


Tickets are R30 per show and available through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at or at Pick n Pay stores.  

Schools and organisations with group bookings have the option of affordable transportation offered by Golden Arrow Bus services, who support the festival yearly, at R5 per person, for groups of more than 40, with a strict maximum of 60 people per bus.

For school or group bookings, fundraisers or charities contact Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or email her at or Nontsikelelo Maboza on 021 680 3984 or email her at 

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