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Ishashalazi Theatre Festival a boost for developing theatre
Mandla Mathebula
Despite the many challenges plaguing the industry, developing theatre in Gauteng is progressively finding its footing, as evidenced through the successful implementation of projects such as the ever-growing Ishashalazi Theatre Festival.

Having gotten the 2012/13 festival underway with a host of shows to remember, staged in mid-December 2012 at the Soweto Theatre, the festival is back again for another round of riveting performances and unforgettable moments.

Organized in collaboration between the Gauteng Theatre Practitioners Committee and the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, the Ishashalazi Theatre Festival has grown into a noteworthy affair which continually sees an abundance of budding stage performers and theatre practitioners getting an opportunity to take their craft to the next level.

The programme aims to identify, develop and showcase talent in poetry and theatre, as well as develop appreciation for community theatre throughout Gauteng.

The Ishashalazi theatre programme also encourages scriptwriting, acting and directing through workshops and mentoring, and has opened doors for many of its participants to take part in local and international arts and theatre festivals.

Auditions are held annually calling for performers across all regions of Gauteng, whereby the best performing groups are selected to participate in the festival.

The Ishashalazi Theatre Festival has since its inception in 2001 provided a platform for up-and-coming performing artists around the province to showcase their talents, culminating in an awards programme through which top performers from throughout the festival are rewarded with prizes and recognized for the work they put into the festival.

“Initiatives such as the Ishashalazi Festival are important projects in helping us to expose and grow theatre, nurture talent and create a platform for artists and performers to showcase their creative works and abilities,” said MEC Maile.

The festival is scheduled to conclude with another spectacular two-day showcase on the 26 and 27th of February 2013, at the Soweto Theatre.

The awards ceremony for this year will be held on the 15th of March in Carletonville, West Rand.

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