Shafiq Kalumo is a performing artist from Malawi, but based in South Africa. He graduated from Stageworld Theatre School. He is a host of Drive Time on IFM Radio and also a founder and a managing director of Linga Creatives, an NPO that uses theatre to promote education, social cohesion and cultural heritage. Shafiq is so excited to be part of Shakespeare Schools Festival team this year to coordinate the festival in Port Elizabeth.
Athlone High School – 15 years old
My love for the performing arts started 3years ago, though I believe I was always meant to be on stage or amongst the stars.
I’m known amongst my family and peers to be a ball of life who brightens up any space and am no short of tenacity which means I go for what I want & dedicated to any task I set my mind to.
I took part in the festival over 3 years, from 2018 to 2020, performed roles such as Duke in “As You Like It”, Cleopatra in “Antony and Cleopatra” and directed “The Scottish Play” as well as played Banquo.
I have since experienced a level of growth, independency, maturity, wisdom, leadership & confidence that I would not trade for anything. The SSFSA has given me the insight to pursue the field of Theatre & Film as a degree, the love for performing arts and the stage has given new meaning to my life, as it helps me deal with many low moments on a daily bases.
What an experience! From the get-go, the excitement in our class was electric. Shakespeare – who would have thought that our small class of twenty-three 9-12-year-old children could pull it off.
The abridged version of the comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was perfectly pitched for this age group and the children very quickly accepted their assigned roles; got into character and we were ready for action.
The six weeks we had to prepare for the performance felt like a whirlwind, as the children rehearsed; parents made costumes and props and directors and teachers kept spirits high. The children were highly professional for their young age and worked hard at learning their lines and using the dramatic effect to create their characters. They relished the opportunity of putting on a Shakespeare production, and to top it off, at the Athol Fugard Theatre. What a privilege!
The big day arrived and the children were bursting with anticipation. Although nerves were running high, the charged energy was put to good use as the children put on the performance of their young lives. The beautiful props, costumes and expert lighting enhanced the professional performance by our young thespians. The audience burst with rapturous applause at the end which the children gratefully enjoyed.
After the performance there were both tears of joy and sadness, as the children came to terms with this being the end of an amazing experience.
We are most appreciative of the guidance, support and opportunity afforded to us by the Shakespeare Schools Festival, and to Kseniya and her team. We would also like to extend our thanks to the Athol Fugard Theatre for making their professional stage available to our young amateur actors.
Generation Schools Blue Moon – ages 10
I, Ethan Engelke, and my friend, Lettice Johnson, would like to share with you our experience in participating in the SSF, ‘A SHAKESPHERE PLAY’.
This led us to feeling, excited, scared, fascinated, and confused! We knew we just had to be a part of this!
Before the play, we felt as though something would go wrong, like we would forget our lines, trip, get stage fright and wouldn’t go on. But when we went on stage, we felt as though we were professionals, and had been doing this for years!
Learning the lines was challenging, but we got there in the end. The lighting, props, and costumes made us feel as though were RIGHT THERE, and at the time, we WERE the people there, not in the play, but IN REAL LIFE! As though there really was a forest there, cooped up on that small but grand stage. The theatre makes you feel as though it’s a foreign place, but after a few minutes, you feel as though you’ve been there all your life. When we had to leave, we felt like staying forever, and wished we had multiple performances that night.
Thank you, Shakespeare Schools Festival, for letting us perform at the Athol Fugard! It was the best night of our lives! We hope we get to do this every single year! Because of you, we just want to be on the stage again and again!
Pioneer School for the visually impaired Old Boy.
SSFSA gave me a chance to prove myself, it made me more confident and bettered me as an individual.
My first year with SSFSA I played the leading role in Hamlet, as Hamlet of course and I’ve never been on a stage or performing in front of people, I was scared to say the least but once the opening scene began I felt a sense of calmness and confidence and i went up on stage and did my thing. When the play ended and everyone was on their feet I felt so proud of myself and my cast. One of the days to look back on as I get older.
Shaun van Eyssen Pioneer School: My second year with SSFSA I played the lead role again in Romeo and Juliet, which was a challenging role, more emotion. My confidence was already there and I knew what I had to do. The cast and myself were ready, we worked hard. We had some setbacks like any other cast but that only made us stronger and when the final scene of the play ended, the roar of the audience was overwhelming and myself and my cast knew that we did it again.
These two years with SSFSA were the highlight of my life.
Swartland High School Old Boy
Being part of the Shakespeare’s Schools Festival has been the most wonderful experience I had in my entire life. The Shakespeare’s Schools Festival gives you the opportunity to be transported to new worlds that you have never been to before. I had experienced the downfall of my king in Scotland, was slain in the streets of Verona and humiliated in a court in Venice.
Shakespeare’s Schools Festival, to me, means the coming together of the modern youth to celebrate the life of an ancient legend. It means meeting new people who are just as fascinated in the works of Shakespeare as you are. It means carrying over a legacy of literature to a modern day audience in a spectacular way.
Having been part of the festival for three years, I have learnt so many things about the theatre industry and being in it. The festival gives you the opportunity to experience the life of an artist to the fullest extent. You get the opportunity to wear astonishing costumes, use wonderful props and décor, have flashing lights of all colours shining on you and thundering music in your ears.
What’s more, is you get to inspire others and put a smile on their faces. Hearing people congratulate you about your performance at the end of the evening motivates you to keep on going, but you also know that you have accomplished your goal: to put them in awe. You get the opportunity to be transported to other worlds, but also to transport an audience to other worlds.
The atmosphere during the festival is a lively and exciting atmosphere. You get to know new people of your age group, you get to share your talents on a stage, you grow closer to people who you know and you also grow as an individual. You learn to work together in a group, you learn how to visually express yourself, you learn how to have courage and you learn how to have fun!
I would definitely encourage other students who have the opportunity to take part in the Shakespeare’s Schools Festival. You will never have a chance like this in your entire life. If you have the opportunity to take part in the festival, do it! It’s not about competing against other schools or having a certain level of performance skills; it’s about having the courage to express yourself and having fun doing it.
And if there is one final thing that I have learnt from the Shakespeare’s Schools Festival, which I can carry for the rest of my life is that “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”
Leiden High School – Age 15
The day when I decided to participate in the Shakespeare school festival entered a new chapter in live I decided that I want to become an actor. I always look at the Television shows how children act.
Then I also decided to become one of them and to stand on a stage and talk in front of many people in a real audience…
Then I decided to take part in the SHAKESPEARCE SCHOOL FESTIVAL and to fulfil my dream and become an actor….. My drama teacher miss Samantha Pearce help me to become an actor..well I’m not an movie star but an actor for the Shakespeare Schools festival…
This festival means a lot to me…and it is very interesting to me…well it also takes hard work and dedication to become an actor… But this William Shakespeare is very interesting to me…I love the role and parts I play….
Leiden High School – Age 16
My name is Thandile Beeton Majiza, I am a 16 year old boy who attend school at Leiden high school, Cape Town. I have been participating in the Shakespeare festival for two years. I have nothing but good memories about me performing on stage.
My first time was scary, but I was told to be relaxed and let my talent take over, well I did so and I nailed the performance. Well, as Thandile I would like to take this moment and thank the festival for what it has done for me – thank you for the great work that you have done for children like me who participate in the Shakespeare Schools Festival.
The Festival has influenced my life greatly; it helped me on focusing more on my schoolwork and more at my life in general. If it wasn’t for SSDSA, I would of have made bad decisions in my life.. I do not want to be specific on those decisions, but in general, the festival saved my life if I can put it that way. I am so glad that I chose it and it also showed me that I am talented in acting I thank the founder Miss Kseniya for her amazing work ..it taught me a lot ..it taught me to be humble.. It taught me how to communicate and interact with other people.. I can write a book on how it helped me ..these are my words of thank you…
Leiden High School – 15 years old
Dit is hoe die Shakespeare festivel vir my beteken Die shakespare festivel beteken vir my nie net fiesies nie maar dit beteken vir my emosineel ook.
Die shakespare festivel het my die geleentheid gee om uit die huise uit te kom. Dit het ook my die geleentheid gee om uit delft uit te kom. Dit het ook my die geleentheid gegee om n ander mens te wees en om ander mense en kinders te ontmoed . Deur Shakespeare kon ek plekke sien wat ek nog nooit gesien het nie . Shakespeare het my dje krag en moed gegee om n actress te word want n mens hoef nie net n juffrou of n docter te word nie maar n actress sal ook goed doen. Shakespeare het my gehelp om mondeling te doen ook in die klas.
Toe ek n nuwe karakter gewees het , het ek n ander emosie ge eersvaar want ek is ander persoon . Shakespeare het vir my geleer wat Shakespeare regtig beteken.
Dit is wat shakespare festivel vir my beteken.
Shiloah Christian School Old Boy
My name is Tafara Nyatsanza. I am a Zimbabwean-born 24-year-old actor based in Cape Town.
When I was in high school at Shiloah Christian School, I participated in the SSFSA in the year 2014. I played Petruchio, in “The Taming of the Shrew”, and Kseniya told me that night that she would never forget my performance. Indeed she didn’t. In 2016, after my matric, Kseniya introduced me to Nicholas Ellenbogen, which led to me getting my first job ever, working as a stage manager at Ellenbogen’s Rosebank Theatre. After the Rosebank Theatre, I started studying Theatre and Performance (specializing in Theatre-Making) at UCT.
Since then I have grown as an individual artist with my own distinguished creative ideas, and an acting agent. I have also won multiple awards for acting, including the most recent Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for “Best Performer in a Solo Play” for my performance in “SCOTT”. In addition to acting, my artistry also includes songwriting, scriptwriting, directing, dancing, drawing and painting.
I am grateful to the SSFSA for recognizing the talent in me during my high school days. Coming from Tiya village in Chimanimani in Zimbabwe, I am humbled to have been aided by the SSFSA through my artistic journey.
Wynberg Girls’ High School Old Girl
My name is Ameera Conrad, I am a theatre maker from Cape Town, South Africa. I was one of the students who took part in the first Shakespeare Schools Festivals in South Africa. First in 2009, and then again in 2010. I can honestly say that had it not been for Ms Filinova-Bruton and the SSFSA I would never have considered a career in the performing arts. Until then, theatre, acting, writing had always been a hobby for me, a way to express myself, a way to connect with people, but Ms Filinova-Bruton nurtured my love for theatre in a more real and tangible way. After playing Lady MacBeth in the Scottish Play in 2010 (when I was in grade 11), she introduced me to Chris Weare who was the then director of the Little Theatre at UCT. That night set me on a path that I would never have envisioned for myself, and never thought possible.
I graduated from the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department with distinction, and went on to co-create and perform in the hit show ‘The Fall’ at the Baxter Theatre, which has toured to 9 cities around the world. I’ve won multiple awards from many different countries, performed to sold out audiences, and created new work that highlights the stories that I am passionate about. I’m currently living and working in London, continuing to share some of the important lessons I’ve learnt along the way. This journey would not have been possible without the Shakespeare Schools Festival pointing me in the right direction, and without Ms Filinova-Bruton’s passion and dedication to her students. She’s always been on my side, and I am so proud to be part of the legacy that she’s creating.
Keraleigh matriculated from Curro Meridian Pinehurst school in 2018 and joined the Shakespeare Schools Festival SA as Admin intern in 2019. She says this is her very first after finishing school and is a dream come true. She graduated from Damelin College in Human Management Resources in 2020 and Remedial Teaching in 2019. Her hobbies include photography, scrapbooking and craft, baking and reading.
Cindy Anneline Tommy, an individual who is a mix masala of Creative Energy. Her interaction within the theatre space, spans from her taking her first steps on stage. She is extremely passionate about her craft, which has allowed her to wear many hats i.e. as a Children’s theatre productioness, Children’s party entertainer, Mistress of ceremonies, Choreographer, a Foundation phase English (int) educator, Owner of A.C.T Productions and the extension of herself being associated with the Shakespeare School Festival South Africa (SSFSA), Cape Town.
Sabatha Ngcobo is a professional writer, actor and Director. A graduate from Drama and Production studies in Durban University of Technology. Sabatha has written and adapted William Shakespeare’s works, including “Julius Caesar”, “King Lear”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Measure for Measure” all these works have been staged in Different theatres and mainly for the Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa. Ngcobo has written more than 20 theatre works and staged eight. On screen, he has featured in The Kissing Booth 2, Durban General, Peru and Bala.
Rowin Munsamy has been Teaching and Lecturing for the past 19 years at institutions all around KZN, with a central focus in Drama and Performance Studies, as well as English and Law. Rowin is a professional writer, director, performer and has produced more than a dozen theatre shows. He lectures at the Durban’s University of Technology Drama and Production Studies department. He is the festival co-ordinator of SSFSA in Durban and is actively involved in outreach projects in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Shepstone and Stanger.
Nine Magagula is a creator, an artist and a lover of all things theatre and performance. She is based in Makhanda and is currently completing her third year at UCKAR. She is a chairperson of The Meqoqo Collective, which is a playback theatre company that uses improvisational and performance techniques to start conversations in theatre spaces. She is also the acting co-ordinator for SSFSA in Makhanda and is looking forward to reaching as many communities as possible, and to highlight the growing need for a student friendly festival.
Heather has a passion for youth theatre, especially making theatre accessible to all in South Africa. She has directed, produced and provided assistance with a number of productions. As well as being a SSFSA George Regional Coordinator she runs a youth drama outreach project and a drama festival for Climate Change. Heather graduated from the University of KwaZulu Natal with a degree in Theatre Studies, majoring in Community Theatre
Jade Beeby is a BA Dramatic Art (Hons) graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand, who majored in Directing and Writing. She is proficient in Physical Theatre, as well as conversational South African Sign Language. Her passion is working with children, especially where that work pertains to the arts. Jade is interested in all facets of the theatre industry and has an eagerness to grow and learn with every new theatrical opportunity. She is a proud SSFSA Festival Coordinator Johannesburg.
Blythe is best described as an Arts administrator. He does everything that requires business, creativity and administration. He loves music, is passionate about the arts and has an organised approach to a career as an arts administrator and producer. Taking on the role of Managing director of Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa is a very exciting time for Blythe and he looks forward to continuing the amazing legacy of the festival.
Founder of the annual Shakespeare School Festival South Africa (SSFSA) and CEO of Educape Trust. She has a BA Degree in Theatre and Performance from University of Arts and Culture, St Petersburg, Russia. In 2020 Kseniya made a decision to relocated back home to Russia to focus on growing SSF International reach. Filinova-Bruton will still oversee the running of SSFSA, and will continue to keep a close eye on the SSFSA as its President and CEO.