Winning play at Baxter

In front are Sinazo Guga, Lihle Qobongoshe and Buhle Sam. At back is writer and director, Mava Silimko.

The Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2020 winner, First Accused, written and directed by Strand resident Mava Silumko, will be performed at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, with six performances only, from Thursday November 12 to Saturday November 21, at 6.30pm, and Saturday matinees at 2pm.

The play was selected out of 36 productions at the 10th annual Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival, which was held in March, just days before lockdown and the national state of disaster were announced.

First Accused looks at how the South African justice system fails the women who suffer emotional, physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their spouses.

Silumko, from Strand, has been a participant at the festival for the past seven years. He was awarded the Most Outstanding Artist of the Zabalaza Festival in 2017.

“Winning the Best of Zabalaza for 2020 is one of my greatest achievements to date and, given that I have been participating in the festival since 2013, my dream and goal was always to receive this award,” says Silumko.

“Over the years I attended many workshops at the Baxter where I learnt so much about creating content and I am grateful that it has paid off. I hope that this production will help to create awareness around this scourge (of violence against women) which has and continues to ravage South Africa.

Enough is enough – we have been battling with this issue for too long now.”

More than 500 productions have been showcased at the festival over the past decade.

Every year one production is awarded the Best of Zabalaza.

The winning production goes through a mentorship process to raise the standard of the work before it is staged for a two-week season at the Baxter. This provides the company with another opportunity to stage their work in a professional theatre with full logistical support.

Ticket for First Accused cost R60. Performances will be limited to 50% percent capacity, with all Covid-19 protocols observed. Book through Webtickets.

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