The Market Theatre Foundation has appointed Zimkitha Kumbaca as the new Resident Festival Director of the 27th Zwakala Festival, to will take place from 8–9 February 2020.
The Zwakala Festival is the most established and well-respected theatre festival in Gauteng.
The revamped model of the festival has a much clearer mission and vision to develop, nurture and promote new writing talent, a platform for connecting communities and to support new writers/directors to connect with larger audiences.
Kumbaca said her vision is to make every group’s journey rich with new discoveries and filled with new experiences that will enhance their work, as they venture into the next stage of the competition.
“Theatre is my passion and being given this opportunity to watch productions every day from different communities and change people’s lives is really an opportunity that I will not take lightly,” she said.
Market Theatre’s artistic director, James Ngcobo said there has been a lot of young people who have come through the different programmes at the theatre. “We have had the opportunity to mentor them, and the Zwakala Festival is another avenue we use to extend our mentorship reach to wider groups or communities. We have mentored young thespians across different disciplines such as directing, designing, musical direction etc. They have been given exciting opportunities at the foundation. Introducing the role of Resident Director for the Zwakala Festival was a brave move, in my working with the groups I realised that we needed a young voice who can help us curate the festival and work with fieldworkers. Seeing this unfold has been a valuable lesson for us on how to grow the festival each year,” Ngcobo said.
Every year a director is attached to the festival to help with fieldwork, identifying the eight productions that will be mentored as part the first phase of the festival. After that process the director works with the judges to help find the winner for the year and then the Resident Director is expected to work with the winning director to prepare the production for a run at the Market Theatre.
The selection is done by the Artistic Director and is based on how each individual will contribute to the growth of the festival. This year he has chosen Kumbaca. Her appointment was informed by her deep desire for storytelling.
The Zwakala Festival will take place from 8–9 February 2020 at the Ramolao Makhene Theatre.