The 9th Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSF SA) concluded in Johannesburg with great success.
- The Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa, organised by the Educape Trust has improved the language and social skills of over 2,000 children through the performing arts.
- The Adelaide Tambo School for the physically challenged received a standing ovation for their performance of Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar’.
- The School took part in this year’s festival with ‘Dream Up’s’ support, the programme of BNP Paribas Foundation.
After a successful run in Cape Town, George and Makhanda (formally known as Grahamstown), the 9th Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSF SA) has successfully concluded at the Joburg Theatre in September. Since its inception in 2010, the flagship programme of the Educape Trust has helped to improve the language and social skills of over 2,000 children through the performing arts.
Each participating school prepared and performed a 30-minute abridged version of a Shakespeare’s play of their choice. The highlight of the Johannesburg leg of the festival was the stellar performance of ‘Julius Caesar’ by the learners of the Adelaide Tambo School for the physically challenged from Soweto. The school took part in this year’s festival with the support of global French bank BNP Paribas through its Foundation’s Dream Up programme.
According to Vikas Khandelwal, CEO of BNP Paribas South Africa, the participation of the school helped to test society’s assumptions around disability and ableism, by promoting inclusion. “The integration of differences are essential to continue strengthening social values. Stereotypes around aspects of physical ability continue to contribute to the major lack of representation of disabled people, while tolerance and openness towards others can contribute to a sense of belonging and greater diversity,” says Khandelwal.
Learners from the Adelaide Tambo School received a standing ovation for their performance by a small yet highly engaged audience on Wednesday the 11th of September. According to SSF SA Festival Director and Managing Director of Educape Trust, Kseniya Filinova-Bruton, the arts are an ideal way for children to explore their full potential in a fun, developmental way, simultaneously making their theatre debut on a professional stage in a non-competitive environment.
Founded in 2015, the Dream up program by BNP Paribas’ Foundation aims to promote social inclusion in thirty different countries around the world by providing cultural education to children who are least likely to enjoy access to the arts. Educape Trust is one on the thirty non-profit organisations taking part of the BNP Paribas Foundation Dream UP programme.
Filinova-Bruton says that education is not just about learning academic subjects but should include experiences that develop character and inner strength. Skills that she believes are necessary for moulding children into well-balanced adults.
“Stories and storytelling are a universal human trait that creates intrigue and wonderment of the world. The arts are a unique way for children to develop an understanding, esteem and admiration for other cultures and people. We’re grateful to BNP Paribas for their ongoing contribution to the arts as their involvement makes a huge difference to the children, who otherwise would not have participated in the festival,” says Filinova-Bruton
The Adelaide Tambo School prepares learners with a wide spectrum of physical and learning disabilities according to the national school curriculum, despite many coming from disadvantaged families reliant on government social grants or the retirement savings of their grandparents for subsistence.
Bosmont Primary School – who performed Midsummer Night’s Dream – and Khula Unqobe Creative Arts outreach group (KUCA) – who performed Twelfth Night – are also supported by the BNP Paribas Dream Up Foundation.
Filinova-Bruton says that by the end of the year, a total of 85 schools would have participated in the festival. “The SSF SA is fully interactive and provides guidance and resources through scripts, training, framework and feedback that fully equips Learners and Educators for a world of theatre. Staging a Shakespeare play in a professional theatre is an experience to be relished,” concludes Filinova-Bruton.
For further information or find how your company or organisation can get involved please visit www.ssfsa.co.za and keep up to date via the Shakespeare Schools Festival SA Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.