Schools  Projects  Blogs  Log In 

Learners` Experiences @ National Schools Festival 2011

Standard Bank held the National Schools Festival for the last time this year, with a mission statement "To enrich the culture and educational life of the youth of South Africa, by promoting an appreciation of the arts as a universal tool of communication and empowerment, and to develop a deep appreciation, love and support for the South African arts industry". The Fest lasted four day and we had a lot of fun in these few days.

1. Monday 11th july

Sunday we gathered together to register in the Foyer of the 1820 settlers National Monument. Faith, Ayanda, Siya and I were in group A with the rest of our friends from Vg. We got a bag with a few goody's such as a stress ball, the program of the week and an exam pad.

Monday started off early at 8h00 with the Official Opening in the Guy Butler Theatre-monument. It was Long.. there were quite a few people who welcomed us with inspiring messages. This threw the program off a bit and thus the Fest was running late.

Siv Ngesi addressed us,as he was our Keynote speaker. He woke us up by entertaining us with some comedy. Siv then told us about his life and it went a lil like this... Siv grew up in Cape Town, Gugulethu-a township. He took speech and drama lessons. He Performed once for Nelson Mandalas Birthday. His very gross acne Kept him form performing on screen but he carried on with theater, sports and dance. He went to New York After High School doing a few odd jobs, he came back when he had to go through initiation. His speech was true inspirational as he gave some of his life quotes, one which stood out most for me was that he never have a plan B because he believes his plan A will succeed.

The weekly program said that next we would have festival orientation, which i guess was when the lady come up and spoke to us about some random stuff such as errors on the weekly program. 
by Krista

We watched Chinese Dancing and Acrobatic Troupe which was amazing because this one lady was extremely flexible doing the splits in many different ways. Must have taken her years to accomplish that goal!

We watched a show called Death of a Colonialist at the Rhodes theater, this show was extremely intense as a History teacher, played by Jamie Bartlett(who i met) is at the end of his career, his children who moved overseas have come to visit, his wife has found out she has cancer, as the play unfolds it shows what life is like in South Africa.

We then had lunch at Hobson's dinning hall.

After Lunch our first workshop began, Ayanda and I went to Drag n Fly which was a physical workshop where we worked in pairs each according to size. We tried to find each others point of balance, which was really fun to do, as we jumped, slid and twisted during this one and a half hours.
at 3.30 group A went to go watch Door, we were extremely excited because Ubom  is really good.. However, Door was not as good as we expected it to be, as it left most people confused with the many doors which moved around.

Supper time was at 5.30, and our next activity was only at 7.30, thus i decided to go home and fresh-ion up.

Everyone watched Bhakti a dance performance,  we sat right in front, this performance made me feel very sleepy, if only the performers couldnt see us i would have gone to sleep. I'm not sure if it was just me that was really tired from Sunday nights late working, but i found the performance boring...

The After party began at 9, but we didn't stay for very long as most people didn't go to the party and made it very boring to be there. I was just glad I could go home and have a good nights rest before tuesday began..

By Krista


3. Kardiavale

One of the plays that we watched at the Schools Fest 2011 was called Kardiavale. It can be classified as "Cabaret Clown Noir"- a "cabaret of death". There was also a lecture linked to it which some of us attended, called "The Conspiracy... of Clowning"

Kardiavale, presented by A Conspiracy of Clowns featured Liezl de Kock and Rob Murray and was directed by Emilie Starke.

It tells the story of a girl, Onni (Liezl de Kock) who is born with a rare disease- Ectopia cordis, a condition that results in the heart being on the outside of the chest cavity. Onni falls in love with Oskar (Rob Murray), who runs a show called "Oskars Oddities", and makes money by exposing eople who are different.

Oskar does not care for Onni, but takes her in so that he can put her in his freak show and make money, which is his only concern. The production tells a tale of how vulnerable and exposed the heart is when in love. Onni slowly comes to realise that she is being exploited, and the consequences of her realisation are severe.

The name Kardiavale comes from ‘Kardia’- the Greek word for heart and ‘vale’ - which is part of the word carnival.

A beautiful love story with a twist, which was incredible to watch due to the story line, the make-up, the clowning, and the way it all came together.


4. How to be a zombie for under R50.

One of the workshops we attened was on gory stage make-up. It was run by Clinton Small, who has his honours degree in drama and creative writing.

The workshop began with a short demonstration and explanation on how the "home-made" wounds were made. This was very interesting as the wounds can be made almost entirely of things found around the house.

We then were allowed to make our own wounds using glue, toilet paper, food colouring and various bits of makeup. The work shop was lots of fun and extremely interesting.

By Hannah Godlonton


5. Thurdsay 14th July

Thursday 14 July 2011- National Schools’ Festival

By: Ayanda Twani


This was our final day at the schools’ fest and we still had an exciting line up of productions to watch. We were in uniform early that morning to congratulate the top achievers from the English Olympiad. This ceremony was followed by a production from Free Voice Productions.  The Ogreling was based on the old folk and African legends of ogres or izim, in the isiXhosa language. This play explored the human battles between good and evil. Battles that tend to become interpersonal. We were introduced into the life of an oversized six year old who had inherited his father’s ogre behavior and his mother’s loving and willful personality.

This young boy has his personality challenged by his ogre needs of flesh and blood. A tendency that had driven his own father away from people, was now threatening to thieve this young boy’s love for school and his life with his mother. In order to overcome his ogre desires he would have to undergo three tasks. Even when things became tough, the little boy’s loving-personality proved to exceed his physical needs. He had passed the tests that even his own father had failed to do. His strength was proven and he became a man more than a boy.

After having lunch we had our last workshops. These included The Body Prepared by Richard Antrobus and How to be a Zombie for less than R50 by Clinton Small. I had the honour of being in the presence of Mr. Anthony Antrobus who spoke fondly of the human body and how we prepare it in the different ways in which we walk. Certain physical positions say a lot about one’s character and how they behave. If someone puts their chins up when talking one could draw a conclusion that they are pompous. This understanding has been used in theatre to portray characters that the audience can identify with or relate to. We also got a chance to explore the five key emotions in theatre. These include passion and fear. This workshop raised important aspects of how our emotions affect the world around us and visa versa.

We then headed off to the Rhodes Theatre to watch Wreckage, a production by UBOM and the First Physical Theatre Production. Wreckage, on a literal level, depicted the time of the 18th and 19th centuries when various ships, with people of European descent, landed on the shores of the Eastern Cape. The hardships of traveling by sea, deaths on deck and hallucinating passengers were noted. The key metaphorical message was the notion of picking up the pieces when life seems a mess. What happens when a father leaves his daughter to fend for her and in his return arrives to find a young independent yet hurt woman. Where do they begin to pick up the pieces?

After supper we had yet another production. This was sadly our last. Escape from Nombiland was a hilarious production on the life of a shipwrecked European who finds himself in a dry area that hasn’t had rain in six months. Nombiland, is the land of brave warriors and friendly women who all eat noosh-noosh. The white European, acted by a black man, is received as a godly gift to bring the rain back once more. With irony, slapstick and various other humour techniques this became one of my favourite stage performances.

The last few minutes of the festival were filled with goodbyes and farewells to our new friends. Many of which had prospects of attending Rhodes University next year or even coming back for the National Arts Festival.


As the V.G group who were sponsored we would really like to thank both Anna and Mrs. Hanton for the amazing four days. We definitely got the opportunity to challenge the way we see the world and to explore the depth and breadth of the human body, mind, spirit and soul.



6. Wednesday 13th July

The day started of with three lectures, which we could choose two from. These lectures included: Crash and Burn, What’s so new about the new South Africa?, Do schools kill creativity?, A question of design?, and What is art and the role of the artist?. I attended ‘What’s so new about the new South Africa?’, where we debated this topic into finer detail. I then attended ‘Do schools kill creativity?’, where we watched an interesting video covering this topic, and we had a discussion afterwards.

 After our different lectures, we watched a production entitled “Makeking Road”, which was followed by lunch. There was a free session after lunch, and some learners had the choice of attending a tour of Rhodes University. This was followed by our different worshops. The highlight for some people was probably the Festival Party at the monument. We were entertained by Smash ‘n Grab, and Spitmunky. This was a fun-filled day, and the party proved to be the ideal way to end of Day 3 of the Standard Bank National Schools Festival on a high note.

By: Faith du Plessis


7. Mafeking Road

Mafeking Road This for me is probably the highlight o the schools festival. Andrew Laubscher and Mathew Lewis were the two main and only actors in this play. The production was centered on three short stories written by Herman Charles Bosman, a renowned South African writer. The two actors use no props, but had a unique way of illustrating different characters so that the audience could understand and relate to it. The two actors transformed the different characters into people that I’ll never forget. This was funny and very entertaining. It is a must-see for anyone who has the opportunity to watch it. This comedic production will leave you wanting more. Rating out of 10: 10

 By: Faith du Plessis


8. Highlights

I had numerous highlights from the National Schools Festival. These included speeches by Nobulali Dangazele and Sivuyisile Ngesi because they had many inspirational messages to share and got me motivated for the future!

A show I really enjoyed watching that got me laughing throughout was Maikeng Road- I even wrote a piece/review about it in one of the workshops I attended: Become an arts journalist and here are bits and pieces out of the review

The last thing I expected was a ROFL (rolling-on-floor-laughing) dynamic performance that left tears on my face long after the production was done with. Physical theatre isn’t really my thing but the duo performance from Andrew Laubscher and Mathew Lewis made TV comedy look like a waste of money. Andrew and Mathew aptly created an action-packed physical theatrical performance that left the audience laughing as if they were watching the best stand-up comedian in South Africa.

Mafeking Road is a good example of how a stage production doesn’t need a large cast or elaborate set to be brought to life. It’s as simple as two guys doing some great acting – maybe not as simple as making lemonade, but you get the idea. No wonder it won an Ovation Award, and it will definitely be getting a rating of ten on my response sheet to the Schools Festival!

By: Tamani Chithambo


  Please log in to view this section.

More >>

awareNet song video shoot - 47.jpg
by: Anna Wertlen
on: 2011-11-23 20:08:06