Programme Highlights on Standard Bank Presents

Published on 8 June 2021

The first collection of shows on the 2021 National Arts Festival Experience programme has been announced. The hybrid festival sees the National Arts Festival return to live stages in Makhanda from 8-18 July, and for the first time in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Gqeberha and Durban ahead of the Eastern Cape event with a series of shows called Standard Bank Presents, in theatres from 17 June-4 July. A month-long, online National Arts Festival of works will also unfold through the month of July. The Festival Experience features new elements such as Standard Bank Presents, as well as audience favourites such as the Standard Bank Jazz Festival and the Fringe.

Programme Highlights

Standard Bank Presents brings Johannesburg art lovers the debut of multi award-winning performer Tony Miyambo in the epic Commission Continua (Market Theatre, 30 June, 1 & 3 July). The show was conceptualised by Tony Miyambo and Phala O. Phala, tracing the history of South Africa’s commissions of enquiry, laying bare the heart of the South African society’s struggle for real change and reconciliation.

At Gallery44, in Cape Town, Standard Bank Presents will stage Ndinxaniwe the latest show by Qondiswa James, whose play A Howl in Makhanda received critical acclaim in 2020. A contemporary adaptation of Credo Mutwa’s ‘The Coming of the Strange Ones’, it follows three teenagers who attend a Catholic school in the forest of a rural town in the Eastern Cape. The teenagers are troubled by a shadow of their past selves which calls them deeper into history. Through drug-induced hallucinations, the boys slip into a deep sleep and arrive in the past, at the first point of contact between the white colonialists and the Black indigenous population. A critical analysis of the effects of patriarchal conflict, the conquest of the African continent, and its insidious effects on present-day rural boyhood. Catch the show on 25 & 26 June.

On 3 July in Gqeberha, Xabiso Zweni and the Masifunde Creative Academy will perform their musical satire Social Disturbing outside their Academy in Walmer Township for their Standard Bank Presents show. The play imagines a fictional prophet of doom who spreads panic and conspiracies into the pandemic-hit township. The piece evaluates how South Africans have often been naïve and foolish in looking for quick solutions in dealing with health and spiritual issues. The piece brings comic relief and satirical parallelism to break the silence dividing people around fake news, real lies, delusions or honesty amongst God, the government and worshipers.

In Durban, Standard Bank Presents will stage Acapella by Afrika Mamas at the Seabrooke Theatre on 20 June 2021. The seven-piece isicathamiya acapella group hails from the area but have performed internationally in Germany, Poland, Belgium, Holland, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Namibia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. They also won the Imbokodo Award at the Isicathamiya Awards in 2019.