After successful seasons at the Precinct Homecoming Centre in District Six and the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, the organisers of the 12th Shakespeare Schools Festival South Africa (SSFSA) are gearing up for the next leg of the 2022 festival, happening at the Joburg Theatre from 6 to 11 September 2022.

Founded by Kseniya Filinova-Bruton in 2009, the SSFSA has successfully united and empowered youth in South Africa using the transforming power of theatre – specifically the works of Shakespeare – to achieve that goal.

From the start, the SSFSA has been a highlight on the cultural calendars of school and amateur drama groups and cultural clubs. “Being able to finally hold live performances after two years of challenging Covid circumstances has been a great morale booster,” said Filinova-Bruton.

The SSFSA festival is Africa’s largest youth drama event that focuses solely on Shakespeare plays. To date it has showcased 518 Shakespeare plays across the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, has worked with 10,866 learners from 597 schools, and bolstered 764 teachers in their capacity as drama and performance arts directors. “Young thespians are asked to present innovative, abridged versions of Shakespeare plays of their choice in no more than 45 minutes. “It’s a non-competitive environment and kids have loads of fun while learning at the same time,” says SSFSA manager Blythe Stuart-Linger. Casts are encouraged to ‘turn a play on its head’ by making it relatable to themselves and their peers. Throughout the preparation process, the SSFSA team assists with scripts, and acting and directing tips, running a number of educational programs alongside to benefit educators, learner-directors and casts.

Joining in at the Joburg Theatre will be The East Rand thespians, the Adelaide Tambo Special School, King Edward VLL School, Kids Haven Drama group, the African School for Excellence, Khula Unqobe Creative Arts, and St Dunstan’s College Preparatory School, among others.

Tue 6 Sep 18h30 Parktown High School for Girls A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  Khula Unqobe Creative Arts The Taming of the Shrew
Wed 7 Sep 18h30 King Edward VII School Titus Andronicus
  The East Rand Thespians The Merry Wives of Windsor
Thu 8 Sep 18h30 Woodhill College Macbeth
  African School for Excellence The Tempest
Fri 9 Sep 18h30 Adelaide Tambo Special School Romeo and Juliet
  The King’s School Linbro Park The Taming of the Shrew
Sat 10 Sep 18h30 Kids Haven Drama Group Julius Caesar
  Xanadu Private School Twelfth Night
Sun 11 Sep 16h30 St Dunstan’s College (High School) Macbeth
  St Dunstan’s College Preparatory School A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Importantly, the festival also welcomes Learners with different abilities and physical challenges. The De La Bat School for the Deaf participates regularly in Cape Town, using South African Sign Language, and each year they, and the Pioneer School for the visually impaired, deliver ground-breaking and moving renditions of the play of their choice.

The ticket prices at R100 pp and R85 block booking for 10 or more. Tickets are available at

After the season at Joburg Theatre, the SSFSA will be hosted at The Dotsure George Arts Theatre in George (Western Cape) from 9 to 11 September and at The Playhouse in Durban (KZN) from 13 to 17 September 2022.