What to expect from the nationwide Standard Bank Presents Festival

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Maggie Gericke and Sophie Joans present The Flower Hunters, a series of narrative sketches that take a tentative and self-effacing look at how seedling-humans dream, flourish and fail in the strange ecosystem of modern life. (Supplied)
Maggie Gericke and Sophie Joans present The Flower Hunters, a series of narrative sketches that take a tentative and self-effacing look at how seedling-humans dream, flourish and fail in the strange ecosystem of modern life. (Supplied)
  • The National Arts Festival has evolved into three major offerings. 
  • The festival now comprises a livestream offering, Makhanda Live, and Standard Bank Presents.
  • Standard Bank Presents will take place from 17 June to 4 July. 


So while a smaller in-person festival will still take place in Makhanda, support from Standard Bank sees the festival bringing select shows to patrons in other cities around South Africa. From 17 June to 4 July 2021, residents of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Gqeberha, and Durban can expect the Stand Bank Presents programme. The select shows include new theatre releases, performances by the 2020 Standard Bank Young Artists as well as the parts of the annual Standard Bank Jazz Festival.

In Cape Town  

All Cape Town shows will be hosted at Gallery 44, the theatre venue at 44 Long Street. 

22 June: Maggie Gericke and Sophie Joans present The Flower Hunters, a series of narrative sketches that take a tentative and self-effacing look at how seedling-humans dream, flourish and fail in the strange ecosystem of modern life. It is a tribute to the messiness of life and the ongoing tussle between dreams and reality. 

25&26 June: Based on Credo Mutwa’s 'The Coming of the Strange Ones,' Qondiswa James’ new dance theatre performance Ndinxaniwe, explores the insidious effects of patriarchy and colonial conquest on present day rural boyhood. 


In Johannesburg 

26 June 2021: As a part of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival artists will perform at the Wits Theatre. Judith Sephuma will take to the stage at 12h00, Lira at 15h30 and Bokani Dreyer at 19h00. 

27 June: Sun-EL is joined by a stellar line-up of musicians to deliver a melodic mix of house and afro beats at the Wits Theatre. Also on this day, Benjamin Jephta dissects his experience to create music centred around themes of upbringing and cultural identity in Born Coloured: not Born Free.

4 July: Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz Sisonke Xonti performs at the Market Theatre Complex’s John Kani Theatre. 

3 July: Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, Nthato Mokgata and the Afro Jazz Giant Tribute perform at the John Kani Theatre at the Market Theatre Complex. 

30 June to 2 July: Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance, Lulu Mlangeni offers her celebration of transcending survival in the face of despair, Kganya (Light), at the Market Theatre. 

30 June, 1 & 4 July: Tony Miyambo and Phala O Phala offer Commission Continua. The performance is an interrogation of South Africa’s various commissions to ask how we can healing. It takes place at the AFDA Red Roof Theatre. 

2 & 3 July: Zane Meas’s work Van Wyk, The Story Teller of Riverlea will be staged at The Market Theatre. It pays homage to author Chris van Wyk as a poet, political activist, and writer. 

Also on 2 & 3 July: Jeremy Nedd & Impilo Mapantsula perform a dance piece titled The Ecstatic. The work is supported by Pro Helvetia and staged at the Wits Theatre. 

7 July: In association with the Wits School of Arts, The Brother Moves On collaborates with the Resonance String Quartet and the Vivacious Sounds Choir, led by Mandla Mlangeni to present The Oratorio of a Forgotten Youth. The intergenerational collaboration looks to re-imagine what our imagined world could be. Lesego Rampolokeng comes on board with a libretto that seeks to invoke the spirit of the forgotten youth. It takes place at the Wits Theatre. 


In Durban

All shows in Durban will take place at the Seabrooke’s Theatre.

20 July: Led by Neil Gonsalves, the Neil Gonsalves Trio will perform songs the from album Blessings and Blues. The music takes its influence from the rich diversity found in Durban. Starting at 6pm, the event will be staged at the Seabrooke Theatre.  


In Gqeberha 

All shows in Gqeberha are happening at the Masifunde Learner Academy 

3 July: Xabiso Zweni and the Masifunde Creative Academy will perform the musical satire Social Disturbing. Using satire and music the play explores the murkiness of controversies, fake news and miracle cures at a time when these issues threaten to polarise us. 

3 July: The all-women quartet Acapella Narrative will honour South Africa’s music legends with acapella renditions of some of the country’s most celebrated records. These range from songs by Busi Mhlongo, and Brenda Fassie to a few by Lawrence Matshiza. Also taking to the stage is Gqeberha born soprano vocalist, Lisa Yengeni.  

For a full calendar view of the National Arts Festival Programme visit their website.

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