In its ritual commemoration of the Youth Month, the South African State Theatre (SAST) is presenting the 2021 edition of the annual Youth Expressions Festival (YEF) from 16 to 30 June. The instalment will converge under the national government’s Youth Day and Youth Month theme: "The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society."
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 student uprising in Soweto, when young people protested the imposition of Afrikaans by the apartheid regime as a medium of instruction. The uprising ended tragically with hundreds of young people being brutally killed. Whilst aimed at empowering young creatives, the festival remembers the essence of Youth Month in South Africa.
Education Youth Children’s Theatre Manager, Thabiso Qwabe comments: "The festival is a celebration of the youth’s creative spirit that remembers the past, while reflecting on today and interrogating the hopes of tomorrow. The youth of 1976 had the drive and energy to make a difference and challenge the norms and forced norms, this is what the current youth is still doing, finding ways to overcome their new challenges."
Inaugurated in 2008, the YEF has been an empowering platform of growth for many young artists that developed to be masters in their crafts. It provides funding for productions, shares door sales with artists, and creates multiple employment for young artists using curated productions. The festival is inclusive of dramaturgy for artists productions and workshops in partnership with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and DALRO, which educate and empower young creatives on how to be tax compliant and on ways to protect their works.
The 2020 edition of the festival could not take place last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the current 3rd wave scare, the show goes with limited attendees under strict Covid-19 regulations. New exciting artistic works by young creatives telling their stories in various art forms, are instore for festival attendees. "In our selection of featured artists and works, we were eyeing creativity, new stories and thought provoking works across all genres in the arts. We were also looking at creating opportunities nationally and internationally, but the pandemic has put a limit to access such artist," adds Qwabe.
All YEF shows are priced at R80 per ticket. Entrance for visual art productions is free.
Tickets can be obtained at Webtickets, available online, over the counter at Pick n Pay stores nationwide, and at State Theatre’s box office.
Audience attendance is capped at 100 persons in line with the current covid-19 lockdown regulations.