Theatre festival alert: Playhouse High School Drama Festival 2021, South Africa

What: Parel Vallei Playhouse High School Drama Festival Where: Playhouse Theatre, Somerset West When: August 10 – 21, 2021 Closing date for applications: Closing date for entries AND payments: Monday June 15, 2021 Entry fee: R300 per play and R80 for monologue. This includes entry to the venue for all participants on the day of performance Entrants: Primary and high/secondary schools may participate and drama schools Play format and language: Full-length one-act plays, shorter one-person plays or monologues, in any language Prizes: Yes Info:  

Here is great news for young theatre makers, at school. The Playhouse High School Drama Festival will be presented at The Playhouse, Somerset West in August 2021. Entries close on June 15, 2021.  The festival director, Darryl Spijkers has announced the hybrid model for the 2021 festival. The plan is to stage plays in front of audience but if this is not possible because of tightened lockdown restrictions, the plays will be staged in front of a panel and then filmed and streamed for viewing on the digital stage. The 2020 online festival was hugely successful and the winners were able to perform, when lockdown restrictions were eased. Navigating through the uncertainty of 2021, this hybrid format provides a vital platform for young theatre makers. Entries are open to any primary or high school and drama schools may also enter. The schools do not have to be in Somerset West. Plays may be in any language.  The entry fee is R300. Wonderful prizes are on offer.  Info as supplied:

Playhouse Drama Festival Goes Ahead

The fifth annual Playhouse Drama Festival will be hosted in August 2021. Co-hosted and managed by Parel Vallei High School, this event has become a highlight in local theatre’s calendar.

“We look forward to welcoming more and more schools as we have seen the festival grow. We have plays that will be performed in three South African languages, and we would love to see this diversity grow even more. Despite the lockdown, 13 schools entered in 2020,” explains festival co-ordinator and Parel Vallei’s Head of Culture, Darryl Spijkers.

Started in 2017 by Annelie van Zyl and Yanou Pienaar, the festival allows youth to express themselves in a real theatre environment and take on the challenge of creating, acting, designing, operating and stage-managing.

The festival will take place at the Playhouse Theatre in Somerset West from 11 – 21 August 2021. The Playhouse Theatre Somerset West is a community-based NPO facility known for its high standards in musicals, plays and dance shows.

The festival’s winning plays over the past 4 years were:

2017 – Kopskoot

2018 – Too Bad

2019 – (V)LUG

2020 – Wentelkind 

This year, to accommodate schools entering from far and the limitations some schools have placed on their Drama departments, the festival will have both live and digital options and is open to primary and high schools. Schools can enter full-length one-act plays, shorter one-person plays or monologues.

“The Playhouse operates under strict lockdown regulations and the festival will be no exception. Adjudicators will compare the live and digitally submitted entries and ensure that all are fairly scored. Live performances will bring the excitement and energy of youth to the stage once more as we keep theatre alive under new conditions,” says Spijkers.   

Schools can find out more about how to enter or participate in the 2021 festival, by emailing

Parel Vallei Playhouse High School Drama Festival- submission rules: The following includes guidelines for the 2021 festival. For all the requirements, e-mail  festival director, Darryl Spijkers on

Eligibility: Primary and High/secondary schools may participate. Drama Schools may also participate.
Language: Plays and monologues may be performed in any language.
Genre: Any scripted or original one-act play, musical, cabaret or literature programme may be entered; provided that either dialogue, costumes, movement, décor or props (or all) are incorporated in the programme.
Length of plays: minimum 15 minutes; maximum 45 min. Monologue – maximum 6ix minutes.  
Entry forms: Entry forms must be completed in full by typing on a PC and must include names of actors and the characters they portray, technical staff as well as the director and dramatist
Design and props: Must be planned carefully and be transported to venue, at own cost.
Props supplied at venue: Four standard block, two tables and six chairs will be provided. The committee will assist wherever possible. A stage manager will be on hand to help store and set up items.
Set up: Fifteen minutes allowed between plays: Five minutes to dismantle; five minutes to set up for the next play and five minutes to get the next audience in). No props may be left behind the stage as this restricts movement of actors and technical staff, especially when a play has a large cast. Please ensure that all back-stage activities are carefully planned in order to prevent any disturbances and crisis that may occur.
Stage and lighting plan: Will be provided on request to participating schools/groups.
Rehearsal time: 45 minutes rehearsal time for all participants. This opportunity must be utilised to plan all back stage activities, the positioning of design and the marking of positions with masking tape and to do a light and sound rehearsal. Please note: only the school rehearsing will be allowed in venue at this allocated time. Rehearsal times will be finalised within two weeks after the closing date for entries.
Stage management, sound and lighting: Under the control of the PV Playhouse Drama Festival committee. Any special effects or requests must be discussed and planned well in advance. Every school/group must have its own sound and light operator(s) whom must work in conjunction with the control room operators.
Copies of plays: Bring TWO copies of each play to hand in at rehearsal time. Performing rights: Must be obtained from DALRO, P.O. Box 9292 Johannesburg 2000 or the dramatist. Please indicate on entry form if it is a NEW or ORIGINAL PLAY, as there is an AWARD for new/original play.
Adjudication: Two adjudicators will adjudicate each play. A brief discussion will be held after each group session. Participants are urged to be present, to receive their grading. Individual adjudicator notes/comments will be emailed in the week after performance. All participants, family members, directors and headmasters are urged to attend the performance and feedback. Entry categories: Primary school and High school
Entry fee: R300 per play and R80 for monologue and this will include: Entry to the venue for all participants on the day of their performance- viewing and competing productions on the same day.
Entrance fee to view productions: R50 for adults and R20 for school going pupils. The number of tickets depends on lockdown level regulations.
Marketing. Entrants are encouraged to create a separate advertising poster, which should reach the organisers by July 30 2021. There will be an award for the best poster. Posters will be on display during the art exhibition; a week prior to the start of the drama productions, and on display at performance venue. In addition, the posters will be used on social media platforms.

Closing date for all entries AND payments: Monday June 15 2021: Mail entries and proof of payment to: NB – Reference GENRE/School Parel Vallei High School ABSA Acc: 2900141311 Code: 632005 Payment reference: 3000/007 (school name) Fax: 0866843871 Email to: ** Please note that any changes to the entry form prior to the performance date, must be made in writing and addressed to D. Spijkers in advance at the above address. PLEASE NOTE: The content of the plays must be suitable for school audiences. If, however, the context of the play is such that it may not suit school audiences, please indicate on the form and motivate in the section that provides for ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

The Playhouse Drama Festival 2021: Entries close Monday June 15, 2021
The Playhouse Drama Festival – went ahead in 2020 as an online festival, with performances on stage, when lockdown was eased. A hybrid model – on stage and digital- is how the 2021 festival is being planned.

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