Bernadino Heights wins Artscape and Suidoosterfees High School Drama Festival

The High School Drama Festival, presented in August every year at Cape Town’s Artscape, concluded last week with nine schools reaching the finals from 34 entries. Bernadino Heights High School from Scottsdene produced the winning production, Brandmerk.

Brandmerk, by playwright Stephren Saayman, also received an award for best drama text. The play portrays a boy who develops a phobia for ice cream after a traumatic incident. It will be included on the youth theatre programme during the 21st Suidoosterfees in 2024.

Martin Oosthuizen High School from Kakamas, famous for their winning performances at the Drama Festival in the past, received several accolades for their production Rita & Raul. Zander Oberholster scooped an award as best actor in a leading role, Barnie Mans for best director, and Rita & Raul was also acknowledged with a prize for best technical contribution.

Mesuli Magida, who portrayed Mkhokheli in Luhlaza High School’s The Society, was selected best actor in a supporting role. The production also received a special adjudicator’s prize for the cast’s innovative use of props. Hout Bay International School walked away with an award for best ensemble play in their production Epic “Othello”.

Other schools and entities who participated in the Drama Festival finals, were the Amoyo Foundation from Hout Bay, Sinenjongo High School from Milnerton, Manyano High School from Khayelitsha, Parklands College and the Pioneer School from Worcester.

In addition to Bernadino Heights being invited to perform Brandmerk at Suidoosterfees 2024, one of the best actors of the Drama Festival will make a guest appearance in kykNET popular Suidooster series.

Herman van der Westhuizen, Mbulelo Grootboom and Dara Kometz were the adjudicators. After the awards ceremony on 25 August, Van der Westhuizen remarked, “The judges were impressed with the quality of this year’s entries and the incredible talent we have observed this week.”

The High School Drama Festival is presented in August every year by Artscape, Suidoosterfees and City of Cape Town. It is supported by the Western Cape government and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. Marlene le Roux, Artscape’s CEO, said, “There are so many people we have to thank for making this festival a success. But I would like to pay special tribute to the teachers who, despite working in challenging circumstances, continue to bring their productions to this festive occasion.”