Krêkvars Puts More Bums on Seats


Students put up show posters at the Masker Theatre at the University of Pretoria. (Supplied)

The Krêkvars Student Arts Festival is growing every year. In its humble beginnings there were a mere dozen shows. There are 52 shows this year each playing three times, putting the total figure at 156 productions on show at the festival.The audience size of the first iteration of the student festival is a couple of thousand. Last year, around seven thousands ticket were sold.

“It has shown consistent, stunning growth every single year,” said Marielle Labuscagne, the general manager of theatres and production logistics at UP Arts. “Some can call it a Mickey Mouse thing but it consistently attracts quality.”

More venues are also being used. For the first, shows are taking place in the ball room, more shows are staged at the Drama Square, and the radio room, previously reserved for films, has become another home for plays.

Abri J. le Roux, a recently retired drama lecturer at UP who has put on four Krêkvars plays and written seven outside of the festival, said the festival has developed tremendously as more people know of it and more genres are represented. “Krêkvars is growing. In the beginning in one of my own plays you would be lucky on the first day to be opening with six people on the audience,” he said.

“In the beginning it was the students, their family, their buddies on the campus. But now I’ve met other people on campus that say, ‘Wow, when is Krêkvars?’ And not only on the campus but also in the city. Regular theatregoers are looking forward to Krêkvars. So it has expand.”

Le Roux acknowledged that it takes a number of years before a festival gains traction, particularly in so culturally diverse a city as Pretoria is.


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