St John's College

The De Souza-Young Arts Fest was conceptualised by Joy de Souza and Wendy Young, iconic former teachers in the College English Department. Held every two years, the Arts Fest was originally envisioned as a day to celebrate the arts and encourage students to sign up for workshops and immerse themselves in new and creative activities. Today, it has become a day for students to pause and enthusiastically engage in something quite different.

This year’s Arts Fest, which took place on 10 June, was no exception. The day began with a performance by Keir Mantzios (Fleming 2018), where students were treated to a display of mixing skills. The Rene England Auditorium had never rocked so robustly before, as chairs were abandoned and students gathered around Keir to witness his expertise in building an exhilarating mood, leading to dancing and crowd surfing.

Following the performance, students could participate in two of the 46 different workshops that appealed to them the most. This year’s offerings ranged from butter making—an excessively popular choice—to tattooing, alongside numerous arts, music, drama, and movement workshops. Students were fortunate to be exposed to industry specialists and to experience the expertise of some of the college staff in ways quite different from their traditional teaching roles. It was a delight to see students and teachers immerse themselves in the various workshops and proudly showcase their creations.

During break time, the Music Department entertained staff and students with their beautiful playing, reminding everyone of the depth of musical talent within the College.

Traditionally, students are given the opportunity to attend a performance. This year, they were treated to a performance by Jam entitled ‘Life—this mortal coil.’ They also enjoyed two outstanding productions from this year’s FEDA Festival: ‘Queue’ from the National School of the Arts and ‘Ghosts of Shakespeare’s Women’ by Redhill School.

Arts Fest would not be a success without the invaluable support and assistance of the Music, Art, and Drama Departments. Their instrumental role in arranging outside facilitators and internal workshops is truly commendable. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Mr Hendri Liebenberg, Mrs Estelle Potgieter, and Mrs Pippa Sandilands for their efforts.

Additionally, we thank Mrs Irene Basson, who created a website exclusively for Arts Fest to ensure smooth facilitation. The catering and ground staff, as well as security, contributed significantly by assisting in feeding the facilitators, setting up the different venues for the workshops, and ensuring sufficient parking.

Arts Fest 2024 was a day for students to forget about the demands of College life and immerse themselves in fun and creativity.

Until 2026...!

— Mrs Fiona Kampmann, Arts Fest Convenor