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Sunday, August 9, 2009


Kearsney College explores new genres of the arts in annual festival.

This year’s Upbeat Festival at Kearsney College explores new genres of the arts, to include rhythm and song, bands and jazz, theatre, comedy and choirs, dance and magic, extreme stunts and international award-winning ads. The most extensive and varied line-up yet with 14 performances, five exhibitions and various fringe activities, the Festival will take place on August 14 and 15. Bookings are now open for the Festival, which includes a number of exhibitions – mixed media artworks from the Highway community, photography, jewellery and contemporary and innovative objects d’art.

In Girls Behaving Badly, Shelley McLean, Marion Loudon, Janna Ramos-Violante and Elizabeth Perkins turn up the heat with a fast-paced look at all the ‘naughty girls’ in music – from Diana Ross, Amy and Madonna, Bette Midler and Gwen Stefani, to Nancy Sinatra and Billie Holiday. The show is cheeky and fun, with stylish choreography and stunning costumes. Patrons can take a hamper or buy food from the Festival Food Court for this supper-theatre show on Saturday night.

During the afternoon, the ever-popular comedian Michael Naicker, aka Kevin Perkins, will help blow away any winter or financial blues with his special brand of humour. For those preferring something a little more cerebral, Iain ‘Ewok’ Robinson will present his award-winning stand-up show ‘Spitfire’. Not quite comedy, not quite motivational speaking, not quite straight theatre, the performance highlights the magic of the stage and the rawness of the street.

Shakespeare’s forgotten rock ‘n roll masterpiece The Return to the Forbidden Planet features a camp sci-fi setting, with silvered space suits and space ship sets. A high-energy show presented by the Kearsney Music Department, the West End hit show has had over 1,600 sold out performances. The musical fuses Shakespeare’s The Tempest with a bevy of ‘50s and ‘60s rock ‘n roll classics and promises plenty of fun!

Under the baton of its new director of music Bernard Kruger, the highly acclaimed Kearsney College Choir will present the 2009 repertoire. Together with guest choirs from Highbury and St Mary’s Schools, Refresh @ Kearsney will be presented in the Chapel at sundown on Saturday.

Another energetic production will be KZN’s first official competition for hip-hop and street dancing. Solo and group dancers will perform nu and old school styles, break-dance, krumping, popping, locking and tutting. The competition is being organised by the SA Society for the Advancement of Dancing.

Following its success at last year’s Upbeat Festival, top school bands will compete for glory over two nights in the Battle of the Bands. The competition aims to offer a platform to emerging talent within the community, as all band members must still be at school. Semi-finals will be held on the Friday night, with the final on Saturday night. Winning bands stand to win a cash prize, professional studio recording time and a slot on next year’s Splashy Fen stage.

A group of Durban’s finest musos get together on the Friday evening, with Debbie Mari providing vocals, Bruce Baker on drums and Burton Naidoo on keyboard. Take a hamper and enjoy the Debbie Mari Jazz Quintet’s evening of classy jazz. A cash bar will be available.

Over 10,000 people attended the Cannes International Advertising Awards last year to see the world’s best television ads. This two-hour compilation, which includes South Africa’s entries, will run three times over the weekend. Not forgetting the young and young-at-heart, Smoke and Mirrors will leave audiences wondering just how it’s done. Kearsney’s resident illusionist Jason Temlett will weave his web of disbelief and fun at a lunchtime show on Saturday.

Upbeat is presenting several free exhibitions as part of this year’s Festival.

An exhibition by documentary photographer Gille de Vlieg reflects timeless images with universal resonance. One of a few women photographers working on the ‘front line’ of the struggle for democracy in South Africa, her images bring a different perspective to a period largely dominated by men. She will speak about her work and the exhibition at 13h30 on August 15. Courtesy of the Durban Art Gallery, the exhibition is a condensed version of that held at the recent National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Jewellery and interior design students from the Durban University of Technology will showcase their innovative and contemporary designs. The diversity of artistic talent from a wide variety of age groups and professions amongst the Highway community will be celebrated through various mediums. Room 13, an international initiative recently introduced to South Africa, will showcase artworks from KwaCutshwayo Senior Primary School in Mariannhill and Silwane School in Inanda. The programme encourages learners to explore their creativity, whilst learning business skills to assist in marketing their products.

The Festival FunZone will have space bungee trampolines, a mechanical surfboard, jumping castles and inflatables, adjacent to the Arts and Crafts Market with local handmade designs and products. Between shows, festival goers should find a table in the beer tent or bale of hay on the main Festival field, and enjoy a choice of foods and refreshments from the Food Court and Coffee Shop.

Show details and times are on and bookings can be made through all Computicket outlets nationwide, on-line at or by telephoning 083 915 8000.