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Friday, June 25, 2010


June 25, 2010

Another lovely sunny day – quite hot towards midday but when you’re in and out of venues it’s always safe to carry a jacket or a shawl. Grahamstown seems to be filling up with festival-goers which is a good sign after the quiet start at the beginning of the week.

First show of the day was San, choreographed by Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe. It is inspired by the journeys and the spirits of the Khoi-San people and the dance piece presents a continuation of this journey as the world changes around them. It’s a long and slow but very moving piece beautifully presented by Mantsoe himself with Cecile Maubert-Mantsoe, Desire Davids, Romain Capello and Sara Cerneaux.

Then it was a quick visit to the Village Green before things get busy over the weekend. The standard of quality is high and there are some innovative stalls. This year, the Eastern Cape’s Provincial Craft Fair, which occupies its own tent, has a far better layout than before and it’s a good place to get gifts to take back home while at the same time helping these crafters on the way to self-sustainability.

Then it was across town to The Highlander for Butlers & Bridesmaids where a hard-working cast of four take on numerous characters in this spooky murder spoof set in a 16th century castle. A delightfully refreshing piece of nonsense written and directed by Justin Wilkinson, it goes at a record pace. What it must look like behind the scenes with all those costume changes, I dread to think!

The final duty – and a very pleasant one – of the day was to attend the rounding off of Interactions SA-NL in a creative cocktail presentation which introduced the artists who have been working on this project for the past week.

Interactions SA-NL is a two-year collaborative project of South Africa and the Netherlands in the area of theatre, dance and music, Dutch groups are performing and giving workshops and lectures in South Africa whilst Dutch professionals are working with artists and young talent to create ground-breaking co-productions inspired by the rich South African culture.

One of these programmes is the Novel-Script project. Initiated in 2009 under the auspices of the Durban-based Twist Theatre Development Projects, it brings together selected writers from South Africa and the Netherlands in a professional writer’s development programme. With writer, poet and playwright Kobus Moolman as mentor, the writers have benefited considerably from his experience.

Interactions SA-NL is an initiative of Theatre Instituut Nederland (TIN) and Muziek Centrum Nederland (MCN) in co-operation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and a great many South African partners. The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the main contributor to the programme. (For more information see: Theatre Instituut Nederland, – Caroline Smart