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Saturday, June 11, 2011


One of South Africa's most established and respected arts festival – the annual Witness Hilton Arts Festival which is now in its 19th year, will take place on the beautiful grounds of the Hilton College from September 16 to 18.

The annual Witness Hilton Arts Festival is broadly considered to be KZN’s foremost arts and culture festival which consistently produces a sterling programme of cutting-edge drama, comedy, music and cabaret, as well as an impressive array of arts and crafts appealing to all who visit the festival each year. The event attracts an enticing mix of excellent South African performers and artists gleaned from the prestigious stages around South Africa including the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July.

Some of the shows pencilled in for this festival include Kickstart’s top-notch God of Carnage - a wickedly funny social comedy, featuring fine performances from a local cast of multi-award winning actors. The original show was the hottest ticket on Broadway and the local production comes to Hilton after a sell-out season in Durban.

Directed by Lara Bye, London Road was the success story of last year’s National Arts Festival. It is a new, all-South African production, created by a stellar team, tells the tender, beautiful and funny story about a friendship between two women from diverse backgrounds, living in the same block of flats in London Road, Seapoint.

Sailing Somewhere is a world premiere. Directed by Vanessa Cooke and performed by Fiona Ramsay with Tony Bentel on piano, with evocative songs by Conor Mitchell, this one-woman play by South African Matthew Hurt is a sometimes funny, sometimes haunting portrait of a mother’s guilt.

Directed by Robert Whitehead, The Slap Koejawel is an absurdly funny and touching play brings two great actresses of stage and television together again - Annelisa Weiland and Vanessa Cooke. The action finds two stressed-out actresses of a certain age in a tatty dressing room, preparing for the first preview of a new South African play ... a work not without its problems! Can they pull it off without losing what's left of their marbles?

Cockroach is a trilogy written and performed by Jonathan Khumbulani Nkala and directed and edited by Bo Petersen. Jonathan Khumbulani Nkala is a young man from Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, living in Cape Town, South Africa. The trilogy bears witness to the dramatic arc of his life. Volunteer Man is an exploration on the right of a patient with an incurable illness to choose to end his life. It is also a meditation on the “rightness” of the decision another person makes to aid in the suicide.

My First Sony is a play by Benny Barbash, based on his book, by the same title. This is how the story about the deterioration of an Israeli family, told by Yotam, begins … Yotam, an eleven year old child, obsessed with documentation, records everything in his children's tape recorder, My First Sony. The Strange Case of the Headmaster’s Wife is a dinner thriller Join Michael Buchan, the unlikely detective, on his quest to unravel the mystery behind a singularly enigmatic murder; the challenge is on to work out whodunnit and why!

Christopher Duigan will be presenting his always ever-popular Music Revival Concert Series. There is also live music for free on the public stages at the festival. As well as the performance programme, there is also a series of Think Fest presentations and workshops on a variety of topics. Between shows, visitors are invited to peruse a myriad art exhibitions situated in venues around the Hilton campus as well as enjoy a selection of refreshments to suit all tastes.

Booking will open on August 19. Programmes available in that day’s Witness; at selected Spar stores; on

It is strongly advised that those wishing to attend the festival, book their accommodation early at one of the many B&Bs and hotels in the area. Booking kits will be available from selected SPAR Stores in KZN. Kits can also be collected from Exclusive Books (La Lucia, Pavilion, Liberty Midlands Mall and Gateway), Adams in Musgrave Centre, Bookworld @ Cascades; KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Durban; Crouse Art Gallery 254 Lillian Ngoyi / Windermere Rd; Pietermaritzburg Publicity offices in the CBD and Liberty Midlands Mall, and the Witness offices in Willowton Industrial estate Pietermaritzburg, The Corner Café in Glenwood, and the Hilton College Theatre (weekdays office hours). Also from leading galleries and theatre foyers. Detailed information can be found on or phone 033 383 0126 /7 or email