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Friday, February 22, 2013


The 19th Absa KKNK festival taking place in Oudtshoorn from March 29 to April 6 boasts 52 new productions.

Theo Kemp, Programme manager of the Afrikaans festival, says this year's programme is bursting with "exciting productions, new venues and a programme that guarantees something for everyone".

The 52 new productions compare well to the number of new offerings from previous years. In 2010 there were 32 first appearances; in 2011, it jumped to 40 debut productions and in 2012 there were 37 new pieces. This year there are a further 40 plays and music productions to choose from.

Kemp says more productions are available this year as a new model of scheduling has been implemented. Productions will play in fixed time slots, which will make it easier for visitors to plan ahead and allows festival venues to be used more optimally.

Even though theatre is the main focus of this festival, there are various new music productions, word art and kids theatre for the whole family to enjoy.

The 52 debut productions include: 20 theatre pieces; 24 music productions (including classical-, music theatre- & contemporary productions); five word art programmes; two children’s theatre pieces and one dance theatre piece.

The Absa KKNK plays an integral role in investing in the production of new work. This year's highlights of new theatre productions include:

- Balbesit by the theatre entrepreneur Saartjie Botha. She places rugby on the stage and in the spotlight, with a focus on issues that matter – on and off the field.

- Land artist Strijdom van Merwe will create the landscape part of Garin Haupthfleich's new production Bly. This piece is for anyone who has experienced being left behind, decided to stay behind and even those who are just plain happy.

- Charles J. Fourie as writer and director of Offer, tells the story of a former political activist who returned to South Africa to expose the truth of a township tragedy.

- Pruttel will challenge the boundaries of theatre at the new Baanbreek-venue. All the experimental, visual and non-verbal theatre productions will take place at this venue.

- Skrikkeljaar is a new site-specific production with Layla Swart as director and David Johnson as actor. This multimedia power tour tells the story of Vincent whose birthday is on February 29 and how he struggles to find his own identity.

- Award winning director and actress Nicola Hanekom's debut drama Trippie takes the audience on a thriller bus tour through the beautiful Karoo. Jaco Bouwer is the director and Nicola Hanekom and Stian Bam are role players. This production is done in collaboration with the US Woordfees.

On the menu of new music productions, to name a few, are Hennie van Greunen's checkityt@route62 with Pedro Kruger as director. This piece is similar to Gly 2011 where new talent is introduced to the audience whilst singing, dancing and rapping to the rhythm of hip-hop. Dorothy / 60 jaar pays tribute to the formidable Dorothy Masuka and the imprint she left on the musical heritage of South Africa in the past 60 years. Laurika Rauch, Karen Zoid, Zolani Mahola en die Africa Voices choir will join her on stage. Christiaan Olwagen's Droom tells a story of night clubs, being in love and how quickly things can spiral out of control. Elana Afrika stars in one of these roles.

Highlights of the new word art productions include Hardop, Karoo - My Hartland and My Mense.

Poets such as Danie Marais, Toast Coetzer and Ronelda Kamfer will read some of their poetry in Hardop. The beauty of the Karoo, her people and their stories is the focus of Niƫl Rademan's Karoo-My hartland. Antoinette Kellerman will be seen on stage in My Mense. It's from the pen of Dot Serfontein, who will be honoured at the annual Kanna-awards this year for her lifelong contribution to Afrikaans.

The festival will take place from March 29 to April 6 in Oudtshoorn. Tickets are available from Computicket or visit for the full festival programme. Accommodation is available at or through the accommodation office at 044 203 8600.