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Monday, July 21, 2014


When planning to attend the South African Women's Arts Festival in Durban over August, prepare for a veritable feast of some of the finest drama, dance, music and entertainment KwaZulu-Natal has to offer. Regarded as one of the major highlights on The Playhouse Company's annual calendar, the festival runs from August 22 to 31 and this year's programme boasts items that cater for a wide variety of tastes for all members of the family.

It comprises a mouth-watering mix of stage productions, dance dramas, a poetry slam, musical entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitions and children's theatre - all of which will focus on the role of women in South Africa and the impact women make in the new democracy. There are also several opportunities to initiate dialogue and debates among fellow South Africans about critical issues that affect our daily lives.

Shades written by Sharman Macdonald and directed by Ralph Lawson, tells the story of Pearl, a young widow who bitterly resents her husband for dying and leaving her with the prospect of a lonely old age and her mother who was unable to provide her with the affection she craved as a child. Shades features the ever-popular Lisa Bobbert as Pearl. The production runs from August 22 to 31.

Music lovers around the province must look forward to a memorable Gala Concert. This promises to be a spectacular, not-to-be-missed event that will feature some of the country's finest musical talents; Internationally-renowned and multi award winning group Mafikizolo, SAMA Best Newcomer Naima Kay and many more. Known for his exceptional work, Somizi Mhlongo will direct this memorable evening which will be on August 27 in The Opera Theatre. Tickets range from R150 to R250.

For dance enthusiasts, there's a special surprise in store - From Then 'Til Now which is Mark Hawkins’ presentation to commemorate the two decades of South Africa's historic democracy - a work that honours, celebrates and pays respect to the many people and issues that have helped mould South Africa into the country it is today. Tickets range from R80 – R100.

Pencil in the date, August 23 – that is when Isolezwe's Intandokazi Club holds its popular seminar at the Playhouse Grand Foyer. The Club was launched by the newspaper 12 years ago to interact with, empower and educate women readers and improve the quality of their lives. The seminar a lively responsive audience and includes tea/coffee, a full lunch, a "goodie bag", lucky draws and presentations. This Club covers issues of finance, business, health, fashion, make-up, relationships as well as a cooking demonstration. The seminar runs from 09h00 to 14h00 and attendance is limited at R200 per person. 

The Playhouse will also host its annual Intergenerational Women’s Dialogue which creates a platform for women and men, young and old, to converse around issues pertaining Women in 20 Years of Democracy. This is scheduled to take place on July 27 at 14h00.

Aspiring poets from KwaZulu-Natal get the opportunity to show their talents on August 26 when the Playhouse Company hosts a Poetry Slam and Open Mic session curated by Thuli Zuma who is a well-known slam poet. This is a great opportunity for artists to share their stories through the art of poetry, covering contemporary issues like love, relationships, violence, HIV and peer pressure. This opportunity is for storytellers, authors and poets to share the stage, render contributions and celebrate women from all walks of life. There will also be musical performances by soulful Khanyo Maphumulo and Nu Savoy.

If it is light music and relaxation you're looking for, then don't miss Sundowners on August 22 and 29 in The Playhouse Main Foyer. Keeping you entertained on August 22 will be two all-women groups, Heels over Head and Susan Barry. On August 29, the evergreen Natalie Rungan will grace the stage.

The Arts and Craft exhibition is a permanent feature of the festival and will be held daily at The Playhouse main foyer from August 22 to 31. All are welcome to browse through the wide selection of items on sale to the public from Curio Africa. This part of the festival is a fascinating exhibition installed by Nolan Oswald Dennis which celebrate the anniversary of South Africa’s nascent democracy and Women.

 he Playhouse Company has also catered for the young ones and will host a fun-filled Children's Theatre Fun Day on August 23 from 10h00 until 12h00 to entertain children between the ages of 6 to 12 years. A jam-packed movement workshop will help them find their boogie where there will be drumming, face painting and loads of entertainment to keep them occupied. Tickets R50 per child and space is limited, so early booking is essential.

Beyond the Big Bangs is also a new comedy drama by award-winning playwright, Ashwin Singh which will be staged in the Playhouse Loft Theatre. It's a unique play about three women – an African, an Indian and a coloured - all of whom either live or work in Durban North. The production explores their connections and the challenges of their complex lives through a combination of funny and poignant monologues and conversations. It features acclaimed performers Shona Johnson, Derosha Moodley and Annalisa Gxaba and runs between August 20 and 23. Tickets R70 (with concessions for pensioners).

There's never a dull moment at the South African Women's Arts Festival and among the many other features at this 8-day extravaganza are the launch of Precious Mvulane's new book The Essential Financial Handbook in the Playhouse Drama foyer, a workshop in the performing arts, an open day for various government departments and an Intergenerational dialogue session.

Block bookings are available and preferential rates are also applicable to bookings of ten or more people.

For more information or to make a block booking, contact the Women’s Festival hotline on 031 369 9456 or email

Single ticket bookings for all SAWAF productions are available via the Playhouse Company website, or through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at or call the Playhouse box office on 031 369 9540 / 031 369 9596 (office hours).