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Saturday, August 23, 2014


(Judy Ditchfield & Jose Domingos in “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks”)

KZN’s premier arts festival, the 22nd annual Witness Hilton Arts Festival, will take place at Hilton College in the KZN Midlands from September 18 to 21, 2014. It boasts a magnificent array of the country’s foremost performing and visual-arts in a well-appointed festival atmosphere.

The festival invites the crème-de-la-crème of what is hot and happening in the creative industries in South Africa: theatre; dance; comedy; musical theatre; family theatre; classical music; music as well as a series of mind-scape lectures and discussions. There is a special emphasis on visual arts this year with extended exhibition space and elevated focus being given to crafters and art makers.

The four-day festival caters for everyone, young and old – including a huge market, book stalls and great food!

There is a bumper Jongosi schools arts festival embedded in the main festival, for high schools and primary schools to have a tailor-made package ahead of the main event, which takes place over two days: September 18 for Primary Schools and September 19 for High Schools.

The theatre line-up is extensive and exciting again this year – with the festival team securing the most praiseworthy productions from around the country. Full details will be available shortly on the Hilton website.

The Flagship Production this year is Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks – Richard Alfieri’s poignant and touching human comedy about two lives who come together through dance. Directed by the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, Greg Homann, it features Judy Ditchfield and Jose Domingos.

Tim Plewman presents two productions: The Last Moustache starring the last remaining Hitler double, Hiener Schmidt, a hapless (once famous … sort of) actor forced at gunpoint to become the Nazi Fuhrer; and Designer Genes XXL – Plewman’s designer comedy which carries the gender debate further than his famous Defending the Caveman did.

Highlights from the PANSA Musho! Festival have a strong presence at Hilton this year. The charming and original musical comedy revue, Dear Breeder, directed by Ewok Robinson, is written and performed by Karen Logan and Kasia Vosloo; Giving Birth to my Father is written and directed by Wiseman Mncube featuring Lihle Dhlomo in a career-defining role as a woman who finds herself on the brink of freedom after eighteen years behind bars for the murder of her father. Daniel Buckland performs in The God Complex – a one-hander using comedy and visual theatre which showcases his brilliant physical prowess. The Shoe Man won the 2014 Musho! Audience Award, it is an audience-pleasing, beautifully-crafted; gentle and funny life affirming one-hander by Samson Mlambo and performed by Mapansela Reginald Hoffman.

Other highlights include the multi award winning Civil Parting by Nicholas Spagnoletti who wrote the mammoth hit London Road - a savagely funny comedy-drama about divorce; Oedipus @ Koö-Nú! A comic-tragedy by Greg Homann which fuses comedy, satire and tragedy, featuring David Dennis, and The Snow Goose, Paul Gallico's classic novella of love and courage, rejection, prejudice and redemption featuring James Cairns and Tarryn Bennett. Undermind tells the true tale of Madlebe, an ordinary man with an extraordinary gift, a story of hope, perseverance, and an unexpected hero. Directed by Tara Notcutt. Tobacco and the Harmful Effects Thereof – which sold out in Grahamstown this year - is a long overdue collaboration between two of the country’s foremost theatre-makers, Sylvaine Strike and Andrew Buckland, with a haunting guest appearance by Toni Morkel.

From closer to home: Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild, stars Lisa Bobbert and Darren King, as the zany people who could not be more different from each other than a can of tuna and the Vatican; The Ranga is a new one-man comedy written and performed by Aaron McIlroy and directed by Steven Stead, with Andy Turrell on musical accompaniment which is a tongue and cheek look at prejudice as seen through the eyes of a man tormented with pigmentation issues and The Replacements - written and directed by John van de Ruit, featuring Lisa Bobbert, Anthony Stonier and Evan Roberts as a politically incorrect piano-comedy trio who endeavour to perform the show of their lives, unite the world and save South Africa’s reputation in the eyes of the world.

Booking is now open and the full programme can be found on or like the Facebook page ~ Witness Hilton Arts Festival or follow the festival on Twitter ~ @HiltonFest.

The festival would not be possible without: The Witness / Media 24; Hilton College; Grindrod Bank; Black Coffee; SPAR; TOPs; KZN Dept. of Arts & Culture; Grolsch; Budget Car Hire; Zultrans; Marriott; Stayeasy; Fern Hill Hotel; BASA; Park Lane SuperSPAR; Lindi Drummond & Tony Thoms / LTJ Travel; Rod & Rosemary Draper; Tysons; RMB; Loud Crowd; and SAPPI.

The festival supports three worthwhile charitable projects and encourages all patrons and stakeholders to do the same: Acting for Rhinos - aimed at empowering school children as and the theatre community to assist Project Rhino KZN; The Lunch Box Fund - an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing a daily meal for orphaned and vulnerable school children in townships and rural areas of South Africa and The Jes Foord Foundation Handbag Project which invites caring people to provide essential hygiene and comfort items to rape survivors. Visit

All enquiries on 033 383 0126/7 or