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Saturday, August 22, 2015


(Ralph Lawson plays Alan Paton in “A Voice I Cannot Silence”)

Booking has opened for KZN’s premier arts festival: the 23nd annual Hilton Arts Festival which will be hosted in the picturesque Hilton College from September 18 to 20, 2015.

The programme line-up is now available online. The full bumper programme with detailed information on all festival shows, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, events and concerts will be available as an insert into the Independent on Saturday on August 22.

“The focus is on freshening the face of the Festival and beginning to secure another excellent programme, all with a view to ensuring that our loyal patrons can expect a characteristically entertaining event,” said Iain McMillan, festival chairman.

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; music as well as a series of mind-scape lectures, workshops 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. There is also the Music Revival music programme series of fine music under the direction of Christopher Duigan.

Another highlight is a concert with top contemporary SA folk rock band, Watershed, featuring Craig Hinds.

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

There are two Flagship productions this year: Blue / Orange by British playwright Joe Penhall and directed by Clare Stopford. This award-winning psychological three-hander thriller brings psychiatric theory and practice under scrutiny. It stars Andrew Buckland, Nicholas Pauling and Marty Kintu. Presented by The Baxter Theatre, it was first presented at the Royal National Theatre in April 2000.

The second is A Voice I Cannot Silence, a play based on the life and work of Alan Paton by Greg Homann and Ralph Lawson (who plays Paton). Presented by ATSA in association with the National Arts Festival and the South African State Theatre, it combines Paton’s internationally-recognised gifts for lyric verse, evocative prose, and vibrant story-telling to create a richly dramatic portrait of the iconic author during the dark decades leading up to South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

Some other drama highlights are Neil Coppen’s brilliant African adaptation of George Orwell’s allegorical novel, Animal Farm; Magnet Theatre’s I Turned Away and She Was Gone ... Jennie Reznek in her first solo show in two decades in a poetic reworking of the Persephone story; Siembaba which looks at a South African phenomenon we often take for granted – the relationship between a black domestic worker and the white children she helps to raise written by Philip Rademeyer and Penelope Youngleson; A Man and a Dog featuring Fleur du Cap nominated Nhlanhla Mhkwanazi and directed by 2014 Fleur du Cap winner, Penelope Youngleson, this is a coming-of-age story of a young Zulu boy’s search for the parents he never knew, and how he found himself on the long journey back to his home; Nik Rabinowitz in his one-man comedy, What the EFF; and Craig Morris performs Greig Coetzee’s classic brooding one hander. Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny, featuring original music by the late Syd Kitchen; Darren King and Antony Stonier in The Art of Being Ugly and a bouquet of productions and workshops from festival stalwarts, the Actors Unemployed.

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 17 for Primary Schools and September 18 for High Schools.

For more information visit or like the Facebook page, Hilton Arts Festival. Follow on Twitter @HiltonFest or download the free App Hilton Arts Festival for both Android and iPhone.