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Sunday, August 2, 2015


(A scene from “Fishers of Hope”- pic by Oscar O’Ryan)

August is Women's Month and there's no better way to honour the struggles, sacrifices and successes of women than at the Playhouse. Feast on the fine drama, dance, dialogue, music and entertainment on offer at the annual Playhouse Company’s SA Women's Festival (SAWAF) in Durban.

This year's festival takes on added significance as 2015 has been named the African Union's year on women empowerment and The Playhouse Company is proud to be playing its own critical role in the whole campaign.

Playhouse CEO and Artistic Director, Linda Bukhosini says she is excited about the eclectic mix at SAWAF this year: "Audiences will be inspired and entertained by a host of powerful, award-winning stage productions, some of which have enjoyed critical and phenomenal acclaim both here and abroad. Add to this mix a mouth-watering programme of dance dramas, a gala concert featuring some of the biggest names in the music business, slam poetry, musical entertainment, a children's theatre day, panel discussions, and you have a festival that caters for a wide variety of tastes and all members of the family. The festival will focus very sharply and purposefully on the issues that impact on the advancement and empowerment of women, and the role women continue to play in our new democracy."

The festival runs from August 14 to 22 at the Playhouse:

Men Standing Against Violence on Women (August 14 at 14h00 in the Alhambra Room). In an effort to curb the high rates of violence against women, and thereby promote gender equity, this year SAWAF will also include a workshop promoting this very cause. It will include a panel discussion of key male figures within the Gender Based Violence sector. The members of the audience will also largely be male participants as the idea is to have men talk to other men about this issue with the hope of them ultimately committing to take action as a collective against violence on women. The workshop will be facilitated by DramAide using the Brothers for Life campaign.

Open Mic and Slam Poetry/Sundowner Concert (August 14 in the Playhouse Grand Foyer): An Open Mic and Slam Poetry session at 17h00 with Thuli Zuma and Bongani Mavuso where poets will be given an opportunity to share their stories through the art of poetry, covering a wide range of contemporary issues. This will be followed by a Sundowner Concert with Khanyo Maphumulo from 18h00.

Fishers of Hope (August 14-16, Playhouse Drama): a relatively new South African play by multi-award winning writer/director, Lara Foot who explores the meaning of hope in the African continent. It received such rave reviews in the media when performed in Cape Town that one critic hailed it as a production "that sets a precedent to local theatre which will be hard to match". This is traditional African story-telling at its best, mixed with dance, music and video projections.

Gala Concert (August 15 at 19h00, Playhouse Opera): A special treat is in store for music lovers who attend the Gala Concert which features a predominantly women orchestra with a full female choir, Maskandi and Umbaqanga. The line-up includes some of the country's finest musical talent, including Thandiswa Mazwai, Mahotella Queens, Sally Silver, Xolisa Dlamini, Vumile Mngoma and Khanyo Maphumulo.

Intergenerational Dialogue (August 15 at 12h00, Playhouse Grand Foyer): SAWAF festival also provides several opportunities like this event with Leeanda Reddy, Llianne Loots, Estelle Sinkins and Lebo Mashile as the facilitator. The dialogue will deliberate on the topic glamorizing the performing arts - the responsibility of artists versus the celebrity fad and why sexual violence and violence against women and girls are so prevalent on stage television and Movies?

Santa's Story (August 15-16, Playhouse Loft): a production that comes straight from a highly successful run in New York, where the play featured in the First International Folksbiene Yiddish Festival in June. It's a moving, one woman show depicting Santa Pelham's journey of courage, inspiration and hope. It is a story enacted by her daughter, award-winning singer Aviva Pelham who has distinguished herself in several starring roles in opera, operetta, musicals and concerts both locally as well as in London, Paris and Israel.

A Woman in Waiting (August 21-22, Playhouse Loft): Written by Thembi Mtshali, this is a powerful biographical journey into the dark heart of what life was like for women in apartheid South Africa. It uses visual imagery, song, chanting and evocative action to relate an emotive and compelling story that is so much a part of the fabric of South African history. The show is directed by Yaël Farber.

Parenting Workshop (August 22 at 10h00, Playhouse Grand Foyer): Among the speakers will be Zama Mabaso, Director of Family and Marriage South Africa (FAMS); Paddy Kearney; Hlengiwe Mgabadeli and Cookie Edwards.

If The World Was Listening (August 22 at 19h00, Playhouse Drama): The Playhouse Dance Residency will perform their award-winning periodic styled piece which presents a story gallery of life journeys of adversity and the discovery of links in human connection. Based on the personal stories of the company, choreographer Sandile Mkhize finds subtle links between each visualized narration, giving voice to caged truths.

Theatre Day for Children (August 22 from 10h00 in Rooms 410/503) This event for the young ones boasts loads of entertainment to keep them occupied with activities like drumming, mask-making, face painting and dancing.

High Tea For All Women In The Arts (August 22 at 16h30, Playhouse Alhambra Room): Another event not to be missed with the Playhouse CEO and Artistic Director Linda Bukhosini as the facilitator and Michelle Constant the CEO from Business Arts South Africa as the keynote speaker.

For more information about this festival visit or Facebook at The Festival hotline number is 031 369 9456. All bookings are through Computicket or through the Playhouse box office on 031-3699540/ 9596. Special discounted parking is available for all Playhouse patrons at the Albany/ Royal Hotel parking.