national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


(Emily Child & Janna Ramos-Violante in “Contractions”)

KZN’s premier arts festival:  the 24th annual Hilton Arts Festival will once again be hosted in the picturesque Hilton College from September 16 to 18, 2016.

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 revue; band-music; visual art and crafts, as well as a series of mind-scape lectures, events and discussions.

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

There are two flagship productions this year: The Grindrod Bank Flagship production is Blonde Poison: written by South African playwright Gail Louw which reunites brilliant actress Fiona Ramsay and director Janna Ramos-Violante in a play about beauty, treachery and the high price of survival.

The Independent Newspapers Flagship Production is the timeless classic, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, dubbed by the New York Times as “A joyous hymn to human nature” produced and expertly lit by Mannie Manim, directed by John Kani and starring Mncedisi Shabangu and Atwanda Kani.

Other dramas to look out for are:

Dallae Story: a non-verbal performance from Korea involving puppets, theatrical movement, traditional dance and music, shadow theatre and projection.
Pay Back the Curry: Rob van Vuuren directs multi-talented Daniel Richards in a new Mike van Graan wry comedy which unpacks a myriad topical themes.
Contractions: Janna Ramos-Violante and Emily Child star in this sharp, wily and resolutely-potent dark-comedy.
Dead Yellow Sands is a return to minimalism: an actor lit with sophisticatedly simple lighting speaking the stories he has lived. Written and performed by Graham Weir, direction is by Bo Petersen and lighting design by Darron Araujo.
Sillage is a disquieting story of domesticity between a mother and daughter packing up their family home.
The Graveyard is a series of musings, scenes, flashbacks, and interactions, a man’s past and family life are uncovered.

Other interesting features of this year’s festival include satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys who brings his brilliant one-man memoir Echo of a Noise to the festival, and there is a screening of the documentary about his life: Nobody’s Died Laughing followed by a Q&A.

Jemma Kahn brings two productions for grown-ups, both in the Japanese story telling Kamishibai style: We Didn’t come to Hell for the Croissants and In Bocca al Lupo; Pietermaritzburg actors TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande will both be in three productions, and Rob van Vuuren performs in a comedy, a family show and directs the Mike van Graan comedy.

There are three mini festivals embedded in the main programme: the Jongosi schools programme taking place for one day only: September 16 for both senior primary and high school learners; Christopher Duigan’s Music Revival series hosts a comprehensive concert programme in the school chapel with an underlying Beethoven motif throughout the festival weekend; and Assetej hosts a programme of theatre for young audiences.

For lovers of orchestral music: the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra will present two concerts – both conducted by maestro Richard Cock: Frank Sinatra and Friends featuring soloist Nic Nicolaidis; and in chapel, members of the KZN Phil will perform the charming Peter and Wolf and other music for children under the age of 95. Richard Cock will also present a very entertaining and anecdote-filled presentation, Conduct Unbecoming, as part of the lecture series. The Pietermaritzburg City Orchestra will perform al-fresco in a programme of several well-known classical pieces.

The festival will take place in the grounds of the Hilton College from September 16 to 18, 2016.

The festival would not be possible without: Hilton College; Independent Newspapers; Grindrod Bank; Black Coffee; PWC; DWR; Assetej; KZN Dept. of Arts & Culture; SAB Castle Lite; Bidvest Car Rental; Zultrans; Marriott (for Music Revival); BASA; Loud Crowd; Indwe Risk Management and SAPPI.

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 IOS.

All enquiries on 033 383 0126 / 7 or Booking enquiries to