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Tuesday, August 22, 2017


(Chuma Sopotela in “Karoo Moose”)

Booking is now open for KZN’s premier arts festival: the 25th annual Hilton Arts Festival will once again be hosted in the picturesque Hilton College from September 15 to 17, 2017.

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.

Among the productions making their way to KZN are Hedwig and the Angry Inch (a scoop from Cape Town) starring Paul du Toit and Genna Galloway. Also not to be missed are the Lara Foot-directed Baxter productions, Karoo Moose and The Inconvenience of Wings, both of which are multi award winning productions. These three productions represent three different genres and are a prime example of what the festival strives to achieve as the leading arts event in KZN.

Comedy lovers will not be disappointed by Mamba Republic; three different stand-up shows headlined by John Vlismas, and the irrepressible 2017 version of Raiders – a show that has been a number one hit in Grahamstown for nearly 30 years.

Music lovers are well catered for as well. There are serious concerts in the Chapel; a tribute to the great wartime star, Vera Lynn – A Nightingale Sang; music revues; Ian von Memerty’s Keyboard Killers and a tribute to Paul Simon.

Smaller, more experimental theatre, will be represented by a collective of managements and will include actors James Cairns, Tarryn Bennett, work by Jenine Collocot, Tara Notcutt and Peter Mitchell. Their work includes The Old Man and The Sea (by the makers of The Snow Goose), The Devil and Billy Markham, Making Mandela, After Dark and The Blue Period of Milton van der Spuy.

There is a carefully curated range of art exhibitions this year: a showcase of the work of legendary Italian film director and screenwriter, Federico Fellini; the Living Art Exhibition hosted by Grant Woods and Tony Durrheim; A Life Less Ordinary – images of Nelson Mandela by Matthew Willman, and the International Photo Exhibition.

The Hilton Festival will offer a range of dining options for festival goers again this year – from fabulous Steam Punk coffee, to unhurried Bistro dining to gentle music (to be managed this year by Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, based in Hilton); to the lively Castle Lite SAB Beer tent with a myriad food stall options and a music stage, to interesting healthy vegetarian fare.

There are two mini festivals embedded in the main programme: The Jongosi Festival takes place on September 15, and has a specifically, carefully-selected age-appropriate programme aimed at Grades 6 to 10 and Assetej hosts a programme of theatre for young audiences.

The whole programme is available as a PDF on

Booking is open on line via the website; also during office hours at the Hilton College Theatre box office.