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Wednesday, September 2, 2020


This is the time of year when people are normally planning their trip to the Hilton Arts Festival, what to see, where to stay and how to cope with the unreliable weather. This year, the challenges are different! September 11 to 13, 2020, would have been the 28th Hilton Arts Festival weekend, but this is not to be.

However, from September 11 there will be a selection of arts related events and shows to watch on the festival website at

Some are free, others are ticketed. It is important to note that the ticketed shows generate income for the individual productions, not for the Festival. The site will remain up for as long as there is the interest from the public. Not just a festival weekend this year!

(Left: Marco Cianfenelli, the sculptor who created the structure at the Mandela Capture Site)

The management team has put together a Celebration of the Arts for you to watch from the comfort of your own home. So…. here’s what is available

This year the challenges are different!  There will be several aspects to this celebration. Keep your eye on the media and social media for teasers, info, trailers and options. From 11 September (not before!) all you need to do is log onto and decide what tickles your fancy. 

If visual art is your thing you will be able to shop (or just browse) @Artify – a new ecommerce art gallery for your delectation.  You will also be able to tour the boardrooms of Absa to get a peep at the African Art Collection housed there or watch a workshop with Marco Cianfenelli, the sculptor who created the magnificent structure at the Mandela Capture Site. All free to the viewer thanks to Absa.

(Right: Samantha Peo chairs a panel discussion)

Are you wondering about a post Covid world where nothing is as it was. How will you create a new life? Tune into a dynamic panel discussion:   Creativity - Future Proof your Existence. Chaired by the glamorous Samantha Peo, the cutting edge panellists will be Ismail Mahomed, Neil Coppen, Kanchana Moodliar and Keke Chele. Again, free to the viewer, thanks to Absa.

The Hilton Arts Festival Flagship production is Jigsaw, presented by Small Creatures.

Simon has something growing in his head. Paul has lost someone. Filled with humour, pathos and a good dose of male oneupmanship, Jigsaw is a reunion of two once-close friends as they attempt to reconnect, assemble pieces of their lives, and unpack thermodynamics. Created from a desire to explore live storytelling in a two-dimensional, distanced space, Jigsaw is told through animation, film and an online meeting platform. With the performers interacting across different continents, Jigsaw was first performed, streamed and viewed live at The Virtual National Arts Festival 2020, who also co-presented the production, and recently at The Currents New Media Festival in New Mexico, USA. The screening for The Hilton Festival is taken from a recording of the latest live performance at Currents which also streamed to audiences in LA and New York on August 23rd 2020. It stars James Cunningham and Iain “Ewok” Robinson, directed by Sylvaine Strike.

(Left: Fiona Ramsay)

Fiona Ramsay and Graham Hopkins present Green Screen. This is a vignette:  two actors, a married couple in late middle-age, are filming a TV commercial for a Retirement Estate. On the surface, Sandra and James are the archetypal retirees, who have lived a thoroughly respectable and unexceptional life. But are they? Starring Fiona Ramsay and Graham Hopkins, and directed by Bobby Heaney, this piece has been created to  celebrate the arts with the  Hilton Arts Festival.  And again, free thanks to Absa.

(Right: Pieter-Dirk Uys)

Are you missing watching drama, comedy, music and all things festival?  Never fear…. There is a selection of work for you to choose from. Thanks to the National Arts Festival you can select from 21 works, with something to suit all tastes. All 21 are individually ticketed.

South African national treasure Pieter-Dirk Uys presents Unmasking Evita and Pieter-Dirk Uys Says Hello Darling.  Showman Ian von Memerty presents Prince of the Piano. Alan Committie presents No Contact Comedy and Streaming with Laughter.  All these shows are individually ticketed.

Jomba is the annual celebration of dance staged by the Centre for Creative Arts in Durban. You can watch this year’s offerings - free!

Should you wish to make a donation to the Hilton Arts Festival in order to ensure the future of the arts in KZN, please be generous. Details will be on the website from 11 September.

To follow the build up to this Celebration of the Arts, keep an eye on the papers and follow the Hilton Arts Festival on FB, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to log into from September 11.

With grateful thanks to our host sponsor, Hilton College, and Absa South Africa.