Seven years ago I sat in the Wits Theatre and watched the most amazing performance from India as part of the Arts Alive programme. It was the start of the Shared History: The Indian Experience Festival. Since then this annual addition to the Arts Alive Festival has always been one of the highlights for me. I love watching traditional Indian dance, hearing traditional Indian music, seeing theatre which is very different from most of the theatre pieces to which I am exposed in South Africa. It is a time of cultural growth.
Budgetary constraints mean that this festival is bigger some years than others. This year the small number of programmes bear witness to the tough time funders are experiencing, but still the organisers have managed to put together a programme to entertain, educate and amuse.
The Sufi Gospel Project will be performing at Jazz on the Lake, Suncoast CineCentre (Durban), the Eldos Jazz Festival and at Wits Theatre. Violin Virtuoso L Subramaniam who was here last year is back and performing at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban as well as in a jazz concert with Hugh Masekela and Egberto Amin Gismonti on the Mary Fitzgerald Square. Hamlet: The Clown Prince (Theatre) and Dwitayam by Gayatri Sriram (Dance) will both be seen at Wits Theatre. Footprints of a Dancer is a South African Indian production at The Lyric Theatre.
I will be attending four of these programmes: Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project, Hamlet: The Clown Prince, Dwitayam and Footprints of a Dancer.