The National Arts Festival is held in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, every year.
Wits University brings some (21) of the works from the National Arts Festival 969 kilometres away up to the City of Gold where local audiences can see them over a period of two weeks.
These are usually all excellent performances, and well worth the low ticket prices (R75 online and R80 at box office with discounts for pensioners, students and Wits staff). There is a wide selection of works, sure to interest just about everyone. Follow the news from the National Arts Festival to see which of these gets rave reviews (many will).
To book for any of these works please book on http://www.webtickets.co.za (you can pay at any Pick n Pay) or from Wits Theatre Box Office on 011 717 1381.
Pay Back the Curry! is a comedy written by Mike van Graan, directed by Rob van Vuuren and performed by Daniel Richards. There is an age restriction of 16+ and the work is 70 minutes long. It is produced by Siv Ngesi.
Immortal is one of the productions I am MOST looking forward to. Written by Peter Terry, directed by Chris Weare, performed by Jenna Dunster, with costumes and set by Andrew Botha and lighting by Kieron Mcgregor, this is almost sure to be a winner. It deals with the disaster of 1911 when the train between Port Alfred and Grahamstown plunged into the Blaauwkrantz River. One of the few survivors was a seven year old girl, Hazel Smith. This is the story as she experienced it.
Apple is another story of a young child, S’foniso, dealing with the aftermath of a personal disaster in which his father kills his mother then commits suicide. Written and performed by Sifiso Zimba and directed by the incredibly talented Omphile Molusi, this should be fascinating.
Prince Lamla is a past holder of the Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre title. To4rm looks at the harrowing stories of four young South Africans. Directed by Prince Lamla, performed by Christmas Mokone, Sphilile Khumalo, Sandile Mkhize, Sabelo Ndumo.
Masechaba the Poetess is a play combined with poetry and music. Written and directed by Goitsemang Pholo, with Lebo Leisa, Thembisile Nogwana, Napo Nonyone, Styx Mokejane as performers and Lucia Zacharia doing design.
Just Antigone is directed by Mahlotsi Mokgonyana together with Billy Langa and adapted from the Sophocles work by the company, this work features performers Nyakallo Motloung, Jovan Muthray, Mlindeli Zondi, Campbell Meas, Star Tladi, Sonelisiwe Jobodwana, Binnie Christie. This is one of those “must see” works.
Unveiled is written by Rohina Malik and performed by Gulshan Mia. Directed by Way Mougans it looks at Islamaphobia in the wake of 9/11. Sets and costumes are by Peri Grobin Leong, with lighting by Paul Bartlett, video and sound by Don Henry Bohler. It is produced by Charles C Bales and supported by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.
Feathers is presented by the Moving Into Dance Mophateng contemporary dance company and there is only one peformance of the four short works that make up this programme. This is on Thursday, 21 July at 20:30. Also on the dance programme is KZN Dance Productions with … If the World was listening. This is also only for one performance on Saturday 16 July at 15:15.
Hearts Hotel is a creative collaboration masterminded by Khutjo Bokunzi-Green, directed by James Cunningham with assistance of Binnie Christie. It stars Toni Morkel, Liezl de Kock and Christelle van Graan. It features shadow puppetry and physical theatre. It deals with a mother/daughter relationship.
Brent – A Mobile Thriller is something completely different – directed, designed and conceptualised by Quintin Wils and starring Vianney Henry Farmer and Herman Vorster. Get ready to be taken for a ride.
Amsterdam is a true story, written and performed by Chanje Kunda, directd by Juliet Ellis. Roger Robinson is the dramaturg (always good to have one of these), while Dan Steele is responsibile for music and sound designe, Darren Pritchard for choreography, Angela de Castro for the physical theatre. The producer is Afrique Performs and the project mentor is Michaela Waldram-Jones.
Ingrid is a tribute to Ingrid Jonker. It stars Maude Sondham, Megan van Wyk and Nina Erasmus. It is directed by Ester van der Walt.
Blue is directed by Simona Mozza and performed by Zintle Tyson Ngubeni, Luthando Jamda, and devised by the cast with Zono Mthembu.
Secret Ballot is a “political satire farce” written and directed by Jefferson Tshabalala, and performed by Zabalaza Mchunu, Tony Miyambo, Lereko Rex Mfono, Michael Mazibuko, Tsietsi Morabi.
Chapter 2 Section 9 deals with gender equality and hate crimes. Devised and directed by Phyllis Klotz, with set and costumes by Sarah Roberts, lighting by Stan Knight, this is sure to be excellent. Music composed by Isaac Molelekoa and starring Ayanda Sibisi, Ayanda Foli, Tsholofelo Ross and Khanyisa Nonase. Every LGBTIQ should make a plan to see this. Oh, and more particularly, every straight person should make a plan to see this.
B!*ch Stole my Doek pokes fun at two woman warring over a missing item of laundry. Written and directed by Clinton Marius and performed by Shona Johnson.
Sweetie Darling is another piece by Clinton Marius, this time performed by Bongani Mbatha. It is about the efforts of a man in love to secure the love of his life.
Burn is a dance piece which explores the relationship between Earth and Man. It is directed by Bailey Snyman and performed by Daniel Geddes and Mark Tatham. The original music score is by Daniel Geddes.
The description of The Village makes it seem irrestible. It is a comedy ensemble with a boring village, a band of pirates and it is based on a short story “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Directed by Sarah Nansubuga, it features Grace Barnes, Noma Thamsonap Mlolazi, Tanno Rahme, Dimakotso Matholo, Rachael Mokatile and is lit by Hlomohang Spider Mothetho.
Last, but not least, is a chamber music concert by The Wits Trio (Malcolm Nay on piano, Zanta Hofmeyr on violin and Maciej Lacny on cello). This concert is also a one off and takes place on Sunday 24 July at 15:00.