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WOMENíS ARTS FESTIVAL (article first published : 2000-07-20)

The South African Womenís Arts Festival 2000 to take place in Durban from August 9 to 12 will be presented by the Playhouse Company and sponsored by Transnet. Over the four days of the festival, the Playhouse complex will host 20 performances, a conference, and an art exhibition as well as craft displays. There is a well chosen variety of productions to suit all tastes and several performances are free.

Titled New Directions, the conference on August 9 provides a platform for discussion and debate. Focusing on new directions for women in the arts and society, guest speakers will include Khaba Mkize (director of the SABCís national community development division); outspoken human rights activist Linda Zama; director, theatre academic and actress Tamar Meskin, and the first lady of Gauteng, Wendy Luhabe.

Getting the festival off to a good start will be the glorious voices of Gloria Bosman, Thandiswa Mazwai and Busi Mhlongo appearing on stage together for the first time in the Gala Concert on August 9 at 19h30 with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic and an eight-member band.

Another music programme is An Evening of Song showcasing the talents of singers Melanie Roberts and Pinkie Mtshali in Desperately Seeking Prince Charming accompanied by Philipp Maier.

The festival dance programme includes all styles from indlamu and kwaito to pantsula and kathak as well as contemporary dance and physical theatre. The programme features works by Smeetha Maharaj, Tiki Nxumalo, Tina Le Roux, Pearl Ndaba, Claire Bezuidenhout, Marise Kyd and Lliane Loots.

Itís drama times two with three programmes of double bills. Programme A features Time of the Signs (Shireen James) with Boxers and Bikinis (Sarahleigh Castelyn and Caroline Duck). Programme B sees Head On (Lydia von Hagen) appear alongside Diva (Gail Snyman). Programme Cís content is Masquerade of Mannequins (Sherona Panday) and Women of Africa (Congo Hadebe).

Cosí Cosu, Nathi Kuneneís delightful piece of childrenís theatre already has one sold-out performance. An Evening of Poetry offers prose poetry and performance art from Gitanjali Pather, Catherine M Kaseketi, Gisele Turner and Portia Gumede.

In the Alhambra Room, Identity Unveiled is the title of a collection of multimedia visual art works from Durban-based artists co-ordinated by Pascal Chandler. Featuring artists Monique Ballam-Smith, Bongi Dube, Louise Harcourt, Gabisile Nkosi, Rani Pillay and Wendy Lovell Green, it will be opened on August 9 at 18h30.

The exhibition will be on view to the public from 09h00 to 16h00 and for an hour before the first evening show. The arts and crafts displays in the foyers will be open during the same times. These are presented by Zakhele Hand Creations, a group of rural women based in Port Shepstone and the Simunye beadwork group from Bothaís Hill and Inanda.

Donít rush home after the shows on certain nights because thereíll be quality late night jazz in the opera bar with Lucia Mthiyane and the Brian Thusi Jazz Ensemble (Wednesday), Connie Miya and the Fasimba Band (Friday) and Xolisa Gqoli and Jiqa Jazz Band (Saturday).

Tickets are available at TicketWeb outlets nationwide, including Engen Quick Shops, Intel, Mr Delivery and most Edgars Stores. Bookings can also be made online at www.ticketweb.co.za or by calling Dial-A-Seat on (031) 369-9444. For discounted block bookings on selected shows phone Mala Govender on (031) 369-9497.

Detailed programmes at TicketWeb outlets or the Playhouse Complex provide a complete guide to times, events and ticket prices as well as information on where to park, where to stay and where to eat. More details from (031) 369-9444.




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