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NATAL WITNESS HILTON ARTS FESTIVAL (article first published : 2003-08-25)

As has become tradition, the annual Natal Witness Hilton Arts Festival to be held on September 19, 20 and 21 always promises a line-up of impressive drama, dance, comedy, music and cabaret in a programme packed with some of the most highly sought-after theatre productions in the country. Many of the productions are sourced at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown every July, ensuring that Hilton Festival patrons get a chance to see the pick of the Fest.

The Nedbank Private Banking flagship production is Greig Coetzee’s much-acclaimed Happy Natives, featuring Coetzee and Sello Sebotsane which is currently performing at the Liberty Theatre on the Square in Johannesburg to critical acclaim and comes to KZN shortly.

The line up of productions includes some highly impressive, thought-provoking and entertaining theatre: Proof; Memory of Water; The Open Couple; Plunge; Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Classes; Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde; Stitch; Voices From The Brink, Lara Foot Newton’s Tshepang and The Hidden.

Some of the strongest pieces talked about at the Grahamstown festival were one-handers and among those coming to Hilton are Georgy Porgy; Spilling Beans; The Art Of Taking Off and The Yellow Wallpaper.

Cabaret and musical revues are always popular. Some of the musical productions are Cafe Ole, Charl van Heyningen in Concert; Karen Campbell Gilles in Storm in a D Cup; Brutal Tunes; Beautiful Noise; A Handful Of Keys and Baubles Bangles & Beads. The comedy line up includes Dracula - The Unclotted Version; Mr Personality; Titanic on Ice and Lady Sings The Blues.

For fans of eclectic, classical, popular and quality music, there will be 13 Music Revival Concerts (see separate articles).

As always, the festival includes shows for the young and the young at heart: Silly Dilly’s Magic Show; Show Time with the Longfoots, Icarus and the Froggy Prince. Of special interest is the Pietermaritzburg’s Children’s Choir in Concert.

Interesting lectures and workshops makeup Brainfest and some of the topics to examine are Wild Dog, Paton, Disgrace, Greig Coetzee, Michael Chapman and Orchids. There will also be a Stanislavsky Workshop.

Special attention is paid to food and eating this year. There will be two food areas: the usual popular food tent with a myriad of eateries offering their wares, and Fabulous - an elegant dining area offering a more sophisticated dining experience. Diners are invited to pre-book meals at Fabulous to avoid delays.

Booking kits now available from selected SPAR Stores in KZN as well as from Exclusive Books (La Lucia, Pavilion and Gateway), Adams in Musgrave Centre and central Durban, Shooters and Shuters and the Natal Witness offices in Pietermaritzburg. Information can be found on www.artslink.co.za/hilton

It is prudent to book accommodation early at one of the many B&Bs and hotels in the area. For more information phone 033 343 0126, visit www.artslink.co.za/hilton or www.witness.co.za




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