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FESTIVAL DIARY: DAY 9 (JULY 8) (article first published : 2005-07-9)

This morningís briefing of the media by the Minister of Arts And Culture, Dr Pallo Jordan, was welcoming in the fact that he fairly and squarely acknowledged the festival as a major force on the arts scene, ranking high on an international scale and matching events such as the Edinburgh Festival.

He paid tribute to the festival organisers in expanding the festival so that it had became more representative and reached a wider community. It is estimated that the total earnings for last yearís festival reached R35 million.

In 2003, the festival attracted 121,000 visitors and in 2004 this figure rose to 131,600. With the new presence of the SABC at the Festival, attracting hundreds of people to the SABC Dome at the Station, it is no doubt that this figure will be considerably larger for the 2005 festival.

Good news for Durban is that Courtyard Theatre manager Tina le Roux who is among the many stage technicians employed for the festival, was yesterday awarded the best crew member of the 2005 festival. Congratulations, Tina Ė weíre all highly proud of you!

At the end of the festival, I usually take a look around at the hundreds of posters adorning every wall space in Grahamstown and see which makes the most impact.

This year, I opt for Janet Suzmanís Hamlet>, Lunch and Hoot.and Durban representation with John van de Ruit and Ben Vossís Black Mamba, and Janna Ramos-Violante and Josette Ealesí Cherry Under My Foot.

I mentioned in an earlier diary that Grahamstown was looking a bit scruffy but that must have been the result of a very busy weekend. Things are much cleaner and tidier now and the toilet areas are receiving attention.

From all accounts, itís been an excellent festival. Iíve certainly seen some marvellous productions. The festival gods have been benign and the weather has been warm and sunny. Roll on next year!




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