A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

festivals
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

WRAP UP OF HILTON FESTIVAL (article first published : 2006-09-21)

It is hard to believe that this weekend's extravaganza of all the weathers the KZN midlands can throw at its long-suffering inhabitants was the 14th time the Witness Hilton Arts Festival has taken place. And looking back, you realise it has come a long way in its almost decade-and-a-half.

There are still critics who castigate it for being too white, too middle-class, too Eurocentric and so on, but a look at what was on offer shows that the vast majority of the work in the 2006 programme is rooted in South Africa and there was not one formal, boxed set in sight (at least, not that I saw).

There was plenty of new and innovative work, some of truly outstanding quality like The Boy Who Fell From the Roof by Howick High product Juliet Jenkin, and the new venue, The Supersonics, of which more later, drew enthusiastic and respectable-sized audiences.

Organiser Sue Clarence has to cater to the audience that buys the tickets, but over 14 years she has taken them a long way with her, and this year she was particularly encouraged by the support for new and younger performers - she mentioned The Boy Who Fell from the Roof, Prodigal, Tokoloshe Come and Go and Wet Feet from the Ubom Company. The Hilton audiences are becoming more ready to experiment.

Rather as was the case last year, there has been something of a dearth of choice for theatre managers looking for work to present, but with Sizwe Banzi is Dead still to come from tomorrow until the end of the week, the extended festival has managed to offer some meaty dramatic fare. And this year's Music Revival component - with performers from all over the country presenting some excellent and widely divergent concerts - means that the Festival is a leader in keeping classical music thriving as a part of the entertainment industry.

I started my weekend festival-going with an hour of music from the Wouter String Quartet and ended it on Sunday morning with the irrepressible Michael Lambert having a close and very entertaining look at Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code on the Thinkfest. Something for everyone may be a cliché, but the festival does offer a huge range of choices.

Yesterday afternoon, as the rain came down in torrents, festival organiser Sue Clarence was keeping an eye on the lighting of heaters and making of gluhwein in the damp and chilly beer tent. But the final shows of the festival were almost all sold out, and die-hard festival fans were determined to tough it out. After all, on Friday and Saturday they had survived wind, heat, cold and mist. So why worry about rain? It was hardest on the crafters, most of whom had packed up and gone by mid-afternoon.

The Supersonics, the new venue in the Sports Hall, sponsored by the KZN Department of Arts Culture and Tourism and Business and Arts South Africa, seemed to be proving its worth, with well-attended shows by school and community groups. Sue Clarence is keen to arrange some kind of shuttle service to Supersonics for next year, to make it more a part of the events that are centred on the theatre complex. And looking in on Sunday at Bambelela Sisajike from Girls High School, it was encouraging to see so many talented and enthusiastic actors and singers - the next generation of performers and audiences. – Margaret von Klemperer




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart