Marking the Company’s twenty-first Festival, the event is themed ‘phenomenal woman’ to commemorate South African women in all aspects of life – in the arts and live on stage; in our communities and in the workplace. This not-to-be-missed two-week festival, which runs from 10 to 19 August, features a host of award-winning dramas, like the Naledi Award winning productions Suddenly The Storm and Scorched. Also on the programme is Handbag – Don’t clutch me too tight… a brand new dance work presented by The Playhouse Company under the helm of acclaimed choreographer David Gouldie. Under the theme ‘phenomenal woman’, a range of free dialogues and workshops will be held in honour of South Africa’s women and their unique contributions to our communities. Free live music sets – featuring some of KZN’s finest musos – and film screenings that are sure to both entertain and enlighten, are also on the programme. ‘Our South African Women’s Arts Festival has grown tremendously over the years and as we commemorate our twenty-first year – traditionally a year synonymous with entering maturity – we’re happy to be offering a programme which aims to address the gravitas of women’s issues. We will do this through a range of dialogues and offerings on our arts programme which speak to various issues relevant to women today. We also are celebrating women of South Africa through an artistic programme which offers an eclectic mix of award-winning drama, dance, music and more!’
Here’s a glance at the South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF) programme:
Suddenly the Storm: Paul Slabolepszy’s latest play, which walked off with Best New South African Script (Paul Slabolepszy), Best Theatre Set Design (Durban’s Greg King) and Best Lighting Design (Wesley France) awards at this year’s Naledi Theatre Awards. Starring Slabolepszy, Charmaine Weir-Smith (Isidingo, Binnelanders, Generations) and Renate Stuurman (Isidingo, Scandal!), and directed by Bobby Heaney. Suddenly the Storm will be staged on 10 and 12 August in The Loft Theatre at 19:30, and on 12 August at 14:00 and 19:30. There is an age restriction of 18 (strong language).
Under the helm of critically acclaimed choreographer, David Gouldie, The Playhouse Company presents a brand new dance work, Handbag – Don’t clutch me too tight… Featuring the real-life tales of the ladies who live at The Association for the Aged, this visual work explores their stories and the everyday woman. The work is based around interviews and moments of the elderly ladies. Moments of joy, loss and remembrance will be explored and celebrated with the dancers using these stories and emotions for the basis of this dance work. A first kiss, marriage, loss, forgiveness… The work will follow the linear narratives of these intimate stories to ultimately speak to overall global issues. Handbag – Don’t clutch me to tight… stages on 10 and 12 August in the Drama Theatre.
Our Story Magic is a popular children’s work written by acclaimed author/poet/storyteller Gcina Mhlophe and has now been adapted for the stage by The Playhouse Actors Studio. This collection offers an opportunity to explore folklore stories through a theatre piece suitable for the whole family. Presented in English, isiZulu, Setswana, Our Story Magic offers children the opportunity to experience the power of imagination and live theatre beyond the cellphone, TV, and – dare we say it – the fidget spinner! More importantly, it shows children the value of our original and authentic cultures through tales based on our own communities. The production will stage on 12 August at 10:30 and 14:30.
Scorched walked off with three Naledi Theatre Awards this year: Best Director of a Play (Jade Bowers), Best Lead Performance in a Play: Female (Ilse Klink) and Best Supporting Actress (Ameera Patel). Bowers is the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre. Scorched premiered on the main programme at the 2016 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to high critical acclaim, and went on to a season at UJ Arts Centre in Johannesburg. The production is directed by Jade Bowers, with lighting design by Oliver Hauser, design by Nadine Minaar and music composition by Matthew MacFarlane. The all-star cast features Cherae Halley, Jaques De Silva, Mpho Osei-Tutu, Bronwyn van Graan, Ameera Patel, Gopala Davies and Ilse Klink. Scorched stages on 18 and 19 August. There is an age restriction of PG13.
The Playhouse Company presents semi-staged excerpts of Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, featuring the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and Clermont Choir, under the helm of Director Marcus Desando. Featuring soloists Khayakazi Madlala, Phenye Modiane and Khumbu Dlamini. La bohème stages on 10 August at 19:30 and 12 August at 15:00.
For the duration of our festival, a range of contemporary décor, accessory and corporate gift items, all handmade in KwaZulu-Natal, can be viewed at our craft tables daily. Each item is imbued with the exquisite workmanship, vibrant colours and iconic designs that characterise Zulu craft heritage and tradition.
Tickets for all performances are available via Computicket. For block booking and early bird specials call (031) 369 9407.