This weekend, Durban plays host to the inaugural Fresha Festival. This free fun family al-fresco theatre festival will be staged on Durban’s North Beach for three days on January 20, 21 and 22.
Festival director, Emma Durden, said: “What could be more quintessentially Durban than a summer festival of free theatre, and an early morning Saturday dance class, right on the beach?”
The Fresha Festival starts late afternoon on Friday, January 20 with a promenade procession and perfomance showcase to provide an overview of the weekend ahead.
On Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22 the festival runs from noon until 5pm, offering a full afternoon of diverse, family-friendly free short shows. Each day will culminate with a Sundowner Showcase under the especially-erected beach Bedouin tent on the Bay of Plenty Lawns at 5 pm.
All shows are free of charge, but at the evening shows there will be a donation box available should audience members wish to contribute towards the cost of the performance – on a pay-what-you-can donation basis.
Among the performers are the multi-award-winning dancers from Moving into Dance Mophatong in Road choreographed by Oscar Buthelezi , who recently returned from Germany with a handful of international awards for the work.
There is also:
- fun street theatre comedy interventions by Gerard O – a street performer from the Netherlands;
- physical theatre pieces by respected Durban choreographers/performers Mdu Mtshali and Shelby Strange;
- an installation by Doung Anwar Jahangeer;
- Feedback, a comedy/physical theatre piece featuring Maritzburg actors TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande;
- productions from various theatre groups working with the innovative Twist Theatre Projects;
- a piece by Durban Deaf mime artist, Sibo Masondo, and
- guest productions from Isil Vos of the Netherlands.
Each production will have two 15 minute performances over the weekend.
As part of the festival, there will be a free dance class for all levels of dancer – from inexperienced, so social to serious – on Saturday morning from 8 am to 9 am on the lawns. Entry is free and all are welcome.
Fresha Fest replaces the popular Musho! Festival. After 11 great years, the festival of one and two hander theatre had its final event in January last year.
With the simultaneous closing of the Catalina Theatre in Wilsons Wharf and the KwaZulu-Natal offices of the Performing Arts Network of SA (PANSA), Musho! in its current incarnation, was no longer viable. It should be noted however, that the wharf side theatre’s management company, Catalina Unltd is still very much operational and has a full year plan for 2017.
The Fresha Festival is directed by Emma Durden and Roel Twijnstra and is presented by Twist Theatre Development Projects.
FRESHA FESTIVAL PROGRAMME
Friday, January 20
- 5pm: Opening event – procession and performance showcase – FREE
- 5.30pm: Sundowner theatre showcase Road (Dance – Moving into Dance Mophatong) – in Bedouin marquee – PAY WHAT YOU CAN DONATION
Saturday, January 21
- 8am to 9am: Contemporary Dance Class – FREE
- 12.30pm – See Power (performance art – Doung Anwar Jahangeer) – FREE
- 1pm: Gerard O (street comedy – Netherlands) – FREE
- 1.30 pm: Dustbins (theatre – Thandimpilo) – FREE
- 2pm: Alive Kids (performance art – The Gift) – FREE
- 2.30pm: The Furry Glove by Sibo (street mime) – ideal for children – FREE
- 3pm: Dung Beetle (theatre – Mzansi Theatre Projects) – FREE
- 3:30pm: Overload (theatre – Nansimpumelelo Arts Initiative) – FREE
- 4pm: Dislocation (physical theatre – Rickshaw Collective) – FREE
- 4:30pm: Road (Dance – Moving into Dance Mophatong) – FREE
- 5pm: Sundowner theatre showcase – Hit and Run (theatre – De Veenfabriek – Netherlands) – in Bedouin marquee – PAY WHAT YOU CAN DONATION
Sunday, January 22
- 12.30pm: See Power (performance art – Doung Anwar Jahangeer) – FREE
- 1pm: Le Mot by Sibo (street mime) – classic French-style mime – FREE
- 1.30pm: Gerard O (street comedy – Netherlands) – FREE
- 2pm: Dislocation (physical theatre – Rickshaw Collective) – FREE
- 2.30pm: Dung Beetle (theatre – Mzansi Theatre Projects) – FREE
- 3pm: Overload (theatre – Nansimpumelelo Arts Initiative) – FREE
- 3.30pm: Hit and Run (theatre – De Veenfabriek – Netherlands) – FREE
- 4pm: Dustbins (theatre – Thandimpilo) – FREE
- 4.30pm: Alive Kids (performance art – The Gift) – FREE
- 5pm: Sundowner theatre showcase – Feedback (physical theatre – TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande) – in Bedouin marquee – PAY WHAT YOU CAN DONATION