AS part of its celebrations for Women’s Month in August, the Playhouse Company in Durban will present its famed South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF).
Now in its 21st year, the festival, which runs from August 10 to 19, features a host of award-winning dramas, including the Naledi Award-winning productions, Suddenly The Storm and Scorched.
Also on the programme is Handbag – Don’t clutch me too tight… a new dance work presented under the helm of acclaimed choreographer David Gouldie.
Throughout the festival there will be free debates and workshops in honour of South Africa’s women and their unique contributions to our communities; and musicians, including Platform Jazz, Natalie Rungan, Heels Over Head, and Lu Dlamani, will be providing free music for festival-goers.
Chief executive officer and artistic director, Linda Bukosini said: “Our South African Women’s Arts Festival has grown tremendously over the years and as we commemorate our 21st 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!”
Paul Slabolepszy’s latest play, Suddenly the Storm, walked off with the prizes for best new South African script, best theatre set design (Durban’s Greg King) and best lighting design (Wesley France) at this year’s Naledi Theatre Awards.
Having enjoyed hugely successful runs at the Market Theatre and the Theatre on the Square in Johannesburg and at the Baxter Theatre in July, it makes its way to Durban.
Created to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising of 1976, Suddenly The Storm is set in the far East Rand, in the home of an ageing ex-cop and his much younger wife. A storm approaches…
Namhla Gumede, born on June16, 1976 arrives, seeking answers to questions that have remained buried for 40 long years. What begins as a smouldering dark comedy turns suddenly into a roller-coaster ride of startling revelations, of rage and recrimination, before the storm finally breaks.
The play stars Slabolepszy, Charmaine Weir-Smith (Isidingo, Binnelanders, Generations) and Renate Stuurman (Isidingo, Scandal!). It is directed by Bobby Heaney.
Catch it at 7.30 pm on August 10 and 11 and at 2 pm and 7.30 pm on August 12. Tickets are R80 at Computicket. Please note: there is an age restriction of 18 (strong language).
Gouldie’s new dance work, Handbag – Don’t clutch me too tight… features the award-winning Playhouse Dance Residency and Flatfoot Dance Company. It is based on the real-life tales of the ladies who live at The Association For The Aged (TAFTA); their moments of joy, loss and remembrance.
Everything from a first kiss to marriage, loss, forgiveness is explored and celebrated by the dancers who use movement to reveal how these intimate stories ultimately speak to global issues.
Handbag – Don’t clutch me to tight… is in the Drama Theatre at 9.30 am on August 10, at 9.30 am and 7 pm on August 11 and at 2 pm on August 12.
Tickets for the schools performances areR30 per learner from 031 369 9407 and the public performances are R80 at Computicket.
Our Story Magic is a popular children’s work, written by acclaimed author/poet/storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, and adapted for the stage by The Playhouse Actors Studio.
The collection offers theatre-goers the chance to explore folklore stories through a piece suitable for the whole family. Stories include: Sun and the Moon, Brave Ox Bathom, Queen Of The Tortoise, Tie Me Up!, Moonlight Magic, Dad is Eating Ashes, Mamba kaMaqhuba, The Signing Dog, Jojela’s Wooden Spoon and Sunset Colours.
Presented in English, isiZulu and seTswana, Our Story Magic offers encourages children to use the power of imagination and underlines the value of our original and authentic cultures through tales based on our own communities.
Showtimes are 10.30 am and 2.30 pm on August 19. Tickets are R30 at Computicket.
Scorched walked off with three Naledi Theatre Awards this year: best director of a play (Jade Bowers, the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre), best lead performance in a play: female (Ilse Klink) and best supporting actress (Ameera Patel)
The play premiered on the main programme at the 2016 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to critical acclaim, and went on to a season at UJ Arts Centre in Johannesburg. KZN audiences will have the chance to enjoy from August 16 to 19 in the Playhouse Drama Theatre.
Written by Lebanese-Canadian playwright, Wajdi Mouawad, the play follows twins, Janine and Simon Marwan on a journey to the heart of their mother’s war-torn Middle-Eastern homeland in pursuit of their tangled roots and a long-lost sibling.
In this land, where civil war, massacre and revenge constitute a way of life, the twins uncover shocking secrets about their mother’s history, about themselves and their origins.
In addition to Klink and Patel, the play stars Cherae Halley, Jaques De Silva Mpho Osei-Tutu, Bronwyn van Graan, and Gopala Davies.
Schools performances are at 10 am on August 16, August 17 and August 18. Tickets are R30 from 031 369 9407. Public performances are at 7.30 pm on August 18, and 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm on August 19. Tickets are R80 at Computicket. Please note: there is an age restriction of PG13.
The Playhouse, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Clermont Choir will be presenting semi-staged excerpts from Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème at 7.30 pm on August 10 and 3 pm on August 12.
The four-act opera was composed by Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger.
The world premiere performance of La Bohème was in Turin on February 1, 1896 at the Teatro Regio. Since then, it has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.
Under helm of director, Marcus Desando, the performance will feature soloists, Khayakazi Madlala, Phenye Modiane and Siphokazi Maphumulo.
Tickets range from R100 to R150 and can be booked at Computicket.
A number of key dialogue sessions have been planned during the course of the Women’s Arts Festival, which will see women from across age and cultural groups come together to share their stories.
One event will focus on younger women who are forging paths in their communities and who act as role models to their peers. Another, more health-focused discussion, will see the audience interact with leading female health practitioners.
Last, but not least there will be a series of free Sundowners Concerts featuring some of KwaZulu-Natal’s finest female musicians.
Platform Jazz performs at 6 pm on August 10, with Ndu Shezi and Heels Over Head hitting the stage at 5 pm on August 11. Dawn King performs at 3.30 pm on August 12, the Dani Foster Trio at 6.15 pm on August 12, Natalie Rungan at 5 pm on August 18 and Lu Dlamini and Joel Zuma at 5 pm on August 19.