Fest off to wet start

2014-09-20 00:00

YESTERDAY’S wet and chilly weather failed to dampen the spirits of those who turned out to enjoy the feast of theatre, music and art on offer at The Witness Hilton Arts Festival.

The Grolsch Marquee was buzzing with festival-goers enjoying the live music on offer and the chance to get out of the drizzly rain.

At the box office the staff had a busy day dealing with people who were either collecting or booking tickets for shows and during the day the venues around the Hilton College campus were full to capacity with the 1 300 Jongosi participants from high schools around the province.

On Thursday nearly 800 primary school pupils enjoyed a number of child-friendly performances as part of the Jongosi programme.

Festival director Sue Clarence said they were hoping to be able to increase pupil numbers to 1 500 for primary schools and 2 000 for high schools in 2015.

“We would like to have children funded by a sponsor to be here next year,” she added.

“Everything is running really smoothly thanks to our crackerjack technical teams. We are really happy with the new ticketing system and are expecting a bumper crowd tomorrow.”

Among those enjoying the festival was Hilton resident Wendy Line, who popped into the festival yesterday to take a look at the various exhibitions by artists and crafters.

Another Hilton resident, Fiona Dunston-Smith, told Weekend Witness, while waiting to go and see Tim Plewman in Designer Genes XXL: “I have been coming to the festival every single year since it started.”

Enjoying the live music yesterday evening were Ro Bennett, Gael Muir and Wendy Erasmus, who travelled to the Midlands from Mtunzini in Zululand.

They said they were looking forward to watching The Witness flagship production, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the hilarious Durban comedy, Dear Breeder, and the stage adaptation of Paul Gallico’s The Snow Goose, as well as the music of Maritzburg pianist Christopher Duigan.

The festival also got the stamp of approval from high school pupils, including Cole Meaker, from Hillcrest, a form three pupil at Hilton College.

After watching Woza Albert!, The Snow Goose and his favourite, Designer Genes XXL, yesterday, he said: “It’s brilliant to have all these shows because we don’t often get to see theatre. It’s nice that they come to us.”

• Find out more about the festival at


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