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The 38th National Arts Festival runs from Thursday to July 8 in Grahamstown this year. The 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners, including Durban pianist Afrika Mkhize, will present a varied and exciting programme of premieres.
Mkhize forms part of the immensely popular jazz section of the festival programme, and promises not to disappoint.
One of the six themes of this year’s Standard Bank Jazz Festival programme, taking place alongside the NAF, is World Music/Gospel. With smooth and enchanting melodies and a beautiful fusion of Gospel, Jazz and R&B, Durban songbird Natalie Rungan will perform on July 6.
Having performed on top international jazz and world-music stages, garnered a host of awards, and released her own albums, Rungan’s musical experience has earned her a place among South Africa’s greats.
You can also catch jazz maestro Ernie Smith at DSG Hall on July 7 as part of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival.
Durban’s Kickstart theatre company, in association with NAF and the Creative Artists Agency, New York, present the SA premiere of John Logan’s 2010 Tony Award-winning play, Red. Starring father-and-son duo Michael and Jeremy Richard, it is to be staged from Thursday to Saturday at the Rhodes Box Theatre.
Marking the return of the Playhouse Company to the Festival’s Main Programme after 17 years, the company looks set to be back with a bang, staging David Memet’s Broadway hit, Race. The production stages at Graeme College Theatre from July 2 to 4 .
Bridging the gap between the Main and Fringe programmes, this year’s NAF Arena programme will feature new productions presented by winners of the 2011 Standard Bank Ovation Awards, as well as two award-winning productions invited from World Fringe Alliance member festivals.
Some of the Durban productions set to shine on the Arena stage this year include Janna Ramos-Violante’s Callum’s Will, an incredibly moving piece that presents a journey through human behaviour. The show stars Darren King and Clinton Small and explores the touching relationship between two men with very different backgrounds.
Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company will offer a double bill of resident choreographer Lliane Loot’s most recent two works – a solo work that takes a look at contemporary black womanhood that still bears the definitions of paternal culture and Mapping Nostalgia, a journey into a remembered South Africa, almost 18 years after the turn to democracy.
You can read more about Flatfoot at NAF 2012 in Adrienne Sichel’s column (left) .
THE NAF will present the biggest Fringe offering in its 38-year history with 390 Fringe productions expected to stage.
Earlier this year, Ryan Mayne and Tristan Jacobs walked off with the Best Original Script Award at the Musho International Theatre Festival of One- and Two-Person Theatre in Durban for Les Pigeons.
The production looks at the underground world of ornithological communism, from within the minds of two in-patients. Les Pigeons stages at Library Hall from July 4 to 8.
Verne Rowin Munusamy’s Journeying Home delves into the journeys we embark on in the pursuit of happiness. The play is at St Andrews Hall from July 4 to 8.
Dream Boy – written, directed and performed by Stallone Santino – is a one-man show encompassing an intriguing storyline of a teenage boy who has a dream of being an actor.
Inspired by true events, Dream Boy will be staged from Thursday to Monday at Masonic Front.
Exploring the stigma around HIV/Aids, K-Cap presents Edmund Mhlongo’s Ithemba Tattu at Masonic Front from Thursday to Sunday.
The play is dedicated to Gugu Dlamini who was stoned to death in KwaMashu in 1998, after she declared her status publicly.
Shika-Land! is scripted and performed by Shika Budhoo and features five characters from across the globe all named Shika. Shika-Land! can be be seen at Masonic Front.
King of Old Trafford, written and performed by Dhaveshan Govender, is one man’s tale of life, love and Manchester United. His show can be seen at Masonic Front, too.
On the music front, keep an ear out for The Best of Durban Hip Hop, featuring acts such as Manelis, Ntsika, Tumi and Dashen. It all goes down from Friday to next Tuesday at Urban Lounge.
The 23-year-old rising star Davyn Fourie, whose album, Shooting Stars, will hit the shelves soon, is set to do five performances at the festival, with his band Davyn & the Rhinos.
The Durban Comedy Invasion stars perform at Scout Hall from Friday to next Wednesday.
Also at Scout Hall from Thursday to next Wednesday, Durban comedians Gareth Woods and Jem Atkins take their individual one-man shows to the NAF. Who the **** is Gareth Woods? and Atkins’s The Single Dad were recently staged in Durban with rave reviews.
Following on from their early run in the July school break, The Actors co-operative will stage Tales from the Brothers Grimm at the Assitej Family Venue.
Eden College Durban will present Professor Twiddle’s Tremendous Time Machine at Memory Hall.
• Bookings for shows at this year’s NAF can be made through Computicket. For more information on these and other Durban productions at the NAF, and for the full programme, visit www.nationalartsfestival.co.za