France comes to Grahamstown

It’s just over a month until the 38th National Arts Festival starts in Grahamstown on June 28, and a number of mini-festivals catering for specialised tastes are planned.

The festival runs until July 8.

The season kicks off in Grahamstown with the premieres of a number of productions across several genres. Picture:Boxer Ngwenya. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Two new initiatives this year are a season of solo plays within the main theatre programme, and the launch of the French Season in SA.

Backed by an agreement between the governments of France and SA, the French Season in SA will see performances by French artists and companies around the country in the second half of this year, and SA work will travel to France next year.

The season kicks off in Grahamstown with the premieres of a number of productions across several genres.

One is a play, Ster City, from French theatre-maker Jean-Paul Delore and SA actors Nick Welsh and Lindiwe Mitshikiza. Two clowns create a compelling narrative for the past and very strong present of the city and, indirectly, the SA nation.

Other productions include Pudique Acide and Existases – a double bill created by French choreographers Mathilde Monnier and Jean-François Duroure; !Aïa, a transversal work between art, culture, science and traditional wisdom created by the internationally renowned Taliipot Theatre company from Réunion; and two productions by the Cien Non Nova Theatre Company – Vortex and Afternoon of a Foehn.

Those who love solo theatre will get to enjoy five productions by some of SA’s best-known writers, actors and directors.

These include A Conversation with Pieter-Dirk EISH and the play

Mother to Mother, a story of forgiveness and reconciliation, based on the killing of Amy Biehl.

Actor and writer Omphie Molusi, the first recipient of the Royal Shakespeare Company/Baxter Theatre Brett Goldin Award, will present his play Itsoseng. It won a Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008.

Then there’s Sunday Morning, set in present-day SA, written by Nick Warren and performed by James Cunningham, about a successful photographer whose life changes forever during a morning run.

- Sunday Argus