Darren King, Rowan Bartlett and Bryan Hiles. Picture: Supplied
Darren King, Rowan Bartlett and Bryan Hiles. Picture: Supplied

Escape to the Hilton Arts Festival

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Sep 13, 2019

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Escape to the Hilton Arts Festival from September 13 to 15 for a variety of theatre, comedy, music and even film. 

Here's a breakdown to help start your planning: 

This is the festival’s 27th year and to spruce up things organisers have added music to all 11 performance venues as well as an interesting selection of films. 

Music lovers are in for a treat with a host of free shows at the Stella Artois Festival Marquee and The Stella Bistro which play host to Verandah Panda and John Ellis on September 13, Philani Ngidi, The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters and the Afro Divas on September 14. 

September 15 sees The Jazz Minkeys and for the first time, Qadasi. 

This year there are three venues totally devoted to music. Christopher Cockburn, Andrew Warburton, Charl du Plessis and Christopher Duigan, Durban’s songbird, Natalie Rungan, Dave Starke will all play concerts. 


For the first time, a feast of film has been programmed. Organisers welcome the Durban International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Enviro Champions and films by independent film-makers. The Durban International Film Festival will feature six films over the weekend. 

Five are South African features and documentaries: Buddha in Africa, which won the Best SA Documentary and qualifies for consideration for a nomination for an Oscar; Dying for Gold; Letters of Hope; Spokie Gaan Huise Toe/ Little Ghost Goes Home; and Uncovered. 

The sixth film includes an authentic Namibian tale entitled The White Line – a love story reminding us that the apartheid laws extended beyond South Africa’s borders. For adventure- and thrill-seekers the adrenaline pumping, edge-of -your-seat shorts that make up the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival celebrate the finest mountain-related film-making from across the globe. 

The festival has an exhilarating programme which is centred on mountain adventure including rock climbing, trail running, alpinism, mountain biking, white water paddling and extreme skiing and an enviro culture programme focusing on environmental issues with themes addressing river conservation. 

Another newcomer to the festival is Enviro Champions: a selection of free movies and talks relating to the global issue of pollution and its effects on our world. Some film screenings are free of charge and others are ticketed. 


Choose from a variety of laugh-a minute comedy shows at the festival. Rob van Vuuren’s new one-man show Again was created specifically to celebrate 2019 as his 25th year as a professional performer. Comedian Nik Rabinowitz, will perform his new one-man show, Fortyfied, based on him recently turning 40 and on the verge of a mid-life crisis. 

While figuring all of this out, he decided that instead of buying a Ferrari and abandoning his family, he would create a new one-man show. 

Another great show to catch is the world’s funniest conservationist, Benny Bushwhacker. Whether it’s his opinion on changing the Springbok emblem, how to spot a bullshi*tter in Kruger, or the relative chances of his estranged wife, Brenda, replacing the buffalo in the Big five, he will keep you laughing with his “wild” sense of humour and classic bush logic. 


Gertrude Stein And A Companion is a tender love story of two Americans in Paris. Directed by Chris Weare, the play has toured internationally and won many awards. 
The King Of Broken Things. 

This adventurous and magical excursion dives into the rehabilitation of broken and discarded objects, hearts included. This bittersweet journey, viewed through the unfiltered mind of a child wise beyond his years will, whether you’re 7 or 87, rehabilitate every heart. 

Brutal Legacy is a rare theatrical opportunity, based on Tracy Going’s story of survival and triumph over abuse and adversity. Directed by Lesedi Job, starring Natasha Sutherland with Charlie Bouguenon and Jessie Wolhuter. Kafka’s Ape, a solo performance about a primate’s struggle to overcome the confines of captivity. 

It highlights the complexities of identity in post-apartheid South Africa. The script is an adaptation of the famous A Report to An Academy, by Franz Kafka. This production is performed by Tony Miyambo and has won a number of awards and nominations. 

* For the festival programme visit www.hiltonfestival.co.za or contact the festival office at [email protected] 

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