Mpilo ’Straw’ Nzimande – performer (left), Mantu Jakavula - dancer (dancer, bottom), Jena Woodroffe – aerial artist / gymnast (dancer, top) and Belinda Henwood – performer / musician (right). Picture: Supplied
Mpilo ’Straw’ Nzimande – performer (left), Mantu Jakavula - dancer (dancer, bottom), Jena Woodroffe – aerial artist / gymnast (dancer, top) and Belinda Henwood – performer / musician (right). Picture: Supplied

Fundraiser set up to help revive hard-hit Hilton Arts Festival

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published May 6, 2021

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In an attempt to revive the famous Hilton Arts Festival which is currently on the brink of extinction, theatre personalities and festival management are pleading for donations to keep the festival alive.

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic affected the entertainment industry, however, unlike other sectors who have been able to somewhat recover, theatre actors have been hard hit, putting their careers and livelihoods at stake.

“Back-a-Buddy” – a fundraiser has been set up to collect funds to enable the festival to continue in the light of diminished arts funding. A total amount of R28 957 has been raised so far, but much more is needed to hit a target of R5 million.

“Funding and support are essential to make a festival of this magnitude viable. The sums simply won’t work if we rely on ticket sales only. In order to keep the ticket prices affordable, patronage is essential,” said festival director, Sue Clarence.

She continued: “We absolutely believe that audiences, performers, artists and support services genuinely want the festival to survive and continue into the future, even initially at a scaled-down version.

“However, right now, not even that is financially viable for us. We are on the brink of extinction,” Clarence said.

In support of the fundraising efforts, top Durban creative agency, Whalley and Associates have made a video featuring some of the industry’s finest including John Kani, Athol Fugard, Nthati Moshesh, Ismail Mahomed, Fiona Ramsay, Bheki Mkhwane, Gcina Mhlophe, Amra-Faye Wright, Greig Coetzee, David Qadasi Jenkins and others who have all added their voice and support to the campaign.

Kani’s poignant contribution in the video talks of ghost lights – a light left burning in an unoccupied, dark theatre as a symbol of optimism.

Right now, due to Covid-19, many theatres globally have ghost lights burning on their empty stages.

Kani implores supporters to allow us to turn off the ghost lights and turn on the spotlights once more.

To donate click here.

Watch the full video here:

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