Just 2 days after the NAF closes, the 969 opens featuring 21 of the National Arts Festivalís hottest shows chosen from the Main and Fringe.
Running from 15-27 July at the Wits Theatre in Braamfontein, Joburgers can expect a Festival of superlative theatre with something for everyoneÖbig drama, side splitting comedy, breathtaking dance, world famous musos and visual- multimedia-physical theatre.
Festival Director Gita Pather said: ìI am really proud of this lineup because itís a combination of tried and tested talent, alongside new work with brilliant up and coming talent. Wits Theatre is on a campus renowned for excellence and the 969 programme epitomizes that.î
The Three Little Pigs, comes to Joburg for the first time, hot on the heels of 5-star reviews in Perth, Amsterdam and Edinburgh before it heads to New York in August. With Rob Van Vuuren, James Cairns & Albert Pretorius, this show sold out at NAF in 2013 and promises to be a real highlight of the 969 Festival.
Its director Tara Notcutt has also written and directed Last Rounds about finding love in a modern age. Love features again in Whistlestop with real life couple Jaques de Silva and Ameera Patel in a brilliant new play about the fear/excitement/uncertainty of meeting someone new. Written by Ameera Patel, this poignant funny, highly physical play is sure to strike a chord with audiences.
Original Skin is Phillippa Yaa de Villiersís very personal exploration of apartheid, adoption and family ñ with a humorous twist. The acclaimed poet who recently performed for the Queen of England brings storytelling, spoken word and mime together in this reflection on the human quest for belonging and family.
In another very different take on understanding oneís place in the universe, The God Complex directed by Sylvaine Strike and featuring Daniel Buckland uses comedy and visual theatre to subvert the role of the supreme patriarchal figure into part bumbling scientist, part desperate showman and part loving but misguided father figure. Amateur Hour! Directed by John Trengove and featuring Jemma Kahn & Glen Biderman Pam is a lurid but loving celebration of rank amateurism and the remote outer reaches of show business, where the ëshow must go oní regardless of whether it should.
One show that must definitely go on is Jenine Collocottís Hamlet, a 35 minute theatre-tonic that uses the secrets of the Commedia masters, the forces of physical theatre, improvisational powers, half-mask magic , amazing ënormalí language and a tip-top cast ñ this is Shakespeare on stylistic steroids!
Maid in Mzansi is the official entry to the National Arts Student Festival and we are genuinely proud to showcase the extraordinary talents of student director Roberto Queiroz and cast who have created a thought provoking drama on the relationships that exist between the madams and their maids. Wits final year physical theatre students, Daniel Geddes and Mark Tatham, in their bid to step into the professional theatre industry, make their directive debut with the physical theatre piece, Ira. Both shows will be staged in The Nunnery.
Ndihambile with choreography by Yuhl Headman and Sbonakaliso Ndaba of the Sibikwa Arts Dance Company offers a trio of work around the theme of journeys. There will be two performances in the Main Theatre on 25 and 26th July. Neither HEre nor there (and everythIng elSe) choreographed by Nadine Joseph coming off the Main stage of the NAF, deals with the transitory space of addiction. This dance work offers a multi-layered, dynamic envisioning of varied perspectives on addiction.
Nile is the result of a long collaboration between French/Swiss choreographers Laurence Yadi, Nicolas Cantillon - Compagnie 7273 and American guitarist Sir Richard Bishop.
This piece aims to capture the undulating nature of the Nile River through a striking and moving combination of dance and music. It positions the river as a reservoir of imagination, rife with contradictions such as permanence and metamorphosis; fecundity and desert; physicality and spirituality.
Fiddler in the Loop is Italian born violin wizard Luca Ciarla who owns the stage with his fiddle, an ocarina, and a few toy instruments. With a loop pedal he plays layers of music over each other, creating an astonishing orchestral texture creating unique sounds. Playing the violin like a guitar, cello or a percussive instrument, Luca sings, whistles, plays the ocarina and other little instruments; to create a dazzling solo violin orchestra.
Saturday mornings will be devoted to childrenís theatre. Productions include Colours of the Rainbow with Princess and Frog, aimed at the 1-6 age group, a delightful not-quite fairy-tale where imagination transforms the everyday into the fantastic. This production invites the young and young at heart to come and hop, sing and dance with Princess and Frog as they learn the colours of the rainbow and make friends along the way.
Narrative Dreams is an evocative, thoughtful story about growing up, being alone and forging friendships. Aimed at 10+ audiences, the play takes us into the worlds of two young boys who want to be kings, like their namesakes ñ David and Morena. It is written by Lereko Mfono and directed by Omphile Molusi. Finally for the 15+ age group, we have the moving story of A Girl Called Owl starring Briony Horwitz and written by Jon Keevy.
This play for older teens and adults is quality, thought-provoking theatre, looking at a young girlís experiences as she leaves behind childhood in a small town environment. This production received 5 star reviews at the Brighton Fringe Festival.