Bookings open for annual Hilton Arts Festival

Bookings for the 26th annual Hilton Arts Festival, which will be hosted on the campus of Hilton College from 14 to 16 September, opens nationwide today (Monday, 13 August).

KZN’s premier arts festival invites the most interesting offerings from the creative industries in South Africa: Theatre; dance; comedy; musical theatre; family theatre; classical music; music revue; big band and contemporary music; visual art and crafts, as well as a series of mindscape lectures, events and discussions.

This year, in honour of Mandela’s centenary commemorations, the three-day event has a strong Mandela feel – two massive outdoor exhibitions, the first being the thought provoking THINK bench, encouraging patrons to think differently. The second will be based outside the Chapel: T.O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E is a monumental public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze by international artist Guy Ferrer.

Inspired by the life and character of Nelson Mandela, pianist, composer, arranger, Burton Naidoo has transcribed some of Mandela’s most iconic speeches and created a musical backdrop to them entitled Our Song. Also, a collection of John Meyer’s artworks Mandela: A Life’s Journey will be on display, and making its second appearance at the festival is the wonderful participative initiative, 67 Blankets for Mandela.

Gideon Lombard stars in the award-winning production Die Reuk van Appels, a stage adaption of the acclaimed 1993 debut novel by South African author Mark Behr.

Confirmed productions include a much-anticipated programme of quality drama such as the award-winning Die Reuk van Appels. International award-winning South African playwright, Mike van Graan’s brilliant drama Green Man Flashing is a fast-paced political thriller written in a filmic style and features an all star cast. Suddenly the Storm is written by and stars the multiple award-winning, prolific playwright, Paul Slabolespszy, Charmaine Weir-Smith and Renate Stuurman. It is directed by Bobby Heaney and boasts a stunning Greg King set design. Selwyn and Gabriel by Richard Kaplan is a magical modern mystery about two strangers with secrets. Silkworm, a 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Award winner, weaves a beautiful cocoon around reality, created and directed by Jenine Collocott, and performed by Taryn Bennett. Narrative Dreams is a play written by Lereko Mfono and directed by international award-winning director and actor, Omphile Molusi.

For those in search of a laugh, there is an extensive comedy line-up, featuring the talents of John Vlismas, Rob van Vuuren, Aaron McIlroy, James Cairns, Jem Atkins and Masood Boomgaard. Mentalist, Brendon Peel makes his first appearance with his show Hocus Pocus at this year’s fest.

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There is an extensive musical theatre line-up looking at the legends of Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Miriam Makeba.

Other musical concerts include Classic Blast presented by the KZN Youth Orchestra; Drakensberg Boys Choir; KZN All Stars Big Band; A gypsy journey for voice and piano; Last Night of the Hilton Proms; the Durban Symphonic Choir performing Dvorak Mass in D; concerts by Andrew Warburton (solo piano and with a quartet); Myfanwy Price (Oboe) and Liezl-Maret Jacobs (piano); acoustic duos, Digby and the Lullaby; and Guy Buttery and Kanada Narahari.

Recognising one of South Africa’s greatest landscape artists, the Hilton Arts Festival will host a retrospective exhibition of the works of Errol Boyley to honour him – 100 years after he was born. To add a strong art feel this year, 100 artists’ work will be on display all around the festival grounds.

There are two mini festivals embedded in the main programme: The Jongosi Festival takes place on Friday 14 September, and has a specifically, carefully-selected age-appropriate programme aimed at grades 6 to 10, and Assetej hosts a programme of theatre and creative projects for young audiences.

For more information, visit or like the Facebook page, Hilton Arts Festival, follow on Twitter @HiltonFest, call 033-383-0126/7 or email


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