Fugard Festival Back With More

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Friday, 15th April 2011

Bringing back excellence - World biggest Fugard Festival back with more

The 2011 Absa Fugard Festival is back; bigger and better than ever before. Billed to be the world’s biggest Fugard Festival, this year’s event will run from 23 to 26 September 2011 with several spectacular attractions. From very humble beginnings, the Festival has grown in leaps and bounds over the last two years to become a major event on the arts scene. It also helps in promoting the enchanting town of Nieu Bethesda - once home to “The Owl Lady” Helen Martins, the subject of Fugard’s play The Road to Mecca - as a tourist destination.

The Absa Fugard Festival is a rare opportunity for Fugard fans and theatre lovers to experience many Fugard plays and other productions over one weekend. Best of all, these performances are staged in the unique setting where Fugard found inspiration for many of his productions. As the main sponsor of the 2011 Absa Fugard Festival, Absa has once again shown its continued commitment to investing in communities and the arts. By extending its sponsorship of the Absa Fugard Festival, The Group has another opportunity to support the arts in South Africa, give back to local communities and give recognition to a great South African playwright Athol Fugard, for his contribution to the country, for his work in the struggle, the arts and South Africa today. The Absa KKNK, The Design Indaba and Noot Vir Noot sponsorships are just some of the other commitments Absa makes to enhance the status of the arts and culture in South Africa.

Organisers are excited about the line-up for this year’s Fugard Festival and they are also confident that this usually-quiet Karoo town will once again welcome an influx of artists and visitors for a memorable weekend that the entire family can enjoy.

Winner of the Uiltjie Award for Best Production last year, Margot Wood from Annex Theatre Productions, will be back this year with The Captain’s Tiger. The University of Stellenbosch will also perform  My Life - Re Viewed under the direction of Johan Esterhuizen. The Waterfront Theatre School, under the direction of Cheri-Lee Blackie, will produce Statements which unpacks Fugard’s expressions, statements and attitude. This performance once again promises to be a fresh and creative approach to Fugard and his work.

On the Afrikaans theatre front, festival organisers are delighted to welcome back Yvonne Batista with Hallo en Koebaai written by Fugard and translated by Idil Sheard of Nieu Bethesda. Batista is probably best remembered for her role as Helen Martins in The Road to Mecca in 2009. Dusty Kenyon will direct another Fugard drama, Lied van die Vallei, the Sheard translation that won the SAT prize for translations. Another newcomer to this year’s festival is Daleen Kruger who directs her own award-winning drama on Helen Martin and Koos Malgas, Draadwerk. This piece will be performed at a most appropriate venue – on the voorstoep of the Owl House.

In another new venture, the Nieu Bethesda Arts Festival Association’s commitment to the development of the arts in rural communities will see several schools in the area showcasing their talent in music and drama.

Visitors can also look forward to musical performances by Nianell, Mathys Roets, Andre Swiegers and other artists. Art exhibitions, a special event at the Owl House and a variety talks by experts, are also on the bill, among other things.

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