Festival of free theatre at the beach

A scene from the 2017 Fresha Festival on the Durban beachfront. Picture by Harry Lock.

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BY BILLY SUTER

THREE days of varied, short theatre pieces suitable for the whole family will be presented, at no cost, at Durban’s North Beach from January 19 to 21, as part of the city’s second Fresha Festival.

The event – see full programme below – starts at 5pm on Friday, January 19, with a performance showcase to provide an overview of the weekend ahead. The festival then runs from 1pm to 5pm on the Saturday and Sunday, offering a full afternoon of diverse shows, explains theatre director Emma Durden.

A site-specific performance art piece will be staged at the Fresha Festival by Doung Anwar Jahangeer. Picture by Vanessa Cracknell.

All festival events will be held in the Bay of Plenty lawns area, North Beach, and are free of charge. There is a tent for rainy days, so pop along, whatever the weather.

Each production will have two performances of approximately 15 minutes, over the weekend.  Both days (Saturday and Sunday) will start with an hour-long free, open dance class at 8am with the Movement Lab; followed by a free, open, street-theatre class starting at 9am, led by Netherlands street artist, Gerard Oldthaar.

Fresha Fest, as it is known for short, was hosted for the first time in 2017 as the new incarnation of Durban’s old Musho Festival that highlighted solo and two-hander plays at the now-defunct Catalina Theatre. It is labelled as a hip and happening street/beach festival – the perfect event to wrap up the Durban summer holiday season.

Director Durden, supported by Roel Twijnstra, explains that the  event is presented by Twist Theatre Development Projects, which focuses on the development of community theatre groups in KwaZulu-Natal, and on creating sustainable relationships and networks for theatre development, both locally and abroad.

Twist, reports event publicist Illa Thompson, is funded by The National Lotteries Commission and the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Additional funding for the Fresha Fest has also been provided by eThekwini Municipality and the Department of Arts and Culture, KwaZulu-Natal.

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THE FULL 2018 FRESHA FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19:

5pm:  Opening event: procession and performance showcase.

A moment from Dustbins – a delightful piece of comedy street theatre by Thandimpilo. Picture by Vanessa Cracknell.

SATURDAY, JANUARY  20:

8am:  Free, open DanceXercise class with the Movement Lab.

9am:  Free street theatre workshop with Gerard Oldthaar.

1pm:  Fresha ….  (Performance art – Doung Anwar Jahangeer).

1.30pm: Gerard O (Street comedy – Netherlands).

2pm: Abafana Bizarre (Dance, Wushwini).

2.30pm: Dustbins (Street Theatre – Thandimpilo).

3pm:  The Kitchen Symphony (Street Theatre – Clinton Marius and Bongani Mbatha).

3.30pm: Fragile (Dance –  Kristi-Leigh Gresse).

4pm: Sibo (Street mime).

4.30pm:  Dludlu Dladlala (Dance – Musa Hlatshwayo and The Movement Lab – which won an Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown).

SUNDAY, JANUARY 21:

8am: Free, open Zumba dance class with the Movement Lab.

9am:  Free street theatre workshop with Gerard Oldthaar.

1pm:  Fresha ….  (Performance art -Doung Anwar Jahangeer).

1.30pm: Gerard O (Street comedy – Netherlands).

2pm: Abafana Bizarre (Dance, Wushwini).

2.30pm: Dustbins (Street Theatre – Thandimpilo).

3pm: The Kitchen Symphony (Street Theatre – Clinton Marius and Bongani Mbatha).

3.30pm: Fragile (Dance –  Kristi-Leigh Gresse).

4pm: Sibo (Street mime).

4.30pm: Dludlu Dladlala (Dance – Musa Hlatshwayo and The Movement Lab).

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