City goes all out for arts festival

Next week sees the second annual East London Arts and Culture Festival – the Umtiza Arts Festival – named after an indigenous tree the umtiza listerana found only in this part of the country.

Guild Theatre manager, Zane Flanagan, has been previously reported as saying the homegrown festival, which takes place ahead of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, will be bigger and better than last year and is aimed at having even wider appeal.

JAZZ IT UP : The three-day Umtiza Arts Festival will open next Friday with a performance by Nduduzo Makhathini (pictured) with The Cure Collective featuring Feya Faku Picture: SUPPLIED

Over 24 acts will be presented over the three-day event which is spread over the Guild Theatre, East London Museum and the Ann Bryant Art Gallery.

Festival-goers will be able to enjoy theatre and dance; food and wine pairings, historical talks and a number of art exhibitions – not to mention craft and cooking demonstrations and a circus show.

It opens on Friday evening with a performance by Nduduzo Makhathini with The Cure Collective – featuring jazz trumpeter Feya Faku.

Tickets for this 8pm performance are R120 each.

Comedian Riaad Moosa takes to the Guild stage at 8pm on Saturday night. Tickets are R150, and on Sunday, the Guild Theatre, in association with Matrix Media, presents: A Tribute to The Lord Comforters and Youth with Mission.

Artists like Siphokazi Sondishe and Zipho Vena, join host Simthembile Nkunzi, to take the audience on a nostalgic journey of the highlights and hits of these legends.

Tickets for Sunday’s, 4pm show are R130.

Earlier on Saturday, actor, singer, composer and pianist Godfrey Johnson uses song, pathos and comedy to present material from the likes of Jacques Brel, Noel Coward, Supertramp, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie as well as his own numbers.

Internationally-recognised playwright and director, Nicholas Ellenbogen, brings Raiders of Buffalo River to the city with two shows – on Saturday and Sunday both shows at noon, tickets for which are R85.

Local talent will be on display as Gonubie High School’s drama department puts on their production of Woza Albert directed by Pieter Taljaard on Saturday at 4pm.

East London theatre stalwarts Amanda Bothma, Vicky Luff and Merryless Burgess direct a host of local talent in Adventures in Fairy Tale Forest where the tales of Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, Big Bad Wolf and friends are mashed together to create a brand new adventure in Fairy Tale Forest.

A drawcard for the city’s dance fraternity will be Rhodes University drama professor and legendary writer and performer, Andrew Buckland, who will present a workshop in physical performance on Saturday.

The workshop will engage participants in the exciting world of the integrated performer; exercising voice, body, mind and heart.

The Guild Theatre’s studio will screen three vintage musicals Gigi, Oklahoma and Singing in the Rain.

At 11.30am on Saturday, master choreographer Zoë Reeve shares a dancing story with tales of her time in South Korea, where in the five years she spent there, she learnt the traditional dance of that nation.

Popular from last year were the food and wine pairings and this year a port and canape pairing is offered – along with the chocolate and wine- tasting. For the young and young at heart, the Stardust Magical Circus will run shows throughout the day.

This small traditional circus has no animal acts and is suitable for the whole family with clowns, a contortionist, a fakir, magicians, acrobats, a juggler and a rope spinning act.