"The Absa KKNK celebrates its sixteenth birthday this year from 1 to 8 April, as a festival of choices," says Kobus Burger, Programme Manager of the Absa KKNK.
"With 35 debut productions, among many others, there is both quality and variety to choose from. This includes an attractive offering of 'Oudtshoorn Oraloor' site-specific productions."
"A stalwart drama under the stars, a poetic debut drama in and around a swimming pool, a lady roaming the streets under her story umbrella and, on a sports field, a company of dancers literally playing with fire and water," adds Burger.
"This year's menu of productions and exhibitions offers something of substance for every taste. And for those who need to treat their financial blues with laughter therapy, almost half of the theatre programme is a potpourri of comic theatre, farce and stand-up comedy.
"On the musical front, Afrikaans makes a French excursion, exploring its Cape roots with Kyle Shepherd and Jitsvinger, and the George Clooney of the classical guitar takes us on a trip around the world in sixty minutes.
"Both Nataniel and Steve Hofmeyr are back at this year's Absa KKNK, but in completely new roles. Steve will be there, not to sing, but to release his novel, 'Vier briewe vir Jan Ellis', while Natantiel will revisit Tchaikovsky's evergreen ballet music for 'Swan Lake'.
Now that the Absa KKNK has cast off its children's shoes, there are several historic moments to look forward to at the sixteenth festival:
For the first time, a novel by the renowned author Marita van der Vyver will be recreated as musical theatre. 'Vergenoeg' debuts at the festival with Sandra Prinsloo, Milan Murray and Alexa Strachan in the cast.
The celebrated playwright Yasmina Reza's newest Broadway award-winner, 'God of Carnage', has been translated into Afrikaans direct from the French and travels from the world's stages to Oudtshoorn with Anna-Mart van der Merwe in the cast. Hennie van Greunen is the director and adaptor of 'God van Chaos'.
Emo Adams brings tribute, in his first solo production, 'Jou Triller Show', to the late, great Wacko Jacko.
Nicola Hanekom of Altyd Jonker and Ararat fame pushes the festival's boundary walls with 'Betesda', an innovative theatre work that plays out in and around a municipal swimming pool, with Nicole Holm, Bronwyn van Graan, Grant Swanby, Eben Genis and Neels van Jaarsveld in the cast.
The girls of the popular drag duo 'Mince' plant their high heels firmly in local soil for the first time with 'Mincing in die Klein Karoo'.
Paul Eilers (of 'Faan se Trein' renown) directs Pieter Fourie's farce, 'Die Proponentjie', in celebration of this celebrated playwright's 70th birthday, which he marks on Saturday 3 April, during the festival.
A brand new open-air amphitheatre, Jamstreet, becomes the home for Chris Barnard's 'Taraboemdery' with among others Neil Sandilands in the cast and Albert Maritz in the director?s chair ? stalwart South African drama under the stars.
Six decades after it was written, Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' remains compelling and relevant and comes to the festival in a new translation by Andries Vrey with top actors like Ben Kruger, Bettie Kemp and Louis van Niekerk in the cast and with Bobby Heaney as director.
The Jazzart Dance Company comes to the Absa KKNK for the very first time with a production that they will present in the open air in collaboration with landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe. In 'Grond', the artists literally play with fire and water.
The bicentenary of the birth of the composer Chopin is commemorated in the programme 'Creme Chopin' with Charl du Plessis, who also performs a Chopin piano concerto with the Free State Symphony Orchestra during the 'Swan Lake' program.
European singer Myra Maud visits South Africa for the first time to appear in 'Afri-Frans' with Laurika Rauch. This is also the title of the recent top-selling album, of which a follow-up CD wil be released during the Absa KKNK.
In contrast with previous years, when it comes to the visual arts, we have two festival artists rather than one. They are Nkahloleng Lukas Thobejane and Michaella Janse van Vuuren. Thobejane is a sculptor that works with wood in a traditional idiom, while van Vuuren uses advanced computer technology to create her fine-filigreed works. The Absa KKNK's Curator, Johan Myburg, brings the work of these two artists into dialogue with one another in a compelling fashion.
Gary Gordon's highly acclaimed First Physical Theatre Company from Grahamstown has studied the behaviour and habits of ostriches for 'So Loop 'n Volstruis' ? a programme of dance by young, upcoming choreographers that will debut at the Absa KKNK.
And then Casper de Vries is the director of 'Bloemers & Roemers' ? a stand-up comedy toure de force in which three of the top comediennes in Afrikaans (Marion Holm, Dowwe Dolla and Karen Wessels) will tickle the funny bone.
Festinos will this year be able to buy an affordable day pass to access a large, consolidated festival "neighbourhood" on the Western bank of the Grobbelaars River, where they will find the Absa Art and Craft Market, the Huisgenoot Musiekplaas, various rest areas, three additional outdoor stages and playgrounds. Visitors can look forward to a wide variety of Afrikaans music within this 'Rivierbuurt'.
The complete festival programme will be available on the Absa KKNK website at www.absakknk.co.za, or as a program pamphlet (booking pamphlet) at Computicket branches nationwide. Bookings for the public are now open, and accommodation can be booked through the accommodation office at (044) 203 8600.