Black Coffee backs Hilton Arts Festival
Tuesday, 29 October 2019
ben-vos-large-size-9665Ben Voss staring in Benny Bushwacker, a conservationist, environmental campaigner, and the only man to have thrice walked the length of Africa barefoot
South Africa - With limited funds available for festivals in South Africa, it takes people who are able to give of their time and resources to keep the arts alive and to support the organizers who so tirelessly give of themselves. One such individual, is Brandon Bunyan of Black Coffee, a Durban-based technical supply company. Black Coffee is the main technical sponsor of The Hilton Arts Festival.
This year, the show was hosted from 13 to 15 September at Hilton College in KwaZulu Natal. In the early days Bunyan worked on the event as a young technician and for the past 16 years, Black Coffee has sponsored gear and technicians to the Hilton Arts Festival which has grown from one to eight performance art display venues, making it the second largest festival in the country.
“I first became involved because of my passion for theatre, to keep in the theatre game as a marketing tool for Black Coffee and also because we could at the time,” says Bunyan. “The festival was much smaller and we could actually manage it. I don’t think other companies were really interested back then. Today it’s huge.”
Hilton College’s Main theatre is the only proper venue at the festival that is equipped with hanging positions, power and existing lighting and sound. Black Coffee has the task of transforming spaces such as classrooms, examination rooms, sport centres, the art block, marquees and seminar rooms, into makeshift theatres or exhibition areas. “Some productions that come along will suit a lecture room which will then be turned into a little theatre, but the next year, there may be no productions that fit the lecture room and we’ll have to find another venue,” Bunyan explains.
Good old-fashioned manual desks were initially used for shows, but thanks to DWR Distribution’s involvement over the past few years, the festival has evolved to include programmable desks like the dot2 consoles. “There used to be household dimmers and plug strips in one or two of the venues and cabaret happened, Par 56s happened!” he smiles. “Don’t plug too many in because it will trip! So, the festival has become more technically involved. There is a lot more LED which has saved us from power hassles in the venues.”
The Hilton Arts Festival dedicates a day during the festivities to the surrounding community and youth, where many schools in the area attend workshops presented by artists willing to give of their time, hoping to teach and inspire kids.
“It’s the most important part of the festival as artists interact with their future audience,” adds Bunyan. “And while most of these children do drama and fine arts at school, they have never had the opportunity to be exposed to any live music, theatre or professional visual art. This festival is central to KwaZulu and is accessible to many schools.”
(Jim Evans)

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