Cape Town’s CBD is set to host the city’s inaugural variety project, the FNB Variété Festival from 6-20 October this year. The project is set to grow into a fully-fledged arts festival embracing the entire CBD within the next few years.
The festival, brought to the city by Eddy Cassar Public Relations (producers of the Vodacom Funny Festival), uses unconventional theatre venues in the city centre and boasts a selection of top local and international acts, including the international theatre hit Faulty Towers, the Dining Experience and Marc Lottering as few have seen him, in cabaret.
Held in pop-up theatres in hotel lobbies, cafes, an oyster bar, a hotel restaurant and a conference venue, the festival includes a selection of award-winning local and international acts in small intimate venues, involving 65 performances over a period of two weeks.
“We have put a lot of thinking into the planning and potential growth of the festival,” says producer Eddy Cassar. “We’re offering Capetonians a wonderful opportunity of enjoying top acts in an intimate space. We have devised a five year plan which will see the festival grow, embracing certain nodes in the city.”
The first node is situated around the Cathedral and Taj Hotel at the top end of the St George’s Mall, with the award–winning production of Faulty Towers, the Dining Experience scheduled for the Cape Sun Hotel.
Future points of growth include the 15 on Orange Hotel, around the Fugard theatre in the Fringe district, as well as the De Waterkant and the Long Street areas.
FNB Western Cape are supporting this local initiative: “We are delighted to partner with an exciting project like this, especially as it is the first of its kind in Cape Town,” says FNB Western Cape Provincial Chairperson Stephan Claassen. “Through this partnership we hope that this festival will become a permanent fixture on the Cape Town social calendar. First National Bank remains committed to supporting arts and culture in the Western Cape.
“As a proudly South African bank, we are committed to grow our country in all its facets. Art plays a key role in that. We are also excited about what Cape Town has to offer, and want to promote that to the market out there. Joining forces with the Western Cape Government, Eddy Cassar and various other partners gives us the opportunity to put this into action.”
The five acts contracted for the festival include:
- Comedian Marc Lottering and award-winning pianist Godfrey Johnson in cabaret at the St George Conference Room in the Taj Hotel. Tickets are R120 each.
- The internationally acclaimed sell-out show, Faulty Towers, the Dining Experience at he Villa at the Cape Sun Hotel. Tickets cost R350 each and include a three-course meal and two-hour show.
- The mistress of satire, great music and clever lyrics Tina C, back from a sell-out season at the Sydney Opera House, performing at the Twankey Oyster and Champagne Bar at the Taj Hotel. Tickets are R120 each.
- Canadian cabaret sensation Sharron Matthews, who was recently awarded the title of best cabaret at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, perfoming at the Lobby Lounge, Taj Hotel. Tickets are R120 each.
- An hour with one of Cape Town’s top comediennes Shimmy Isaacs at Café St George at the St George’s Cathedral. Tickets are R120 each.
The entire cast of the festival also appears at a special gala performance at the Baxter Theatre on 14 October, with Marc Lottering as the master of ceremonies. Tickets cost R180 each.