Sue Clarence and her team proudly put on the 26th Hilton Arts Festival, hosted at Hilton College in KwaZulu Natal. This year DWR Distribution’s SOS Charity Fund and the Hilton Festival stepped in to make a difference by bussing in 70 children from the Thembelihle Primary School to see three plays and attend two workshops.

Apart from the stunning weather on all three days, which was a first, what meant the most for Sue was the massive team effort from sponsors to high quality productions at this years’ festival. Everyone stood together from technical teams to cleaners, box office to arts, crafts and foodies. “We were one team and all equally important,” said Sue. “Another vital component is that the festival inspires creativity which is essential for the soul of a nation.”

Earlier this year, a conversation between Sue and DWR’s Michael Taylor-Broderick, sparked an idea. They decided to make a small difference and plant a seed to develop the love of arts in the lives of 70 children in grade 7 and 8, who would otherwise not have the opportunity or means to experience the festival.

“The kids arrived by bus and were given a packed lunch by the festival,” said Sue. “Furthermore, a selected group got to work alongside Hilton college boys in a piece of street theatre which performed over the festival weekend.”

The children are all ecstatic, counting the sleeps until 2019 and are overwhelmed by the opportunity, reported Kate Coleman, the Marketing and Communications Manager at Thembelihle Primary School. “The invitation from the Hilton Arts Festival through the DWR SOS donation, to participate in the Jongosi Day acted as a catalyst from which a far greater initiative has emerged. Our children thoroughly enjoyed their time and, their eyes were opened to a world of possibilities through their own performances and exposure to other performing artists. On behalf of the Thembelihle team and all her learner’s, we say thank you.”

As a spin-off, the Hilton College Drama Department has also partnered with this highly worthwhile and sustainable project which will grow annually.

Michael has this to say, “This is truly a wonderful Festival of the Arts, the commitment and dedication from the entire festival team is humbling, everyone involved has the greater interest of the Arts and its survival at heart.”

On the technical side, DWR’s Michael, Nick Barnes, Kyle Robson and Kevin Stannett attended the festival as back up and support. Last, but not least, a hearty congratulations to Michael who conceptualised, wrote and directed The King of Broken Things, a theatre production starring Cara Roberts and who also wrote JAKOB.