Hilton Arts Festival – Kerry Hiles is Judy Garland

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Hilton Arts Festival: 13 – 15 September

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be a little bit more gentle with each other, and a little more loving, have a little more empathy, and maybe we would like each other a little bit more.”

Wise words from iconic screen and vaudeville actress, Judy Garland: a line which we should all heed as we navigate these troubled times…

Bringing to the stage the life story of one of the most recognisable actors from the golden age, East London’s very own Kerry Hiles will be travelling to the upcoming Hilton Arts Festival over the weekend of 13 – 15 September to share with audiences the tale of the five times married, complex, vulnerable, memorable Hollywood child-star, musical theatre performer and singer, who died of an overdose age 47 after a career spanning 45 years!

The versatile Hiles, whose busy life straddles two polar opposite worlds, that of farmer during the day and gala performer at night. “I love it. I’m never bored……also, I’m never well-rested!” Hiles shares.

“It has interesting moments: I attended a festival where, during the day, I’d sell cheese in a silly cowboy hat and at night, sing at a gala dinner. Patrons told me that my face was very familiar, and they weren’t sure why… until the next morning when I was back in my silly hat and they could make the connection.”

She lives on a small smallholding just outside of East London, close to Gonubie Farmer’s Hall. “Currently, I wouldn’t say we actively farm anything really, although we have a flock of dairy goats, three different varieties to test which are most suited to our unique Eastern Cape environment. And I have a tenant who is a whizz at growing veggies and flowers. On the farm are four ancient citrus trees, remnants of days gone by. They have some interesting hybrid fruits which peel like naartjies, smell like limes, and taste like lemons. I’m sure with the right marketing we could do well with this strange fruit.”

“It feels like I am always on stage, just last weekend I was performing at Hemmingways in East London, and now for the very first time I am heading to Hilton. The Hilton Art’s Festival has just never fallen into my schedule before. I suspect that after experiencing this year’s fest, I may move heaven and earth to attend and hopefully, perform annually.”

In-between shows she will be spending time with her sibling, Bryan, who has a busy festival this year appearing in a multitude of productions. Bryan proudly describes his big sis as “Incredible’!

A Star is Born: the rise and fall of Judy Garland is on Friday 13 September at 18:00 and Saturday 14 September at 14:00.

And perhaps, somewhere just over the rainbow, where skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true… and all of this happens while dining on magnificent haloumi made by this charming farmer-performer!

Bookings are open online – www.hiltonfestival.co.za – where you can also download the full programme and a list of where hard copy programmes are available. You can also book at the Box Office at Hilton College should you not wish to book online. Payments online are either by credit card or EFT – all instructions are on the site which is secure. All queries on 033 383 0126 / theatre@hiltoncollege.com.

The Festival is presented by Hilton College and tiso blackstar in association with Grindrod, Black Coffee, Extreme Events, DWR, Absa, Bidvest Car Rental, FNB, KZN Dept of Art & Culture, BASA, Southern Sun PMB, Stella Artois, Redlands Hotel, Martizburg Sun, Caxton, SA Artist, Loud Crowd Media, Sappi.

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