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The best of Grahamstown at 969 festival

- Wits University

The 969 Festival kicks off today, 13 July 2016 with an exciting theatre lineup, which includes standout productions hot off the Grahamstown stages.

The Wits Theatre hosts its dynamic 969 Festival from 13 – 24 July and this year’s offering of 20 theatre, dance and music presentations are diverse, ranging from local dramas and comedy to innovative concepts from abroad.

“Choosing plays before they have been mounted at the 969 Festival is always a challenge, a bit of a risk. But I am really happy with my selection,” says Gita Pather, Director of Wits Theatre, who is well known for making original choices regarding the theatre showcased on the Wits stage.

The Grahamstown National Arts Festival staged some memorable productions this year with satire and comedy, such as Pay Back the Curry, The B!*ch Stole my Doek, The Village and Secret Ballot, all being extremely well received.

Thought-provoking and edgy dramas like Chapter 2 Section 9, Unveiled (from the US) and Amsterdam (from the UK) received full houses and standing ovations, while stunning classical music group The Wits Trio garnered rave reviews.  These are only some of the productions making their way to the Wits Theatre stages for the 969 Festival.

“The 969 lineup for 2016 is one that encapsulates some of the best of the festival in Grahamstown,” says Pather.

The programme has been specifically structured for theatregoers to enjoy several shows in one evening with time for a drink at the theatre bar in between. In fact, much like in Grahamstown, the 969 Festival offers an all-round, night-on-the-town experience. 

Audiences can warm up with spicy Gluwein, which will be sold in the evenings and fill their bellies with delicious Italian fare from popular Melville-based Italian restaurant, Picobello, which will be setting up at Wits during the festival. Audiences catching the afternoon shows can eat an early lunch at Picobello or one of the many diverse restaurants in Melville and then catch a five-minute Tuk Tuk ride to the 969 Festival. Feast on an eclectic cross-section of South African talent at the 969 Festival to satiate your appetite for exciting theatre, dance and music.   

Tickets are available at and you can choose to book online or through any Pick n Pay store or you can load your ticket on your Pick n Pay Smart Shopper card. Tickets can also be purchased at Wits Theatre’s Box Office.

Ticket prices:       

Full price online – R75.00

Full price at Box office – R 80.00

Pensioner, Wits Staff and Student Discount online – R 60.00 on presentation of ID document or valid student card

Pensioner, Wits Staff and Student Discount Box office – R 65.00 (on presentation of ID document or valid student card

Lunchtime shows (13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 July at 13:15)

Online staff and public – R 50.00

Box Office staff and public – R 60.00

Online Students - R 40.00

Box Office students and block bookings – R 50.00 on presentation of ID document or valid student card

For block bookings contact: Catherine Pisanti on 011 717 1376 or email

Wits Theatre Box office: 011 717 1381