DIVERSITY is something you could never say does not exist in Grahamstown for these 11 hectic but celebratory days in the life of a small Eastern Cape city nestled in a picturesque valley.
In a matter of a few hours you could be watching anything from Khoi drumbeats and dance, to the tinkling of the ivories in a tribute to Cole Porter, to an a capella group giving the nod to anyone from Michael Buble to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, to soaking in the searing notes and pitch of the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. And that's just on the music side!
You start to wonder if there is enough audience to go around because the city seems full to the brim with performing artists alone.
And then, with that thought in your head, you run to get to your next show just in time - the gruelling but superbly staged drama "Mies Julie" - and you're the last one in. The Rhodes Box Theatre - not the smallest of venues - is choc-o-block.
Oh sure, there's a seat empty right in the middle of the theatre (well, not quite - someone's handbag is enjoying an uninterrupted view of the stage), but I'm going to need Everest climbing equipment to reach that number, so I'll just stand througout the performance, thank you very much. And here I was thinking Grahamstown may be short of visitors!
Fortunately, with such rivetting acting on stage, the 90-minute production flew past so quickly that it was only at the end when the cast received a standing ovation from a highly appreciative audience that I realised I didn't have to get up to join them.
It really is a great, but pretty gritty show and you can still catch it Tuesday and Wednesday at 2pm and 6.30pm.
And on that note, here are other highlights for Tuesday:
Theatre: "Ster City", with Lindiwe Matshikiza, Nicholas Welch and Dominique Lentin (The Hangar, at 5pm and 9.30pm)
Theatre: "Callum's Will", with Darren King and Clinton Small (The Hangar, at 11am and 7.30pm)
Music: "Colossus", with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (Rhodes Chapel, at 3pm)
Music: "Laura Levine and the Folk Collective", (Cuervo Music Room at 4.30pm)
Dance: "Re-Fresh", comprising dance, solos and duets (Thomas Pringle Hall and environs, at 6.30pm)
Jazz: "Carine Bonnefoy New Large Ensemble" (DSG Hall, at 7.30pm)
Performance Art: "The Cradle of Humankind", with Nomsa Dhlamini and Steven Cohen (Rhodes Theatre, at 8pm)
Drama: "Owl" (Princess Alice Hall, at 4pm)
Drama: "Hol" (Gymnasium, at 7pm)
Music Theatre/Cabaret: "Big Band to Hollywood - Buble takes Centrestage" (Bowling Club, at 3.30pm)
Music: "Tony Cox - Wreckless Precise Guitar" (Graham Hotel, at 1pm)
Dance: "I am an African" (Victoria Theatre, at 12.30pm and 7.30pm)
Physical Theatre: "Mothermilk" (Centenary Hall, at 3.30pm)
Comedy: "David Newton - Best of Fest" (St Andrew's Hall, at 12 noon)
Comedy: "2012 - The Mayan Raiders" (PJ's, at 10am)