The 2018 National Arts Festival Main Programme Revealed

The line-up for this year’s National Arts Festival Main Programme extends an invitation to audiences to join a thrilling journey that travels through the established and familiar to brand-new, uncharted creative territories.

Now in its 44th year, the Festival will run from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown. The full National Arts Festival programme will be online and live for booking on 7 May 2018.

“The Festival deliberately juxtaposes high concept with entertainment for all because it is precisely the tension between those two poles of artistic expression that fuels the engine that drives the National Arts Festival's 11 Days of Amazing,” says Executive Producer Ashraf Johaardien.

The Festival spotlight this year falls firmly on a phenomenal range of both emerging and established female artists. Look out for (among many others) choreographer and this year’s Featured Artist Mamela Nyamza, visual artist Gabrielle Goliath, author Mary Watson, curator Tina Smith, actors Klara van Wyk and Buhle Ngaba, as well as Standard Bank Young Artists Thandi NtuliJemma Kahn and Chuma Sopotela.

Johaardien works together with an Artistic Committee to curate the Main programme, sifting through the applications received and crafting a programme that will entertain and challenge audiences. Added to that are the works that complement and add to the programme, selected by Johaardien. “The ‘Festival Selection’ includes productions made possible by partners and sponsors as well plays or initiatives deemed necessary to complete the programme both for artistic as well as strategic reasons,” he explains.

The Main programme this year is a “heady mix of uniquely South African and international arts, culture and creativity,” Johaardien says. “So, segue with us from fresh takes on Shakespeare, the return of Corne and Twakkie in THE MOST AMAZING SHOW (yes, they’re back!)  to the un-dance of Steven Cohen, the utterly compelling un-theatre of visiting Canadian playwright, Greg MacArthur, and the awesome unconventional THEATRE IN THE BACKYARDof Nyanga-based theatre producer and director Mhlanguli George.”

Other elements of the programme – including the Arena, Fringe, the new Standard Bank Village Green and exciting new Festivals within the Festival, Creativate and The Festival of Film and Ideas will be released shortly.

“Each year the Festival sheds its skin and presents a whole new experience for our visitors – and the innovations we’re introducing will make sure that 2018 is no exception,” Festival CEO Tony Lankester said. “We’ve given a lot of thought to the way audiences engage with us, what they want to get out of the time they spend in Grahamstown and we’re helping create many and varied pathways to an amazing experience,” he said.

Here follows a comprehensive guide to the Main Programme for 2018:


Trailblazing dancer and choreographer Mamela Nyamza takes the title of Featured Artist in 2018. The Featured Artist is recognised for their contribution to the South African cultural narrative and is invited to bring multiple works to the Festival. Nyamza will present three works, including a brand-new piece, BLACK PRIVILEGE. Presented by the National Arts Festival, co-commissioned by Ruhrtriennale (Germany) and co-produced by PACT Zollverein (Germany), the work is informed by the artist’s experience of the rejection of the other by mainstream gatekeeping institutions.

Nyamza’s PHUMA-LANGA, presented by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, calls for renewed reconciliation of all South Africans through the diverse experiences of the country’s many cultures. HATCHED, first brought to the Festival 10 years ago, is Nyamza’s autobiographical piece about the life changes experienced through motherhood and features Mamela’s 18-year-old son Amkele Mandla, who performed in the show as an eight year old when it premiered.

Click here for more information. 

Content supplied by The National Arts Festival.

Powered by Blogger.