Organisers of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown have announced the official line up of performances scheduled for from 30 June to 10 July, with women at the forefront of events this year.
Almost 80 percent of the programme is either written, directed curated or headlined by women with acclaimed playwright and director Lara Foot in the spotlight as the festival’s featured artist.
Now in its 42nd year, Artistic Director Ismeal Mohamed says the line-up of theatre, dance and music will be used as an opportunity to engage audiences on recent political events in South Africa.
“As a festival, we have a role in bridging audiences with artists. Starting off with incidences that took place at the beginning of the year with Penny Sparrow’s remarks building up the kind of tensions within our societies, artists want to express that. Whether audiences want to engage with that is another issue. In the darkness of the theatre where everyone sits together, they laugh they cry and share emotions.”
A series of films about female political activists will also be screened, including lectures and debates that run for the duration of the festival focusing on parallels between the 1976 uprisings and the #FeesMustFall movement.
Mohamed says the jazz programme is particularly exciting this year.
“Siya Makuzeni, who is our Standard Bank Young Artist, is going to be featured in the program but then we also have leading legend Caiphus Semenya. In the music program we also have collaborations with South America – a partnership we have been nurturing for the last three years to present Latin American music at the festival.”
While rapper AKA will also make an appearance, festival-goers can look forward to a diverse and engaging Fringe programme with 115 productions, including theatre, followed by dance and physical theatre (59), comedy (56 productions), visual art (42 exhibitions), music (37 acts) and cabaret (20).
There’s also family fare and a range of illusionists to make sure that South Africa’s favourite open-access platform offers something for everyone.
Ticket bookings will open later this month with the full programme available on their website.
Source – eyewitness