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Call for proposals 2020

Call for Proposals – Main programme – NAF2020

(Photo: I am Somebody at Fest 2019 / Mark Wessels)

The 47th National Arts Festival will take place in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) from 25 June to 5 July 2020.

Local and international artists and presenters interested in having their work considered for the Main Programme of the 2020 National Arts Festival are invited to register expressions of interest online by filling in the form (link below).

·  Fill in the online submission form for 2020 Main Programme proposals

·  Submissions for the 2020 Festival are now closed.

·  Enquiries:

Guidelines for submissions

The Main Programme of the Festival is a platform for works by well-known or established South African or international artists. It has two streams: the Curated Programme and the Festival Choice.

The Curated Programme comprises works selected by our Curatorial Committee, and spans all genres and types of work, with an emphasis on those that are more cutting-edge and provocative. The Curators will consider all the submissions received, engage with artists and producers, and develop a coherent Curated Programme for presentation at the Festival.

This Committee and the Festival Executive Producer also present a selection of works  that are more mainstream as the Festival Choice.

For the purposes of submission, artists need not consider the distinction between the two elements of the programme at this stage.

Our team looks for the following in assessing proposals of works to include in our Programme.

  • PREMIERES OF NEW WORK: Premieres of new productions, exhibitions and concerts by well-known or established South African or international artists.
  • CUTTING-EDGE WORK: Boundary-pushing productions, exhibitions, new music and digital arts interventions that can generate an active dialogue both in terms of form and content.
  • STRONG WORKS THAT HAVE ALREADY HAD A SEASON: Productions, exhibitions and concerts – whether cutting-edge or mainstream – that have already been presented in South Africa or abroad.
  • COLLABORATIONS/CO-PRODUCTIONS: Proposals for collaborations with South African and non-South African artists and managements and / or festivals to co-produce work that may require more than one partner for the effective funding of productions with the proviso that such productions have strong artistic merit.
  • MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PRESENTATIONS: The Festival recognises that an increasing number of South African artists are creating work that interfaces across genres and also with different forms of media and welcomes such proposals that reflect changing trends in arts practice.
  • DIVERSITY: The Festival presents work that reflects the broad demographic of South African arts practice.
  • PUBLIC SPACE WORK: Works that activate public spaces in all genres

Note the following:

  • The deadline for submissions is 19 August 2019. Extended to 31 August 2019.
  • Budget contributions are up to a maximum of R250,000. It is rare and unlikely that the Festival will cover the entire cost of a work, and so we encourage co-productions and applications that have committed funding from other sources. The final budget contribution will be determined solely at the discretion of the National Arts Festival.
  • Expressions of interest will be reviewed by the Curatorial Committee in association with the Executive Producer.
  • Proposals for works that have been presented at the National Arts Festival (including the Fringe) in the past five years will not be considered.
  • For enquiries contact the Festival Office on +27 (46) 603-110 or email

Other opportunities to participate

Apart from the Main Programme, there are other opportunities for Artists to present their work as part of the broader Festival. For example, winners of the Standard Bank Ovation Awards 2019 will receive written invitations to submit proposals for the 2020 Arena programme, and, of course, there is the open access Fringe programme.

All these opportunities are detailed on our website here.

The Fringe in 2020

Fringe applications will be available in October and registration will close in January 2020. Forms and information booklets will be available online on this website. Fringe enquiries should be directed to Fringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng by emailing or calling +27 (46) 603 1177.

Updated: 6 September 2019