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Call Goes Out to Fringe Artists as National Arts Festival Returns to Live Stages this Winter

Published on 8 February 2022

After two years of hosting the National Arts Festival online, the organisation has announced that it’s returning to live format for 2022. This year’s National Arts Festival is happening in its home town of Makhanda in the Eastern Cape from 23 June-3 July and a call has gone out to artists to register their works on the Fringe.

The Fringe is that part of the Festival programme that is not curated by the Festival’s artistic committee. It is open to all artists from anywhere in the world who want to bring a show or piece of work to perform or exhibit at the Festival. This is done at their own cost but ticket revenue is also largely their own (90/10 in favour of the artists).

The Festival is also hosting an online programme so will welcome applications to present works made for the online environment.

Says Fringe Manager, Zikhona Monaheng, ‘As artists are slowly recovering from two devastating years of the pandemic, we would like to offer a 50% reduction of the normal R1000 registration fee which this year will be R500. In addition, the venue fees have been reduced to accommodate artists’ tighter budgets. Online productions will pay a flat R150 registration fee.’

The Festival will once again present a curated programme featuring highlights that include the original new works of the 2021 Standard Bank Young Artists, theatre, dance and music elements, comedy, visual art, illusion, artists in residence, workshops and experiences such as the Village Green and free Sundowner Concerts. Artists will also gain from several professional workshops and network opportunities at the Festival.

The Fringe programme plays an important role in launching artists and their works into the spotlight. It is here that countless South African artists have tested their range, experimented with form and debuted new work. A free space to express, play and create, it’s an essential element of the Festival’s character. 

Says Monaheng, ‘Aside from the importance of coming together again to collaborate, network and talk late into the night, this year’s Festival is an essential component in the reboot of the live arts ecosystem and we hope it will offer some healing and hope after this very hard time we’ve all had. We are looking forward to being together in Makhanda.’

The closing date for application for the Fringe programme is 18 March 2022.