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3 flagship shows on sale in December

Published on 7 December 2018

For the first time ever, audiences will have the chance in December to snap up early tickets to three flagship productions at the 2019 National Arts Festival in Makhanda, which will be held from 27 June to 7 July next year.

“Today we’re announcing the return of genius comedian Dylan Moran with his new show DR COSMOS; performances by the extraordinary and iconic Drakensberg Boys Choir; and a rare opportunity for audiences to experience SAMSON, a brand-new work from Brett Bailey, before it heads abroad,” Festival CEO Tony Lankester said. “All three productions will have extended runs at the Festival – and we’re putting tickets to one performance each on sale from Monday 10 December for those who want to plan ahead and secure tickets or buy holiday gifts for friends and family.”

The National Arts Festival will be held from 27 June to 7 July 2019 in Makhanda.

Irish comedian DYLAN MORAN returns to the Festival after three hilarious and sell-out shows at the 2015 National Arts Festival. In DR COSMOS, Moran will once again offer his unique take on love, politics, misery and the everyday absurdities of life, all served up with poetical panache. One of the finest comedians of his generation, Moran is referred to as the Oscar Wilde of comedy. His newest show promises to be an unmissable journey that swerves around clichés to offer a cutting, deadpan and witty blow to all our idiosyncrasies.

“When he came to Grahamstown in 2015, Moran became the fastest-selling artist in Festival history – so we’re delighted to bring him back and we’re urging his fans to get in early,” said Lankester.

The internationally renowned yet proudly local DRAKENSBERG BOYS CHOIR is also be on the 2019 programme. A unique institution with a 51-year history, the calibre of their old boys speaks for themselves: Deon Lotz (actor), Terence Bridgett (actor), Paul du Toit (author), Loyiso Bala (tenor), Phelo Bala (baritone), Dawid Boverhoff (musician) to name but a few, with many others appearing at the National Arts Festival over the years.

The choir will perform a selection of classical, African Gospel and choral pop music. This will be followed by their unique, semi-theatrical presentation of indigenous South African music, which centres around the theme of “Water=Life”, as well as their renditions of chart-topping pop songs and gospel numbers. The choir will incorporate songs and music from “Xhamissa” into their single-set programme as a concertante version.

The Festival can now announce that it has secured SAMSON, Brett Bailey’s highly theatrical, visual and musical work, with a sharp political sensibility.

SAMSON plays out within a global context of unbridled capitalism, ethnic extremism, human displacement and rage. It is set in a dystopian present in which a rapacious and supremacist Master Race feeds off the labour of the Downtrodden Masses. 

It will be performed with opera, choral singing, punchy animated video scenography, black humour, brooding swagger and the booming sub-bass of dub-step music. The work also features three Standard Bank Young Artist alumni’s in Brett Bailey (Theatre, 2001), choreographer Vincent Mantsoe (Dance, 1996) and Shane Cooper (Jazz, 2013) who is creating the score. a fitting parallel in a year that celebrates 35 years of Standard Bank’s sponsorship of the award.

The internationally acclaimed works of Brett Bailey and Third World Bunfight rarely appear in South Africa. EXHIBIT B, which was presented in 26 cities around the world and MACBETH, which was staged in 32 cities, each played only once locally. The inclusion of SAMSON on the 2019 Main programme of the Festival affords South African audiences the opportunity to see this new production before it heads abroad.

An excellent gift for the holidays – or just because, these early bookings are a great reason to get planning for the 2019 National Arts Festival. If you’d like help with these plans, see our Travel and Stay handbook

Save the dates

NOTE: Only one performance per show is available for pre-bookings. The shows will open for full bookings early in 2019 – Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest.



  • 1 July 18:00 (on sale)
  • 2 July 12:00 (on sale early 2019)
  • 2 July 18:00 (on sale early 2019)
  • 3 July 10:00 (on sale early 2019)


  • 27 June 16:00 (on sale)
  • 28 June 14:00 (on sale early 2019)
  • 28 June 20:00 (on sale early 2019)
  • 29 June 12:00 (on sale early 2019)
  • 29 June 18:00 (on sale early 2019)