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National Arts Festival calls for proposals for 2016

Published on 22 August 2015

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][FESTIVAL NEWS] The National Arts Festival (NAF) is calling for proposals for the 2016 Main programme, which runs from 30 June to 10 July next year.

‘We are looking for re-imaginations of classics to bold new premieres and the NAF is a dynamic platform that gives artists the opportunity to creatively experiment and engage with the human spirit,’ says Festival Artistic Director Ismail Mahomed. ‘With productions that are informed by our complex and contested histories to productions that can inspire our collective optimism about contemporary society, the National Arts Festival Main programme is a celebration of how artists choose to comment and critique our society in compelling and creative ways.

‘The National Arts Festival originated in 1974 as the Shakespeare festival and, with the 400th anniversary of his death next year, will artists choose to make the 2016 Festival a memorable year in which Shakespeare is buried for good or reincarnated in new ways?’ Mahomed asks. ‘Will the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March to Pretoria inspire women writers, directors and other artists to dominate the 2016 Main programme? Or, with the 40th anniversary next year of the Soweto Uprising, will artists create work that is politically inspired to challenge current realities?’

The NAF call for proposals is an open canvas. It gives artists the opportunity to shape our cultural conversations.

Artists, companies and presenters can download a proposal brief from the Festival’s website [Find it here:] Note the new closing date.

  • Proposals must reach the Artistic Director no later than Friday 11 September 2015.
  • All proposals must be submitted as per the proposal brief that is available on the Festival’s website
  • Enquiries should be addressed to NAF Artistic Director Ismail Mahomed on +27 (46) 603 1103 or by email at
  • Winners of the Standard Bank Ovation Awards will receive written invitations to submit proposals for the 2016 Arena programme.
  • Fringe applications for next year will be available in October 2015. Registration will close on Friday 22 January 2016. Forms and information booklets will be available online. Enquiries should be addressed to Zikhona Nweba, the Fringe Manager, on +27 (46) 603 1177 or email at



The National Arts Festival is grateful to its presenting sponsors: Standard Bank, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the Department of Arts and Culture, and the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture. City Press and M-Net are our media partners.



The National Arts Festival is an important event on the South African cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. This year it runs from 2 to 12 July 2015 in the small university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, tours (of the city and surrounding historic places) as well as a children’s arts festival. As no censorship or artistic restraint has ever been imposed on works presented in Grahamstown, the Festival served as an important forum for political and protest theatre during the height of the apartheid era, and it continues to offer an opportunity for experimentation across the arts spectrum. Its significance as a forum for new ideas and an indicator of future trends in the arts cannot be underestimated.




The Famous Idea

CONTACT: Gilly Hemphill

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22 August 2015