Creative disruption at the NAF

NAF
Khanyisile Mbongwa | Umnikelo Oshisiwe-ibandla lomlindo

Versatile and exciting young theatre makers and artists will break new ground and excavate forgotten histories this year in Grahamstown, premiering a number of new works.

Featuring new works from theatrical firebrands alongside Festival favourites such as the Gala Concert, presented this year by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, visitors to this year’s Festival can expect a thrilling mix of new and familiar in a programme that both reflects and challenges South African society. ‘Creative disruption has served as the backbone for building this year’s core programme – and the response has been extraordinary,’ says National Arts Festival Executive Producer Ashraf Johaardien, who has been working with the 20-member Artistic Committee to put together this year’s programme. The National Arts Festival is made up of a number of programmes and events, including the curated Main; the open-access Fringe; and the Arena, which gives award-winning works a platform at the continent’s biggest cultural event.

A number of the works selected for the Main programme refuse to sit quietly in any one genre – and that will be the first clue that something is in flux

‘A number of the works selected for the Main programme refuse to sit quietly in any one genre – and that will be the first clue that something is in flux,’ says Johaardien. ‘Multi-sensory, immersive works that cut across disciplines signal a desire by the artists to engage audiences in new and unconventional ways. Other works will disrupt dominant historical narratives by offering new lenses for looking at the past and reclaiming stories previously relegated to the margins.’

Multi-sensory, immersive works that cut across disciplines signal a desire by the artists to engage audiences in new and unconventional ways

‘Social orders are at the core of the 2017 National Arts Festival’s Main dance programme,’ says Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, convenor of the Artistic Committee’s dance panel of the line-up that explores and reflects a globally shifting balance of power through the eyes of artists working independently or collectively within the South African context. ‘Despite a tough arts funding environment, the programme we’re able to offer still represents the cutting-edge of performance excellence in South Africa. Our artists, institutions and producers are doing amazing things in every corner of the country, and the programme that Ashraf and the Committee have shaped, will once again be a celebration of the best of this,’ says Tony Lankester, the CEO of the National Arts Festival. Hazel Chimhandamba, Head of Group Sponsorships for Standard Bank, who have been long-standing sponsors of the festival, says, ‘With the calibre of artists on the programme for the National Arts Festival this year, we can expect to be stirred by works that reflect creatively on our past, stimulate dialogue about our present, and inspire conversation about our collective dreams that drive innovation and change.’

Our artists, institutions and producers are doing amazing things in every corner of the country, and the programme that Ashraf and the Committee have shaped, will once again be a celebration of the best of this

The National Arts Festival runs from 29 June to 9 July 2017. For the full programme, click here or visit the NAF website.

 

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