With the 2021 National Arts Festival in full-swing, offering an array of theatre, dance, visual arts, talks, webinars and more, Creative Feel took some time to chat to CEO Monica Newton about their plans for this year’s iteration including their amazing turn-around time, changing the festival programme to a virtual format with only 10 days before its official opening, due to the announcement of Lockdown Level 4 restrictions. You can watch the full interview or listen to the audio.
In the interview, Newtown speaks on the efforts involved in creating the 2021 experience and effectively using a virtual platform to generate income for artists. She also touches on digital art, usage rights and copyrighting online work as well as the value of virtual artistic works and revenue streams. Queries around staying rooted in the Eastern Cape and a return to Makhanda as a live festival, as well as the opportunity of using the National Arts Festival as an experimental platform to showcase the process of artistic works, are also addressed.
As for her top picks, ‘that’s like asking me about my favourite children’ she says, but concedes that she’s looking forward to Commission Continua, as well as the jazz programme, specifically Eastern Cape born Dumza Maswana’s work (a little bias since she’s now officially based there *wink wink*). Other highlights include an incredible dance piece by Lulu Mlangeni, Standard Bank Young Artist (SBYA) for Dance 2020, and another SBYA winner Jefferson Tshabalala who ‘brings us an opera’ exploring and expanding his repertoire in a unique and incredible way.
But ‘there’s a lot and as always, there’s something for everyone because it really is a multidisciplinary festival… so I’m going to be really busy over July and I challenge everybody to join us. We can keep you busy for the whole of July for the festival, so join us!’Monica Newton, CEO National Arts Festival