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The National Arts Festival is back in action: A taste of what to expect

It’ll be the ultimate celebratory homecoming for audiences and the arts community as the National Arts Festival gears up to resume its live format with an immersive in-person arts experience from 23 June to 3 July in Makhanda.

  • National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022 Mnquma
  • National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022
  • National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022
  • National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022
  • National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022
  • National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022
  • National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022

The Festival will re-emerge with a carefully focused and curated experience enhanced by an irrepressible burst of Fringe spontaneity and creativity where experimentation, expression and visibility will contribute to re-igniting the South African arts ecosystem.

Dance, theatre, visual arts, music, film, illusion and edgy, cross-genre and interactive arts experiences form part of the programme.

National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022 Urban Circus
The Traffic Act from Urban Circus PHOTO by Joanna Pawelczyk

A taste of what to expect

Festival favourites like the Village Green will be a lively meet-up space with plenty of crafters and food stalls and the popular free SAfm Sundowner Concerts will be a daily fixture. The Monument will be abuzz with shows, concerts and exhibitions as well as restaurants and kiosks. Despite the lockdown years, Makhanda’s restaurant scene is still robust and growing – and The Long Table will be back, as the town welcomes the return of their valued annual visitors.

The much-anticipated works of the 2021 Standard Bank Young Artists, Buhlebezwe Siwani (Visual Art), Thando Doni (Theatre), Cara Stacey (Music), Vuma Levin (Jazz), Gavin Krastin (Performance Art) and Kristi-Leigh Gresse (Dance) will bring fresh perspectives from some of the country’s most innovative creatives.

National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022 Kristi-Leigh Gresse
Kristi-Leigh Gresse, Purgatory “a working title”

The Festival will also bring a much-needed reunion for jazz musicians who will once again gather together to jam, collaborate and share. With a big focus on local talent and local jazz excellence, the 35th National Jazz Festival Makhanda will also welcome excellent musicians from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Britain and Spain who will be collaborating with them for this very special celebration of jazz.

Amanda Black, Ringo Madlingozi and Bongeziwe Mabandla will each perform live in Makhanda for one night only during the Festival. There are also several powerful exhibitions installed this year; as well as the Fringe – a hotbed of innovation that sees seasoned pros and feisty newcomers united in the spirit of expression.

National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022 Amanda Black
Amanda Black
National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022 Ringo Madlingozi
Ringo Madlingozi

The Festival has also hosted a residency programme that has brought artists to Makhanda prior to the event to work on collaborative projects and engage with Makhanda’s local scene. Japanese artists Chikara Fujiwara and Minori Sumiyoshiyama are plotting th1eir ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style walking project Engeki Quest. Previously created in Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau, Düsseldorf, and Lausanne among other places, it’s in Makhanda for #NAF2022. Gavin Krastin, 2021 Standard Bank Young Artist for Performance Art, and a team of queer gnomes have embarked on a series of good deeds to uplift the town for his work 12 Labours – a celebration of the modern hero who activates civic works.

National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022 Engeki Quest
Orangcosong, Engeki Quest PHOTO by Hajime Kato
National Arts Festival programme line-up 2022
We Regret to Inform You

The recent upgrades, supported by the National Arts Council administered Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme, have transformed the Power Station venue into a permanent home for creatives and performers. During the Festival, a selection of exhibitions will be happening at the new creative and entrepreneurial hub.

In 2020 and 2021, the Festival found a new online audience who supported from around the world. Those who won’t be making the trip this year will still be able to enjoy an online programme again with some of our shows live-streamed from Makhanda as well as online shows created for virtual audiences to enjoy.

For more information about what to expect, what to see and how to book for the 48th National Arts Festival, visit nationalartsfestival.co.za

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