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FESTIVAL SHOWCASE (article first published : 2003-03-29)

There is only one place to see the best and latest work from Southern Africa – Grahamstown. The National Arts Festival is now in its 29th year and is the largest showcase for the performing arts in Africa.

In addition to the main festival presenting the cream of South African work, there is an extensive and exuberant Fringe Festival, which encompasses some of the country’s most exciting artists.

Both the main Festival and the Fringe Festival bring together theatre performances, dance, music, street theatre and exhibitions. Add to this the Film Festival, Jazz Festival, Student Theatre Festival, Studio programme (featuring work produced by artists from the Eastern Cape), craft markets and the Winter School and you can see how in late June and early July the otherwise quiet university town of Grahamstown is buzzing!

This year, we are extending a particularly warm welcome to overseas presenters and festival directors to come to Grahamstown. As well as being able to see the greatest range of English speaking work in Africa, there will be special networking sessions where artists can meet the presenters

Organised by Jan Ryan, director of UK Arts International, who has for the past many years attended the Festival and taken a number of shows abroad. In this the first year we envisage a modest start, which we hope will grow in future years.

Fancy getting your work toured outside South Africa? This new dimension to the National Arts Festival with the view to distributing South African productions more widely a field will take on a number of forms:

There will be a concerted effort to attract international presenters to the Festival. There will be the opportunity for companies and individual artists to have meetings with them during special breakfast sessions on June 30 and July 3.

There will also be an opportunity for you to show them your work in a special video screening room, as well as facilities for leaving printed material.

There will be a free workshop session on Touring Abroad. This will be run by Jan Ryan and will be a practical session on the things you need to consider when planning to take your work overseas. This will be on Wednesday 2nd July. If you would like to enrol for this session, please email janryan@ukarts.com as soon as possible.




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