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NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL (article first published : 2002-02-11)

This year’s festival in Grahamstown takes place from June 29 to July 6, the first year without Standard Bank having the naming rights to the event after the serious cutback of their sponsorship.

The National Arts Festival is described as a “one-stop shop for all that is new and happening on the national arts scene. Be there and be in the know.” Certainly, the festival is recognised as the fount of new directions, the place where productions are “tried out” to a dedicated arts audience before presenting them to the public at large. It also offers time to focus on the changing art scene in all its disciplines and a chance to identify developing trends.

The historic town of Grahamstown, normally fairly staid and dignified, becomes a hub of organised chaos and a riot of creativity over the festival period. Every available wall and window space is plastered with posters, parking is a nightmare and the smell of boerewors rolls pervades the air!

Once again the Main and Fringe programmes offer rich and varied fare. There are talks and walkabouts with experts and late night debates in eateries, pubs and coffee bars. Added to that is Street Theatre, Sundowner concerts and dozens of exhibitions.

The line up for the Main programme will be announced in early March. The Booking Kit, a comprehensive guide to what's on, where to stay and how to get there will be available in mid-April. The Fringe Booking Kit giving details of all the shows and exhibitions that will be presented on the Festival Fringe will be available in mid-May.

Performing and visual artists who would like to participate in the 2002 Festival Fringe may request registration forms to be either posted or e-mailed by contacting the Festival Office (see contact details). Together with the Fringe registration forms is a booklet containing all the necessary information and conditions for participation in the 2002 Festival Fringe.

The Fringe has no restrictions or selection criteria other than the deadline dates. “We believe that your commitment to the work, which you have created, is justification enough for its appearance at this, our country's premier cultural event!” says Festival management. “With the growing international interest in the National Arts Festival it is one of the few opportunities offered in South Africa of "being discovered"!” Closing date for registration is March 8.

Join the Friends of the Festival mailing list by filling in and returning the coupon to be found at www.nafest.co.za) or join the free mailing list and you will receive both the Main and Fringe Booking Kits as soon as they become available. Otherwise it may simply be downloaded from the website to be studied at leisure.

Contact the festival office at National Arts Festival, PO Box 304, Grahamstown 6140 or phone 046 603-1103, fax: 046 622-3082 or e-mail: info@nafest.co.za




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