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2007 NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL GRAHAMSTOWN (article first published : 2007-03-27)

In a world grown increasingly angry and aggressive, individuals inevitably react by seeking meaning in the particular, the private and the personal. And the arts, harbingers of our inner lives, lead the way. The trend is clear in the Main Programme for the National Arts Festival which takes place in Grahamstown from June 28 to July 7. Several important new theatre pieces focus closely on the tender moments when two souls find common ground. The music programme is infused with the overwhelming humanity of hundreds of voices singing in unison. A vast embroidered altarpiece celebrates the joy and the beauty of creation. This is pleasure with a deeply healing purpose. Art that helps to fill in what’s missing - helps to make sense of our existence.

Now in its 33rd year, the Festival began in 1974 and has grown to be one of the leading arts festivals in southern Africa. Its objectives are to deliver excellence; encourage innovation and development in the arts by providing a platform for both established and emerging South African artists; create opportunities for collaboration with international artists; and build new audiences.

“The programme offers a representative sample of current creative preoccupations,” said Lynette Marais, Festival Director. “Our artists have extra sensitive antennae which enable them to scout out the route ahead, anticipating the way people on the ground deal with the contexts they find themselves in.” Now, more than ever, audiences and artists are turning inward, reassessing value systems, questioning the accuracy of memory, overhauling the power balance in relationships, and trading-in yesterday’s hopes and dreams for new ones.

There are no pre-selection criteria for participation in the Fringe Festival which features a full programme of exhibitions, music and performances by established artists and companies often working shoulder-to-shoulder with fresh new talents. The Fringe programme is a lucky dip where moments of electrifying “high” culture share the bag with eager-to-please entertainment and affordable take-home treasures.

And for the next generation of festinos, The Children’s Art Festival offers youngsters between the ages of 4 and 13 a stimulating creative arts experience in the safe environment of St. Andrew’s Preparatory School with adult supervision throughout each day.

(See other disciplines for festival programme news)

As the countdown to the festival begins, keep a watchful eye on this space or www.nafest.co.za




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