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NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL: FRINGE (article first published : 2008-04-2)

A super-abundance of world-class performers and a record number of premières are striking features of the Main Programme for the National Arts Festival which will take place in Grahamstown from June 26 to July 5 2008.

“A gathering of all these incredible artists all in one place, at one time, for ten days,” said outgoing Festival Director Lynette Marais, “makes you aware of the richness of the talent in South Africa. Normally these performers are dispersed across the country and, increasingly, the world. But suddenly, at the Festival, they are all together here in Grahamstown.” At this huge annual cultural reunion, audiences catch up with the latest of the best and artists catch up with each other. “You saw it first at the Festival” is a slogan that has never been more apt than this year: every single one of the productions on the theatre programme is a South African première and there are seven world premières. The music programme features several major events that will probably never be repeated again with the same casts.

The Fringe Festival programme features a full menu of exhibitions and performance across the disciplines and genres. Big names, feisty newcomers and emerging groups from the provinces all promise to feed the audience’s collective imagination.

Around three dozen visual art shows have booked their spaces and The Transnet Village Green and Church Square precincts are a-buzz with colourful activity: one of the best free experiences at the Festival. Artefacts come in from all over Africa, making this a marketplace of craft-art. A plethora of fast-food outlets ensure that the taste buds also have an adventure.

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.

The 34th anniversary of the National Arts Festival Grahamstown takes place from June 26 to July 5 2008. It is proudly supported by The Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and The National Arts Council.

Further details are available in the free Festival Booking Kit, which will be available from selected Standard Bank branches and Computicket outlets nationwide from April 30. Booking opens on May 5. For further information contact 046 603 1103 or visit the website www.nationalartsfestival.co.za




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