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SHOWCASE AT NAF (article first published : 2003-04-11)

For anyone interested in the arts whether it be from a national or international viewpoint, there is still only one place to see the best and latest work from Southern Africa. Taking place in Grahamstown from June 27 to Juy 5, 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 countryís 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 itís easy to see why the normally quiet university town of Grahamstown is buzzing at festival time!

This year, the organisers extend 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

The organiser of this project is Jan Ryan, director of UK Arts International, who has attended the Festival for many years and taken a number of shows abroad. Although the first year is anticipated to attract a modest response, it is hoped this 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 people to show them their 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 to be considered when planning to take work overseas. This will be on July 2. Those wanting to enrol for this session should e-mail janryan@ukarts.com as soon as possible.




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