National Arts Festival Calls For Artists To Participate In Festival Fringe 2021

The National Arts Festival is planning for a hybrid edition in July 2021 with a digital (online) festival and live elements as allowed within the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions. The National Arts Festival has opened the call for artists to express their interest in participating in the 2021 National Arts Festival Fringe. 

A scene from Little Red Riding Hood and the Bad Metaphors, a live production that was staged at the 2019 National Arts Festival in Makhanda.

The Festival went online last year when the pandemic restricted gatherings and prevented a live festival from taking place. The month-long digital 2020 Virtual National Arts Festival drew over 80 000 local and international visitors to the Festival site and showcased productions that included Whatsapp plays, robot-sketched portrait sessions, music concerts, theatre, dance, documentaries, retrospectives and more.

The National Arts Festival put out a call late last year for artists to propose works for the curated programme of the 2021 Festival. Now the Festival is asking artists who are interested in presenting work on the 2021 Fringe to tell them more about their ideas for live and digital work that could be part of the Fringe. 

Singer Nipho Hurd in concert on the Virtual Fringe at the 2020 Virtual National Arts Festival.

The Fringe has been an important catalyst for the careers of many artists over the years. It focuses on work that has been created and produced independently of the Festival and not curated by the Festival’s Artistic Director and Committee. Traditionally it is the space where independent artists have the freedom to experiment, test work on audiences and gain visibility with other artists, producers and creators. 

The National Arts Festival has waived the registration fee for artists to enter their work on the Festival’s online platform, the vFringe, and there are no commitments to payment needed when artists or producers send in an Expression of Interest. The Festival team is working to create low cost production packages to help make it more affordable for artists, who have been hard-hit by the impact of Covid-19, to participate. 

National Arts Festival CEO Monica Newton notes that it’s a precarious time for the arts with so few platforms for work threatening not only the livelihoods of artists, producers, writers and technicians in the sector but also restricting opportunities for artists to create and present new work. “The National Arts Festival is hoping that we can continue to play our part by providing a platform where artists can be seen and heard, regardless of circumstance. Now more than ever, artists need spaces where their ideas and contributions can be created and experienced by audiences in South Africa and across the world. We are living in strange and uncertain times but, as was the case last year, we know we can host the Festival by being adaptable and resilient.”

Artists can express their interest in being part of the National Arts Festival’s Fringe by visiting the website with the option of registering to attend an informative webinar about the 2021 Fringe on Thursday, 4 February at 2pm. 

For more details artists can also follow the social media channels @artsfestival (Twitter) and @NationalArtsFestival on Facebook and Instagram
To submit a National Arts Festival Expression of Interest Fringe form, artists can visit  the Festival’s website

Follow the National Arts Festival on:

Twitter: @artsfestival
Instagram: @nationalartsfestival

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