Virtual National Arts Festival

Thursday Jun 25 - Thursday Jul 16    
The annual National Arts Festival, held every winter in Grahamstown, is South Africa's biggest arts festival with thousands of festivalgoers descending on the small town year on year to enjoy dozens of theatre, dance and musical performances ranging from major drama productions starring some of the biggest names in theatre to small, edgy fringe shows by companies from across the country.

Due to the ongoing global crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, for the first time ever, this year the National Arts Festival will be happening entirely online.

This year's virtual National Arts Festival, happening online from June 25 to July 16, promises to present work "that speaks to these unique times", and features the results of many new collaborations and experimental forms. 

The works featured in the online festival include feature and documentary films, radio plays, 'digital' plays, professional recordings of plays and dance performances that have premiered elsewhere in the country, live concerts recorded at home or at secluded locked down venues and a huge selection of professional webinars, panel discussions and workshops focused on the arts.

Highlights of the vNAF programme include:

Fri Jun 26: Pest Control, a layered protest work by former NAF Featured Artist and outspoken activist Mamela Nyamza about the bureaucracy of South African cultural institutes,
From Jul 1: Verdi's Macbeth, a radical take on Shakespeare’s story of ambition, treachery and witchcraft by the always inventive Third World Bunfight,
From Fri Jun 26: The Very Big Comedy Show with Rob van Vuuren, Lindy Johnson, Alan Committie, Kagiso Lediga, Robby Collins and Tumi Morake 
Season 7 of William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea which is complemented by two new works and a live webinar discussion with William Kentridge, Phala Ookeditse Phala and Nhlanhla Mahlangu. 

Look out too for a broad collection of interesting webinars and workshops as part of The Creativate Digital Arts Festival which this year focuses on sharing skills, thoughts and ideas around the future of the digital space as a platform for the arts.

The annual Standard Bank Jazz festival also goes online with performances by the likes of Gloria Bosman, Vuma Levin, Spha Mdladose and Thandiswa Mazwai. 


To maintain the festival as a space that is dedicated to supporting the arts and artists, the virtual National Arts Festival does have a ticketing system in place. Buy a day ticket for R60 and watch as many performances as you want on a single day, or buy a R600 festival pass for the whole two-week festival and dip in and out of the programme whenever you feel like it.

Ticket and pass holders can return to the platform at any time until the July 16 to watch on-demand shows. vFringe tickets (single purchases) can be bought up until 31 July. 

View the full programme of performances and ticketing details here on the National Arts Festival website.


Jun 25 2020 - Jul 16 2020

Price/Additional Info

Day tickets R60, festival pass R600

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