Live Performance Signals a Reboot for the Arts.

The National Arts Festival will resume their live event this year with strict compliance to Covid regulations. The entire Festival will focus around a Covid reality because the virus could still be with us for quite some time.

The National Arts Festival Experience comprises an 11-day live Festival in Makhanda from 8-18 July, a series of live shows, called Standard Bank Presents, in Cape Town, East London, Johannesburg and Durban from 17 June-4 July and an Online Festival during the month of July.

The Festival will be strictly enforcing the wearing of masks, hand sanitizing, temperature screening and spaced apart seating. No food and drink will be allowed inside of venues and each venue will be thoroughly sanitized after each performance. To reduce physical contact, the ticketing will be paperless and digital payment methods will be favoured. All Covid protocols will be enforced backstage too and staff will undergo daily symptom screenings.

The Festival is working closely with SAPS (SA Police Services) and the Joint Operating Committee in Makhanda to deliver the live experience. The partner venues for the Standard Bank Presents shows in cities are experienced in staging live shows within Covid restrictions and the Festival team will be on site to add further oversight and capacity and ensure all protocols are met.

The National Arts Festival team have been holding events of up to 100 audience members in Makhanda over the past year and the technical team also successfully produced the on-site filming of 113 shows safely.

Should circumstances change and we enter another hard lockdown, the Festival will migrate to a fully online format but the team really hope that this won’t be the case. Online work will continue to form a big part of the Festival however, The National Arts Festival Experience’s hybrid format is really exciting because it does reach so many new audiences and they look forward to sharing South African work with an international audience again. Thanks to last year’s online festival, some of our talent was picked up by other international festivals and artists secured invitations to future appearances at Edinburgh Festival and off-Broadway theatre. This has the potential to be a really exciting re-emergence for the arts as live and online blend into a layered, multi-disciplinary experience with significant reach.

Important Dates:

The Standard Bank Presents showcase takes place in various cities from 17 June-4 July.

The National Arts Fesival’s Makhanda Live will take place in Makhanda from 8-18 July 2021.

The Online National Arts Festival takes place during the month of July on the Festival website