30 June 2011
On 30 June 2011 the biggest Arts event in South Africa, known as the National Arts Festival, will be celebrating 37 years since its inception in 1974. This annual event is one of the most important events in the South African cultural calendar, as it dates back to 1974 when the 1820 Settlers National Monument was officially opened. With the exception of 1975, the National Arts Festival has been staged every year, running for 10 days in June and July. It consists of a Main programme and Fringe programmes, all of which are administered by the National Arts Festival Office. Programmes comprise of drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fairs, workshops, tours and a children's arts festival. The event has always been open to all irrespective of race, colour, sex or creed. As no censorship or artistic restraint has ever been imposed on works presented in Grahamstown, the Festival served as an important forum for political and protest theatre during the height of the apartheid era, and it still offers an opportunity for experimentation across the arts spectrum. The National Arts Festival’s significance as a forum for innovative ideas and an indicator of future developments in the arts industry cannot be underrated. References: Anon, (n.d.), ‘Information on Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa,’from Conference Venues, [online] Available at www.conference-venues.co.za[Accessed 17 May 2011] Anon, (n.d), Grahamstown, Frontier Countryfrom SA venues.com, [online] Available athttp://www.sa-venues.com/[Accessed 22 June 2011] Ana, (n.d.), National Arts Festival Reports Another Year of Growth, from National Arts Festival, [online] Available at http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/[Accessed 22 June 2011]