National Arts Festival calls for proposals for 2016


With another successful Festival behind us, The National Arts Festival (NAF) is calling for proposals for the 2016 Main programme which runs from 30 June to 10 July 2016.

Artistic Director Ismail Mahomed explains, “We are looking for re-imaginations of classics to bold new premieres and the NAF is a dynamic platform that gives artists the opportunity to creatively experiment and engage with the human spirit. With productions that are informed by our complex and contested histories to productions that can inspire our collective optimism about contemporary society, the National Arts Festival Main programme is a celebration of how artists choose to comment and critique our society in compelling and creative ways.”

He continues, “The National Arts Festival originated in 1974 as Shakespeare festival and with the 400th anniversary of his death next year, will artists choose to make the 2016 Festival a memorable year in which Shakespeare is buried for good or reincarnated in new ways? Will the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March to Pretoria inspire women writers, directors and other artists to dominate the 2016 Main programme? Or, with the 40th anniversary next year of the Soweto Uprising, will artists create work that is politically inspired to challenge current realities? The NAF call for proposals is an open canvas. It gives artists the opportunity to shape our cultural conversations.”

Artists, companies and presenters can download a proposal brief from the Festival’s website. Proposals must reach the Artistic Director no later than Friday 11 September 2015. All proposals must be submitted as per the proposal brief that is available on the Festival’s website Enquiries should be addressed to the Artistic Director, Ismail Mahomed, on 046 603 1103 or by email at

Winners of the Standard Bank Ovation Awards will receive written invitations to submit proposals for the 2016 Arena programme.

Fringe applications will be available in October 2015 and registration will close on Friday 22 January 2016. Forms and information booklets will be available on-line at Enquiries should be addressed to the Fringe Manager, Zikhona Nweba, on 046 603 1177 or by email at




The National Arts Festival is an important event on the South African cultural calendar,

and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. This year it runs

from 2 to 12 July 2015 in the small university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz,

visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair,

workshops, tours (of the city and surrounding historic places) as well as a children’s arts

festival. 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 continues to offer an opportunity

for experimentation across the arts spectrum. Its significance as a forum for new ideas

and an indicator of future trends in the arts cannot be underestimated.


National Arts Festival

Website: and