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Thursday, November 19, 2015


Deadline: December 15, 2015, & January 15, 2016

Are you a frustrated thespian with a play burning a hole in your pocket? Perhaps a seasoned professional drowning in corporate gigs and yearning for the magic of the stage? A wannabe, gottabe music sensation in the making… a community group looking to take the world by storm?

The National Arts Festival Fringe is where you could find fame and glory in 2016. Registration is now open for Africa’s largest open-access Festival, which will take place in Grahamstown from June 30 until July 10, 2016.

“We’re looking for actors, singers, comedians, poets, and anyone who wants to show off their talent to an appreciative and knowledgeable audience,” said Fringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng.

The Festival’s website at contains all the necessary info guides and application forms, and registration is open until January 15, 2016.

For the first time, the Festival is offering those who apply before December 15 this year an early bird discount.

“The Fringe is South Africa’s only truly open platform for artists – there is no selection process and everyone who believes in their work is welcome to take part,” Monaheng adds. “It attracts artists from all over South Africa and from across our borders. International representation at the Fringe has grown steadily since the inception of the World Fringe Alliance – of which the National Arts Festival is a founding member. The Alliance is responsible for bringing in producers from Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Prague, Brighton, Perth, Adelaide and New York looking for work to showcase at their festivals, creating scope for productions to extend their footprint beyond 11 days in Grahamstown to countrywide tours and international seasons.”

Festival Artistic Director Ismail Mahomed notes that it’s not easy, though: “With over 400 production companies vying for the spotlight it can be a tough couple of weeks. But with careful marketing, a good concept, and, above all else, a fabulous production to set tongues wagging, productions can increase their chances of success.”

Another part of the charm of Grahamstown is the opportunities it offers artists – both those new to the game and old hands. Monaheng explains: “The Fringe offers artists the unique opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow artists, directors, producers – and many a partnership has been formed over a beer at the Long Table. With everyone on an equal footing on the Fringe, artists can learn from each other, swap stories, offer advice, and make connections that can sometimes have a lasting effect on their professional careers.”

The National Lotteries Commission has supported the Fringe for a number of years and their contribution helps keep access to the Fringe open and lowers the economic barrier to entry.

“Festivals in general are a great showcase opportunity for our artists, and the Grahamstown Fringe in particular plays such an important role in the careers of so many artists,” says Mahomed. “The Lottery’s support of it is predicated on widening access and allowing as many artists as possible to take the stage.

“So – make 2016 the year. Head off to the website, read the info guides, and take a leap of faith. We’ll see you from the bleachers in Grahamstown next year – June 30 to July 10 2016.”

Fringe Info guides and application forms are available from for visual art, theatre, film and contemporary music. Chat to the Fringe Team on 046 603 1103/ 1177 or email