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Monday, April 9, 2018


(The cast of Mamela Nyamza's “Phuma-Langa”)
(Image by Christo Doherty)

The National Arts Festival is once again offering those planning on travelling to Grahamstown the chance to snap up some hot tickets before the full programme goes on sale on May 7, with its ‘Early Bird’ booking promotion. A selection of shows is on sale at with more being added over the next few weeks.

The National Arts Festival presents a packed programme of incredible shows, discussions, public art, entertainment and more! The Festival takes place from June 28 to July 8, 2018, in Grahamstown.

On sale now are three must-see productions – one directed and choreographed by this year’s Featured Artist, Mamela Nyamza; one from Canadian performer Alon Nashman whose multiple appearances over the years have earned him a strong following among Grahamstown regulars; and acclaimed director Jade Bowers’ interpretation of a Caine Prize winning text.

“We’re going to be using the month before we open full booking to turn the spotlight on some of the productions that demonstrate the breadth and depth of this year’s Festival offering,” said National Arts Festival CEO Tony Lankester. “In the mix will be some Festival favourites together with some of the new, innovative work we’re presenting this year, as well as one or two surprises.”

“By going on sale with these shows early we’re giving those who have already made the decision to come to Grahamstown the chance to lock some highlights into their schedule; and we’re giving those who haven’t yet made their minds up even more reason to join us,” he added.

July 2 to 4, 2018
Choreographed and directed by this year’s Featured Artist, Mamela Nyamza, the provocative Phuma-Langa is presented by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative.
Our young democracy is at a crossroads at all social levels. Race relations intolerance is at its peak, and our moral fibre as a nation is at its lowest due to political impasse and chronic corruption. This work is a call for a construction of the soul, and indeed a recall for a renewed reconciliation among all South Africans.
Nyamza drew inspiration from the Ndebele culture among other diverse historical South African experiences, as a way of depicting renewed social cohesion. “My hope is to be innovative in this production from the performances to the message I want to get across. I am trying to reach a milestone where we can revive and promote the diminishing good within our various cultures,” Nyamza says.
Performed by Nicholas Aphane, Shawn Mothupi, Lorin Sookool, Thulani ‘Latish’ Mgidi, Nomfundo Hlongwa, Francesca Matthys, and with costume design by Sasha Ehlers and lighting designed by Thabo Pule, this production was funded by the National Lotteries Commission.
Tickets R80/R75 – Book

Some reviews of the work:

July 1 to 3, 2018
Based on the Caine prize-winning short story from Mary Watson’s collection called Moss, and directed by Naledi award winning director and former Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre (2016), Jade Bowers, Jungfrau is a brand-new performance work about families and the secrets that they hide.
The story has been adapted for the stage by acclaimed actress and writer Ameera Patel who was also a Naledi Award recipient for Best Supporting Actress in 2017.
Set in Redhill, Cape Town, before apartheid’s forced removals, Jungfrau takes a look behind ‘closed doors’ and uncovers one family’s secrets. All of the characters strive to live by their own unique versions of morality but their reliance and desperate need for each other complicates matters. Evelyn, a young girl longing for her mother’s attention and time, finds herself idolising her aunt Jessica and wanting to please her father, Stephen. Stephen and Jessica try to comfort Evelyn but the lines get crossed and the sins start to boil over…
Presented in partnership with Festival Theaterformen (Germany)
Tickets R80 / R75:
Book -

July 2 to 4 2018
Canadian theatre company Theaturtle brings Alphonse to the National Arts Festival for its South African debut after touring festivals and theatre stages internationally.
Alphonse is lost, walking along a country road, weaving an intricate web of stories, while everyone is searching for him: parents, friends, teachers, the police. What they find is the thing we often give up in order to grow up. A weave of stories within stories, with characters ranging from a regal vacuum cleaner to a melancholy cave. One man, 27 characters, and loads of popcorn!
Made possible with support from the Canadian High Commission and Canada Council for the Arts, Alphonse is directed and performed by Alon Nashman and the play has garnered some rave reviews:
With the impeccable delivery of Mouawads writing, Nashman practices storytelling at its finest. Edinburgh Spotlight
Remarkable staging of Wajdi Mouawads beautifully-written script. CBC Manitoba
A Runaway Theatrical Success. Globe and Mail, Toronto
Heartpoundingly great theatre. Toronto Star
Unmissable show of genius for all ages. BBC
Its appeal, like the story itself, reaches out across the generations. The Scotsman, Edinburgh
Theres no more enchanting show in town” – NOW Magazine, Toronto Dream (Resurgence), and If Jesus Met Nanabush (De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre).
R80 / R75: Book:

For more information about the National Arts Festival 2018 and for all the latest news on the programme click on the banner advert at the top of this page or visit:

Twitter: @artsfestival
Instagram: @nationalartsfestival
Use the hashtag #NAF18

May 7: The full National Arts Festival programme will go live online and all shows will open for booking
Mid-May: The National Arts Festival printed programme will be available at select Exclusive Books and Standard Bank branches, as well as at some theatres across South Africa.

28 June – 8 July
For information on accommodation and more

The Artistic Committee, comprising experts in various disciplines, selects the content of the Main programme. Work from both within and outside South Africa is considered, with the following criteria in mind: the artistic merits of any submission; the creation of a varied and balanced programme and the costs involved.