national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, May 30, 2020


(Pic by John Hogg)

The Virtual National Arts Festival programme is slowly starting to emerge – it has been cocooned away as the Curatorial Committee got to grips with reimagining what this festival could become. Now, just short of 30 days before ‘lift-off’, the organisers are leaning in to its complexities.

The Festival’s website is readying itself to become a virtual stage: all events will be accessed through the website portal – both curated work and un-selected ‘fringe’ events. The Curated Programme is a schedule of events that will be released each day from June 25 to July 5, 2020.

These daily programmes will consist of pre-recorded performances (theatre, music, dance), films, live broadcasts, visual art ‘walkabouts’, workshops, and more. These programmes have been carefully curated around a theme and the preamble to each day’s programme will provide the framework for that day’s offerings.

“The Virtual Fringe (vFringe) is a pay-per-view platform where anything goes! Well, almost. We will be carefully monitoring submissions to make sure they’re in line with universally accepted online presentation standards. But, that said, similarly to the Fringe in Makhanda, this is where you will find artists experimenting with their creative instincts – bending the rules to fit this new world. Here you’ll find comedy, performance art, cabaret, magic (of course) and lots more. Tickets will be priced from R25 and we hope you’ll support all our artists as they, together with you, explore this new digital space,” says the Curatorial Committee.

Read more about how it will all fit together on website:

Deadline for T-shirt designs: May 31 2020.

Online exhibitions open infinite possibilities

While there are many changes ahead as the National Arts Festival moves into the digital realm, visual art remains a constant on the programme. A wide-ranging and eclectic collection of works from South Africa and beyond will be available to view and explore online between 25 June and 5 July.

Using a variety of technologies, the curated programme of the Virtual National Arts Festival includes 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art Blessing Ngobeni; Pitika Ntuli’s solo exhibition Azibuyele Emasisweni (Return to the Source), which features works sculpted in bone; and Phumulani Ntuli’s Frequencies of a Birthmark_Episode 1, a Creative Digital Arts exhibition that explores clan name lineage and histories in a virtual reality architectural walkthrough. This is just a taste of the selection of works soon to be announced.

There will also be a vibrant visual art element on the vFringe this year, with artists invited to exhibit their work online on a new-look, multifunctional National Arts Festival website that is currently under wraps.
Win a R5,000 cash prize and an all-access pass to #VNAF2020 with your design for the Festival souvenir T-shirt.
Deadline extended to midnight May 31, 2020
Sign-up here to get the details.


Opportunities for artists

THE FRINGE IN 2020: Artists wishing to take part in the vFringe, a new digital platform created especially for artists to showcase their work as part of the Virtual National Arts Festival as well as earn an income online, should visit the Artist Zone on the NAF website for more information.

VISUAL ART ON THE vFRINGE: Visual artists who would like to exhibit their work on the new-look National Arts Festival website as part of the online vFringe galleries should get in touch as soon as possible. Find out the details and fill in the online form here:

MARKETING YOUR WORK ONLINE: You can make the work but then comes the marketing! To help you figure out how to get more clicks on your online show, we’ve assembled a squad of extraordinary marketers and strategists to give you the best advice for marketing online. Join National Arts Festival Communications Manager Sascha Polkey as she hosts a discussion on the best approaches to promote your work online. TODAY Friday May 29 at 14h00. Register here

VIRTUAL GREEN: Crafters, creators and resellers can pitch their digital stalls on our website walls. Find out more and apply to be part of it by filling in the online form here. We'll be hosting a webinar about participating in the online market next Friday June 5 at 14h00. Register here

(To link direct to the NAF site click on the large banner that runs across the top of this blog or visit or visit Facebook:; Twitter: @artsfestival or Instagram: nationalartsfestival)