South African Cultural Observatory

National Arts Festival

29 JUN 2017 - 09 JUL 2017
Category: Multi discipline event - arts, culture & heritage
Region: Eastern Cape
Town: Grahamstown
Cover Charge:
Contact Details: Tel : +27 (0) 46 603 1103 Fax : +27 (0) 46 622 3082
Booking Details: For bookings, queries and assistance Call Centre : 0860 002 004 Fax : 086 233 2122


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.

Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for 11 days in the small university city of Grahamstown, which is situated in the Eastern Cape, 130km from Port Elizabeth.

The Festival comprises a Main and a Fringe programme, which are both administered by the National Arts Festival Office. The Festival is reliant on sponsorship with the core sponsors being the Department of Arts and Culture, the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and the Office of the Premier, and Standard Bank of South Africa. Media partners include M-Net and City Press newspaper.

The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, and a children’s arts festival.

The event has always been open to all regardless 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. Its significance as a forum for new ideas and an indicator of future trends in the arts cannot be underestimated.


Venue Name: Grahamstown
Street Address: National Arts Festival
1820 Settlers Monument
Fort Selwyn Drive
Grahamstown 6139
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