Saturday, June 6, 2020
Sports And Art

National Arts Festival unpacks new digital format


Due to considerations around the Coronavirus pandemic, The National Arts Festival (NAF) announced that this year’s edition of the popular arts showcase would be held online.“This will achieve two things, first, protect the artists’ work from being downloaded or copied; and second, allow the festival to manage access to the work as most of the programme will require virtual audiences to buy tickets,” said Nicci Spalding, Technical Director.

According to Monica Newton, CEO of the National Arts Festival said the decision to go virtual was made with artists in mind. “We considered postponing but the timeline looked very uncertain. The only other time of the year to consider would have been December, which is impossibly hot in Makhanda (Previously known as Grahamstown),” said Newton.

The virtual festival will run from June 25 to July 5 and can be viewed on the National Arts Festival’s website. Each day of the festival will offer an online programme for audiences to choose from. Content includes the mixing of theatre, comedy, visual arts, workshops, talks and experiences as well as elements of the Standard Bank Creative Digital Arts Festival programme, which shares cutting-edge work in the spaces where art and technology meet.

How it works for the audience

Visitors will be able to buy ticket packages enabling them to view a selection of works. Besides the live works, they will also be able to view most of the shows at their leisure. On the other hand, there will also be an uncrated, open-access platform for artists to share work and generate revenue from ticket sales.

Zikhona Monaheng, Fringe festival Manager said: “This platform will allow anyone whose work was not chosen for the curated daily programme to put their work online and potentially make some money”. The Standard Bank Village Green will also go virtual. A digital gallery will be available so visitors and traders can engage with each other.

The festival will take a 10% handling fee to manage ticket transactions in the open-platform space, leaving artists with 90% of the takings. A call for submissions for the open-access platform will open soon. Rucera Seethal, Artistic Director said organizers are still open to ideas from artists and producers, ways to collaborate, offer resources and mentorship.

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