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The NAF announces 2022 festival dates, hints at possible return to in-person format

The 48th National Arts Festival (NAF) will take place from 23 June to 3 July 2022 and organisers are hoping it will be back to the normal in-person format. “It’s been two years of the unexpected and unpredictable, a journey that has taken us into new formats and ways of delivering work. We’ve developed skills and forged new partnerships helping us to rethink the festival in ways we maybe wouldn’t have otherwise, but we are looking forward to a return to our live Makhanda experience,” says CEO, Monica Newton.

The festival is, however, realistic about the rapid changes in circumstance that the pandemic can bring. Newton adds: “There will be a plan B and we’re also looking at how we can deliver our live festival in a way that balances safety with the spontaneity that a festival inspires.

Much can happen between now and June 2022, so we’re starting on our planning cycle and adjusting as the environment evolves.”

Calls for proposals

The NAF is also calling on artists across all disciplines to submit their proposals for the Live Curated programme via the online application form by Friday, 12 November. The call is for finished works that are for live production only, the NAF said. The call for the 2022 National Arts Festival Fringe will be announced separately, and another call will also go out for online work early in 2022.

The NAF artistic director, Rucera Seethal said that they are ready to engage with artists about the 2022 edition of the festival and they are “planning more artists residencies in Makhanda next year and look forward to this immersive extension of the festival’s impact”.

Currently, live festivals and events are enjoying a revival internationally, particularly where restrictions are being relaxed due to high vaccine prevalence. Locally, the South African Football Association (Safa) allowed vaccinated fans at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg when Bafana Bafana faced Ethiopia in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 12 October.

Newton says they will continue to watch this space, paying close attention to a changing regulatory environment. “We will work within the regulations to deliver the best and safest possible festival with all the excitement of a return to community, creativity and possibility that a live NAF brings,” she concludes.

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