Wednesday, 19 October 2016

2017 Call for proposals


By Lindiwe Sibanyoni

The 2017 National Arts Festival intends presenting an artistic programme of bold, courageous work that engages with the curatorial themes for the 2017 National Arts Festival that will focus on the relationship between art and disruption: art as a disruptor of mainstream ways of thinking, and art in response to disruptions to the status quo.

Consideration will be given to proposals submitted by south African artists/ companies I they engage with South Africa's sociopolitical a economic and historical context; and are likely to challenge and spark lively discussion and reflection by contest in the negative legacies that South Africa has inherited, and the challenges that the country faces today.

The curatorial focus invites works that; 

• are inspired by a reflection to borders of any and all kinds;
• engage with the '#feesmustfall' and '#mustrise' movements;
• wrestle with the past to understand the present.

In short, they are looking for compelling, innovative and high-quality performances, exhibitions and  cross-disciplinary works that serve as catalysts for debate and transformation.

Proposals for performances submitted by non-South African artists / companies should demonstrate a track record of excellence. The productions should be able to offer new inspirations, innovative directions, critical or reflective narratives that can connect South African audiences with global experiences.

The National Arts Festival's Main programme is informed by the following SEVEN major programming criteria:

• Premiere of new work
The National Arts Festival presents premieres of productions and exhibitions by established and well-known South African and non-South African artists. Productions by South African artists of South African premieres that will not be presented at any South African venue for at least six months prior to the festival will be considered. Productions by non-South African artists / companies of works which have benn staged with acclaim at non-South African festivals and theatres will be considered on the proviso that the South African premiere of the work is presented at the National Arts Festival...

• Cutting Edge Work
The National Arts Festival present exciting new, cutting edge and provocative productions and exhibitions that can generate an active dialogue both in terms of its content and form.

• Collaboration & co-production of new work
The National Arts Festival will consider proposals for collaborations with South African and non-South African artists and managements and / or festivals to co-producce work that may require more than one partner for the effective funding of productions with the proviso that such productions have strong artistic merit and will have its South African premiere in Graham's town. Consideration will be given to work that explore the African continent in terms of collaborations/ themes/ texts; and advance intercontinental collaboration through cross-border engagement and / or a broad engagement with foreign national creative resident and working in South Africa.

• Multidisciplinary presentations
The National Arts Festival recognises that an increasing number of South African artists are creating work that interfaces across genres and also with different forms of media. The festival welcomes work that incorporate  cross-disciplinary collaborations and / or explore new forms of making art and / or boldly or innovatively blur the lines between genres and particularly in the way they reflect changing trends in arts practice and also in the way that such productions and/ or exhibitions will appeal to a new generation of audiences.

• Diversity
The National Arts Festival presents work that reflects the broad demographic of South African arts practice. The festival's audiences are as diverse as its artists. The festival embraces the spirit that a successful national cultural event has a responsibility to serve its audiences and artists in equal measure and to ensure that each event contributes to growing a more progressive, tolerant, and cohesive society.

• Development
The National Arts Festival creates special opportunities and platforms for newly emerging artists and historically marginalised performing arts companies to participate and grow through the festival's various incubator programmes.

• Accessibility
The National Arts Festival recognises that taking the arts into nontraditional spaces and outdoor public forums will provise audinces with "unexpected encounters with art". Artists are encouraged to think beyond the conventions of formal theatre spaces and to explore site-specific interventions that will engage with and / or challenge the historical, social, and / or cultural boundaries of Grahamstown.

• Revivals
The Festival presents a limited number of revivals or works that have been previously staged in South Africa. Strong motivation for why such work should be revived or presented at the Festival needs to be submitted in proposals. In the case of classics, preference is given to fresh takes of these works.

Proposals for any production that has been presented at the National Arts Festival (including the fringe) during the past five years will not be considered.
Proposals can be submitted to

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