MICHAL-MARÉ LINDEN: The beginning of July marked the start of The Songbird Tour – an interesting new programme that is not just about entertainment but also the mentorship and upliftment of local talent. Non-profit organisation Africa Voices Trust, which aims to grow young African musicians from disadvantaged backgrounds through practical skills and knowledge, has teamed up with Laura Burhenn of Postal Service and The Mynabirds for the tour.
LIZL LOMBAARD: The Grove Mall recently celebrated the return of the Imax screen to Pretoria.
The latest Transformers: Age of Extinction movie preview, which was shown in 3D on the new Imax screen, was - the first feature film ever to use the new Imax 3D digital camera.
JOSHUA STEIN: Artistic director for the Market Theatre and dean of AFDA Johannesburg, Malcolm Purkey, expressed his excitement and anticipation for the coming events of this year’s National Arts Festival.
“It’s the 40th anniversary and lot of effort has been put into how one commentates 40 years of Fest and so I am looking forward to seeing how that comes out. There are always lovely jazz and art exhibitions. The chances are it will be as lively and powerful as it has been in the past,” said Purkey.
HEATHER DIXON: Traditionally, a village green is piece of soft green grassland at the centre of a village or rural settlement in old England or Europe. Sometimes it may be the sight of friendly inter-village cricket matches. In Grahamstown, the ‘Village Green’, known outside of the 11 Days of Amazing as the Rhodes University Great Field, has been used for everything from parties to rugby matches.
SMANGALISO SIMELANE: With the National Arts Festival gracing Grahamstown and Rhodes University for yet another year of events, Standard Bank has teamed up with the festival to bring the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards. This year promises to be extra special as Standard Bank celebrates the 30th anniversary of sponsoring the award.
CAELA BOWMAN: Showcasing excerpts from the Broadway hit Sweet Charity, the National School of the Arts’ Dance Spectrum, promises to excite audiences with an array of dance styles. Students from The National School of Arts (NSA) have become regular performers at the National Arts Festival.
JOSHUA STEIN: The National Arts Festival always boasts a fine selection of guitar orientated music. This year the line-up is unique with fine guitarists playing music that expands out of the usual focus on jazz with the excitement around the Patlansky/Frost concert on 11 July building.
CHELSEA HAITH: Finding Beauty, an exhibition by children in Grahamstown aged 11-18 years old is running throughout the National Arts Festival at the Carinus Annex on Donkin Street and will be on display as part of the parade on 13 July. The exhibition is a project organised by the Raphael Centre for HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment.
CHRISTINA SCHILD: You might not actually understand the meaning behind Piet se Optelgoed, but maybe that is the whole point. Without much comprehensible dialogue, the two ‘man’ play is set against a backdrop of black bags, large paper coverings and an eerie clothes line.
Liezl de Kock gives a confident, comfortable performance as a deranged, revenge-hungry woman gleefully enjoying her unsettling existence in society. With an unidentified companion, who brings her interesting meals, she leads the audience from laughter to a somewhat shocked silence. This is heightened by the audio which enhances the emotion of the moment and is at times discordant.
CHRISTINA SCHILD: The Great Field has been closed off and exams forgotten; the National Arts Festival is just around the corner. Being the 40th year anniversary, the official programme may be bursting, but there is equally as much on offer in terms of the ‘town’ programme. From classic comedic acts to face-melting music, be prepared to go big this year.
Here is a personal run-down of our recommended events and the best of Fest.