Artists and performers from South Africa and beyond are invited to submit their work for the 2019 National Arts Festival Fringe. The 45th iteration of South Africa’s biggest and most diverse arts showcase will take place from 27 June to 7 July in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape.

National Arts Festival Fringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng says that the National Arts Festival Fringe will be focusing on accessibility this year. “We invite all the artists, producers and theatre organisations that produce and/or work with artists living with any disability to apply. As an open-access festival, our aim is to create more opportunities and encourage artists living with disability to showcase their talent. The Festival Office will waive the application fee for these production companies. However, there are a limited number of performance spaces available.”

Monaheng says, “We are looking for bold, exciting and interesting work – everything from experimental, genre-busting innovation to pure entertainment, family theatre and crowd-pleasing shows.”

Monaheng says the Fringe is always unexpected and even unpredictable. “We know some of the shows are going to do well with audiences, but every year there are also wonderful surprises… It’s always exciting to watch these plays come to life through the audience’s reaction.”

Fringe festivals across the world are marked by their independence, freedom of expression and experimental content – and the National Arts Festival Fringe is no different. Many well-known artists also return to the Fringe with successfully travelled work, revisiting and extending it; while other artists have been performing on the National Arts Festival Fringe for decades, bringing audience favourites.

International artists, producers and independent theatre makers both perform and scout at the National Arts Festival, often striking up collaborative ideas when they are at the Fringe.

  • Artists, musicians, singers, dancers, performance artists and other creatives can find out everything they need to know as well as  submit their applications by visiting the Artist Zone.
  • Applications close on 21 January 2019.
  • An application fee of R3 000 is payable but artists who beat the 31 December 2018 early bird deadline will receive 10% off.

The National Arts Festival programme comprises a curated and selected Main Programme and an open, unsolicited Fringe. These two key elements are supported by numerous special programmes, projects and performances that make up the entire Festival featuring hundreds of shows and thousands of performances.