As the anticipation builds for this year’s National Arts Festival, which runs from 28 June to 8 July, we’ll be sharing the shows confirmed for the Main programme. We will be updating this list regularly, so make sure you visit our platforms daily to find out the latest.

  • For an insider’s look at the programme, subscribe to our new magazine, FEST 44.
  • That full line-up for this year’s National Arts Festival will only be released when bookings open at the beginning of May. 

2018 Main programme

  • HATCHED – Featured Artist for 2018 Mamela Nyamza will present her work on the Main programme, including HATCHEDa retrospective piece about becoming a mother, and PHUMA-LANGA, which looks at the revival of language, art and culture.
  • Steven Cohen’s put your heart under your feet … and walk! / to Elu – ‘An intense meditation on loss, grief and absence, following the death of Cohen’s partner and artistic collaborator, the choreographer Elu.’
  • Wajdi Mouawad’s ALPHONSE – In this dazzling solo play ALPHONSE,Wajdi Mouawad contemplates a meeting between the grown-up Alphonse and the child Alphonse on a journey that provokes reflection on the loss of freedom and imagination for the sake of reason.
  • Greg MacArthur’s A CITY – Presented as a gallery installation or tableaux vivant, A CITY is an intimate, personal study of four artists/friends, who tell the story of a famous friend who died under mysterious circumstances, and how he transformed them.
  • JUNGFRAU – Based on the Caine prize-winning short story from Mary Watson’s collection Moss, this is a performance work about families and the secrets they hide.
  • Boris Nikitin’s HAMLET – A mix of experimental documentary performance and queer music-theatre, performer and electropunk-musician Julian Meding takes on the role of a contemporary Hamlet rebelling against reality.
  • STAGED – Creating a national platform that aims to nurture and showcase new plays and professional talent. Featured productions include Wynne Bredenkamp’s AT THE EDGE OF THE LIGHT (South Africa), Joakim Daun’s THE INCIDENT (Sweden/Zimbabwe/South Africa) and Greg MacArthur’s A CITY (Canada/South Africa).
  • THE LITTLE PRINCE – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s philosophical contemplation of loneliness, friendship, adulthood and authority retold for the stage, with choreography by the Art Synergy Circus School.
  • UK National Theatre’s LIVE THEATRE RECORDINGS – The National Arts Festival has also secured the rights to screen recordings  include ANGELS IN AMERICA, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? and HAMLET.
  • GALA CONCERTTHE EASTERN CAPE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA conducted by Richard Cock will perform on 1 July at the Guy Butler Theatre.

The Arena in 2018

  • J BOBS LIVE – LOCATION LEKEYSHINI LOKASIE – A unique game show that examines, celebrates, critiques and reflects poignantly on the vast lived experiences of the many South African townships. Featuring Jefferson Tshababalala, Phillip Dikotla, Rethabile Mothobi and Nontobeko Mkhatswha. 
  • PIECES OF AN AFRICAN DRUM – An intense theatrical piece that questions cultural and ancestral connections, gold mining, and Zimbabweans in South Africa – presented by Jo-Kinda, written by Xolisa Ngubelanga and performed by Xolani Ngesi and Fiks Mahola.
  •  ReRouted Dance Theatre’s CLOTHES MAKETH THE (WO)MAN, featuring Tegan Peacock, Ashleigh Joubert and JC Zondi, questions whether fashion is a means of self expression, a shield or a prison in a thought-provoking dance theatre piece. 

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