Virtual National Arts Festival is extended, some content stays online

Nombulumko Mngexekeze as Lady Macbeth in a scene from one of the theatre productions that remain online, 'Macbeth'. (Photo by Nicky Newman)
Nombulumko Mngexekeze as Lady Macbeth in a scene from one of the theatre productions that remain online, 'Macbeth'. (Photo by Nicky Newman)
Nicky Newman
  • The virtual festival will continue until 31 July 2020.
  • The extension is in response to the uncertainty faced by practitioners during lockdown.
  • Festival content that is staying online includes theatre productions, jazz performances, comedy shows, documentaries and virtual galleries


With social distancing continuing indefinitely, arts and culture practitioners are increasingly finding ways to maintain their practices and livelihoods online. With this in mind the virtual National Arts Festival has extended the run of curated content to the last day of the month. This comes after the festival, which was set to take place from June 25 to July 5, initially extended its run to July 16. 

In a statement announcing the extension, the festival’s chief executive, Monica Newton said, “No one is able to predict where we are going to be as an industry in 6 months or even 12 months, but it seems Covid will be with us for quite some time. It is astonishing how quickly audiences and artists have adapted to the online performance space which is emerging as the lifeline that artists so desperately need”. 

From the curated programme festival goers can still catch some of the following: 

  • A documentary about the life and work of this year’s featured artist Madosini titled Songs are Like Grass
  • The Very Big Comedy Show hosted by Rob van Vuuren
  • The audio take on Juliet Jenkin's choral play Woolworths
  • A Howl in Makhanda by Qondiswa James
  • Brett Bailey’s Macbeth 

While most of the productions and performances will be available, others are discontinued to contractual agreements made with other festivals or events prior to the extension. 

Some of the other content that virtual festival goers still have access to  are: 

  • The Standard Bank Jazz Festival performances from artists including Thandiswa Mazwai, Spha Mdlalose and Vuma Levin. 
  • Some elements of the Creativate Digital Arts Festival will also continue.
  • The work of Standard Bank Young Artists Jefferson Tshabalala, Spoek Mathambo, Lulu Mlangeni, Blessing Ngobeni and Sisonke Xonti.
  • The virtual Fringe Visual Art Galleries.
  • The Eastern Cape Showcase.
  • The Virtual Green Market 

Shows are individually priced, starting at R25, and can be watched up to give times after a single purchase. 

For more information visit nationalartsfestival.co.za