Virtual National Arts Festival extended

National Arts Festival CEO Monica Newton says the first Virtual National Arts Festival has received an upbeat response from the public.

The first virtual National Arts Festival has been extended and will air until Thursday next week (July 16) with shows from the Fringe set to stay online until July 31.

The festival was initially scheduled for 11 days, from June 25 until July 5, but festival-lovers now have more time to get their culture fix by buying passes to watch hundreds of pre-recorded shows and performances on the festival’s website.

Festival CEO Monica Newton said on Tuesday: “Tickets bought for the festival were always going to be available until 16 July but the feedback we got from our audience was that there was so much to see that we decided to keep the festival open for new ticket buyers.

The vFringe [Virtual Fringe] is also growing by the day; there is clearly a need for the platform so we have also extended that to 31 July to ensure more people will be able to enjoy it!”

Newton said the first ever virtual National Arts Festival had received a positive response from the public, despite a number of technical glitches.

“Since 25 June, visitors have joined us from all over Africa and the world and, while the new platform was not without its teething problems, we have already presented hundreds of hours of entertainment to our audience.

“We are thrilled to see that the vFringe  is doing really well, with Fringe artists finding it a great platform to securely stage and market their work,” Newton said.

The extension of the festival not only gives viewers time to watch more shows but artists now also have until July 25 to submit entries to be considered for the Virtual Fringe Standard Bank Ovation Awards.

The awards recognise excellence in Virtual Fringe shows and will start presenting awards this week, culminating in a live awards ceremony for the overall Virtual Fringe Standard Bank Ovation winners on July 31.

Some of the festival’s unmissable shows include the works of Standard Bank Young Artists Jefferson Tshabalala, Lulu Mlangeni, Sisonke Xonti, Nthato Mokgata and Blessing Ngobeni.

Must-see Standard Bank Jazz Festival performances from the likes of Thandiswa Mazwai, Mi Casa and Grammy-award winner Jacob Collier are also on offer.

Of the scores of shows lined up on the main festival programme as well as the Fringe,  a variety of Eastern Cape performers offer entertainment through dance, music, film and literature festivals.

The main festival  programme includes a special category for artists from the province, the Eastern Cape Showcase.

It includes a traditional dance show by Eastern Cape Indigenous Ensemble, a musical set by New Brighton multi-instrumentalist KoraX Tulwana and the documentary film eCwecweni by Rhodes University student filmmakers Sipho Monakali and Bongeka Gumede.

Audiences are able to buy passes from R80 a day with a special price of R600 for an all-access pass for the entire festival.

All shows are on

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