This year's National Arts Festival in Grahamstown not only reported a 8.7% increase in attendance, but the Main programme was also widely regarded as one of the strongest in recent years.
"Our attendance was 218 236 across the Main, Fringe and our various free events," Festival CEO Tony Lankester said. "This is up on the 200 771 reported last year, and continues the trend of steady upward growth. Our Main programme this year featured really strong work as part of the French Season in South Africa, our Season of Solo Theatre and a range of productions from many of South Africa's top institutions and independent companies."
Main productions which enjoyed sold-out performances include An Evening with Pieter Dirk Eish; Sibongile Khumalo's Reflect.Celebrate.Live; two productions from the French Non Nova Company, Vortex and Afternoon of a Foehn; and Racestarring Michael Richard and Sello Maake Ka-Ncube. Traditional festival staples The Gala Concert and Cape Town City Ballet's production of Giselle sold out; while the lineup of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival once again demonstrated the broad appeal of this event with Ernie Smith, The Bala Brothers, Mango Groove and Andy Narell all playing to sell-out audiences.
"An encouraging feature of the sales this year is the extent to which festival audiences are going beyond just being passive observers of art, opting instead to be part of a dialogue around the art," Festival director Ismail Mahomed said.
Fringe artists also enjoyed success with stand-up comedians David Newton, Siv Ngesi and Rob van Vuuren doing well. Demonstrating the importance of building a reputation on the Fringe over a period of time, the tenth anniversary edition of The Chilli Boy was the top grossing comedy production, with the 2012 edition of the Raiders franchise close behind.
Invitations to tour overseas
The Festival this year played host to a range of international producers and festival directors. The first global gathering of World Fringe Alliance members took place in Grahamstown, attended by the directors of the New York, Brighton, Prague, Amsterdam, Perth, and Adelaide Fringe Festivals.
"As a direct result of the Alliance meeting, several South African productions have been invited to tour to other festivals," Lankester said.
The New York Fringe has invited Three Little Pigs, ...Miskien, and Horn of Sorrow to their 2013 festival. Fringe World Perth has also invited Three Little Pigs, and they have asked Follow Spot Productions to send a selection of their work to Perth. The Amsterdam Fringe has invited Nicola Hannekom's Hol; The Epicene Butcher and other tales for consenting adults; and musicians Nibs van der Spuy and Guy Buttery. The Brighton and Prague Fringes have invited Owl and a selection of work produced by Follow Spot Productions, while the Adelaide Fringe has invited the Sibikwa Arts Indigenous Orchestra to present their work, Origins.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.