The closing weekend of the National Arts Festival sees the 11-day long Festival end on a high note with top talent performing some highly anticipated acts. Amongst the big attractions are AKA (fresh from the USA) and The Muffinz who are returning to the Festival after their previous Standard Bank Ovation Award win and Arena performance. Standard Bank Jazz Festival favourites Simphiwe Dana, Ringo Madlingozi, Caiphus Semenya and Swing City will be sure to take Festival-goers into the small hours, whilst international flavour comes from Colombia’s Alvaro Meza.
Theatres are filling up fast for Scorched, the premier of 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, Jade Bowers’ epic new work. Also pulling strong crowds are Sleepwalkingland (based on the novel by Mia Couto) and Neil Coppen’s adaptation of Animal Farm. Audiences can also book for a reimagining of Tennessee William’s play The Day on Which a Man Dies and Popart’s Jemma Kahn in her new piece In Bocca Al Lupo, as well as Unveiled, starring South-African born Gulshan Mia who has come from the USA to perform the role.Festival CEO, Tony Lankester said that ticket sales had remained consistent with last year’s numbers and that final sales would be revealed after the post-Festival tally was complete. “In light of the current economy, the arts are proving extremely resilient and South Africans are still seeking out quality work at the National Arts Festival.”
A quick count on Thursday morning revealed that 600 shows had houses that were over 80% full. Commenting on this year’s programme, the last under outgoing Festival Artistic Director, Ismail Mahomed, Lankester said, “Feedback on the shows has been positive – every Festival of this nature will have its hits and its misses, and this one is no different, but the Main Theatre programme, particularly, has been very well received.”