04 July, 2014

A 40-years celebration of Artistic excellence! By: Sisipho Skweyiya

The year, 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the annual National Arts Festival, and from the 3rd July to the 13th all eyes will be focused on the celebration of South Africa’s artistic excellence (from exhibitions to musical concerts) as well as exposing up and coming talent.

Among the celebrations that will take place in commemorating the 40 years of the National Arts festival and 20 years of democracy in South Africa, this year’s line-up proves to be nothing but a holistic experience of South Africa’s diverse culture, which includes shows that will tell the history of our country and arts through theatre productions, musicals and art exhibitions. For instance the Standard Bank Jazz festival has incorporated different disciplines into their programme that includes multi Grammy Award-winning composer, conductor and performer, Maria Schneider who will be performing in South Africa for the first time on the 5th & 6th July at the DSG Hall. In their programme Standard Bank also included South Africa’s world-renowned trumpeter, composer, singer and political activist, Hugh Masekela; multi-platinum award-winning singer, Lira – who will be performing her well-known fusion of soul and jazz, with African elements. The Jazz festival also promises a delightful performance from Jimmy Dludlu as well as a collaboration between Dan Patlansky and Albert Frost. Last but not least to that line up will be a special tribute by the international Festival Big Band, celebrating some of South Africa’s great jazz musicians and their music.

Continuing the commemoration spirit, this year’s line-up also includes a highly anticipated concert, Divalicious that will include SA’s very own musical maestro, Sibongile Khumalo, along with other great vocalists such as Gloria Bosman, Zanne Stapleberg and Melanie Scholts. This concert will be showcasing the artists’ diverse musical styles; Jazz, Opera and Afro Blues, be sure to catch it on the 9th July at the Guy Butler theatre.

Theatrically, the festival promises some wonderful shows and classical plays such as Macbeth, William Shakespeares darkest and most riveting tragic play. However this adaptation of the play is based on an
Afrikaans translation by Eitemal, which will explore the effects of guilt and insomnia on two individuals, who through ambition and lust for power lose sight of their boundaries within their relationship and with themselves. Macbeth.slapeloos will be shown on the 11th and 12th July.

Artistically, Analogue Eye is one of the new developments at the Festival. It is about the introduction of digital media programming in the Public Arts realm that will present works of artists from 13 different African countries through a mobile drive-in theatre and pop-up cinema experience created and curated by Brent Meistre. According to City Press, audiences can partake in another exciting digitally-driven experience – a virtual tour of South African contemporary dance curated by Jeanette Ginslov, using Augmented Reality (AR) on their mobile devices.

Lastly, this year’s festival has a free public art performance on every single day of the Festival – it’s the Festival’s birthday gift to everyone who wants to take part in the festivities, but who cannot afford to buy a ticket. Something to look out for on this programme is Herbert’s Dream - a visual spectacle by a French street theatre company that, since its creation in 1997, has been performed over 400 times at all the major festivals around the globe.

So, if you are all into fun engagement about SA’s arts and entertainment do make your way to the city of Saints and experience the greatest there is when it comes to talent.

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