The National Arts Festival is an important event on the South African cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent.

Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for 11 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown, which is situated in the Eastern Cape, 130 km from Port Elizabeth.

The Festival consists of a Main and Fringe programme both administered by the National Arts Festival Office. The Festival is reliant on sponsorship with the core sponsors being the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank of South Africa, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, National Arts Council, Transnet, City Press newspaper and MNet.

The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, tours (of the city and surrounding historic places) and a children’s arts festival.

The event has always been open to all regardless of race, colour, sex or creed. As no censorship or artistic restraint has ever been imposed on works presented in Grahamstown the Festival served as an important forum for political and protest theatre during the height of the apartheid era, and it still offers an opportunity for experimentation across the arts spectrum. Its significance as a forum for new ideas and an indicator of future trends in the arts cannot be underestimated.

How to Register

Ticketing and related information to be updated ...