The show boldly goes on as South Africa’s Virtual National Arts Festival (vNAF) takes its programme of over 250 shows online for the first time in 46 years. For exhibitors and audiences alike the annual pilgrimage to Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) is traditionally a sacred one, however, the advent of Covid-19 has necessitated some grand reimagining.
“In mid-March we stopped planning for a live festival, and with 100 days to go started planning for a virtual festival, and it’s amazing,” says NAF chief executive officer Monica Newton.
“We have one of the largest virtual festivals certainly on the continent and possibly the world with more than 250 events and productions and pieces that we’re presenting. It’s been an extraordinary journey.”
The digital destination is a splash of theatre, comedy, music, exhibitions, storytelling, performances and workshops all available from the comfort of one’s own internet-enabled device. Running for 11 days beginning on 25 June, the vNAF is ambitious, robust and speaks to the indomitable nature of the arts.