The 2017 National Arts Festival will run from Thursday 29 June to Sunday 9 July 2017. The Festival celebrates its commitment to freedom of expression as enshrined in the South African constitution; and thus recognises that the arts can be engaged powerfully as an advocate for both social cohesion and social provocation. The Festival’s Main Programme is a solid platform for exciting new work presented by established, mid-career and emerging South African artists; as well as a forum for successful international productions to premiere on the continent or in South Africa.



The 2017 National Arts Festival intends presenting an artistic programme of bold, courageous work that engages with the curatorial themes for the 2017 National Arts Festival that will focus on the relationship between Art and Disruption: art as a disruptor of mainstream ways of thinking, and art in response to disruptions to the status quo.

Consideration will be given to proposals submitted by South African artists / companies if they engage with South Africa’s socio-political-economic and historical context, and are likely to challenge and spark lively discussion and reflection by contesting the negative legacies that South Africa has inherited, and the challenges that the country faces today.

The curatorial focus invites works that:

  • are inspired by a reaction to borders of any and all kinds;
  • engage with the ‘#mustfall’ and ‘#mustrise’ movements;
  • wrestle with the past to understand the present;
  • In short, we are looking for compelling, innovative and high-quality performances, exhibitions and cross-disciplinary works that serve as catalysts for debate and transformation.

Proposals for performances submitted by non-South African artists / companies should demonstrate a track record of excellence. The productions should be able to offer new inspirations, innovative directions, critical or reflective narratives that can connect South African audiences with global experiences.

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