COVID-19 has forced artists to go virtual, says National Arts Festival CEO

Details of the work that went into this year’s festival, showcased from the end of June to the beginning of July, were presented during Africa’s Webinar on COVID-19 on Monday afternoon.

The National Arts Festival logo. Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – The National Arts Festival has moved away from showcasing live performances to presenting the festival on an online platform.

Details of the work that went into this year’s festival, showcased from the end of June to the beginning of July, were presented during Africa’s Webinar on COVID-19 on Monday afternoon.

The platform was established to bring African Union (AU) member states together to share ideas on how this “new normal” would work and celebrate the continent’s living human treasures.

National Arts Festival CEO, Monica Newton, explained how the festival had changed shape.

“Theatre presented on WhatsApp. We have live-streaming theatre with artists joining each other from Dubai and the UK. And over 3,200 people joined us for a series of webinars and workshops that were all done through virtual platforms like this one, Zoom,” Newton said.

Newton said the future of the performing arts platform would definitely look different.

“We need to think about how we need to change, how our audiences are going to change, [and] what our business models are going to look like… in incorporating virtual and online elements in what we do,” she said.

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