Festival of the Arts – the country’s leading Youth Arts Festival

Winner of the 2014 BASA (Business & Arts SA) - Increasing Access to the Arts Award for its corporate sponsor, RMB!

A fabulous 5-day celebration of all forms of the arts presented by the National School of the Arts in partnership with ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children & Young People) at the NSA and The Joburg Theatre complex. The diverse and dynamic programme of NSA & award-winning professional productions offers something for everyone from 8 - 80!

Annually more than 5 000 learners from across Gauteng (even from Cape Town and Zimbabwe) spend a day at the Festival, entranced by the magical productions and being inspired in their own creativity. Festival of the Arts adds a vibrant and memorable dimension to the high school Creative Arts curriculum.

For Gauteng arts lovers the Festival offers top quality productions at low ticket prices and an enchanting glimpse into the talents of the young people who will go on to become the future leaders and luminaries of the South African arts landscape.

Festival of the Arts is a feast of family-friendly entertainment.

Press Releases

09 March 2015

Monuments and Mandalas at the National School of the Arts
India will be featured in a unique and special way during the NSA’s five day Festival of Fame (11-15 March); with three very distinct exhibitions and installations giving a splendid visual dynamic to this eagerly awaited youth arts festival.

Inspired by the rich Vedic and Buddhist Mandala tradition, the NSA Art Department has conceptualized large-scale Mandalas which are set to become permanent installations at the school, bringing yet another vibrant creative dynamic to the National school of the Arts and the Braamfontein Creative Precinct. Loosely titled Mandalas, Alien Crop Circles & Petit Point these installations will see the field being shaped into a crop circle-inspired design, the humble Melle Street boundary fence festooned with brightly coloured fabric using a petit point technique to create a spectacular image and the disused tennis courts being transformed into a grand-scale Mandala. Using several bags of oxide-laced cement and an inspiring mathematically precise design, an eroded space will become an extraordinary centre of contemplation, meditation and profound joy for all to witness and experience.

Festival of Fame will also exhibit selected Mandalas from the 2011 Mandalas for Mandela Arts Alive initiative. These painted canvas 1m x 1m works were inspired by the healing legacy of the father of our democracy Nelson Mandela and were created by both primary and secondary level school learners from across the 7 regions of Johannesburg. The project was implemented by Imbali Visual Literacy Project and was supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Festival of Fame will mark the 5th exhibition of this collection.

The word Mandala comes from the Sanskrit and means ‘circle’. As a ritualistic symbol it represents the Universe. The basic form of most Mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a centre point. Mandalas enable and encourage a journey from the outside world into the sacred centre where the Divine and the self are revealed.

The National School of the Arts acknowledges with gratitude the support of the Consul General of India in realising this culturally significant project, which sees ancient mysticism, math and visual arts finding their nexus. The Consul General, Mr Randhir Jaiswal has also generously arranged that the Festival of Fame host a significant collection of original water colour paintings from the eminent Kolkata born Indian artist Shri Kashinath Das.

This international touring exhibition is aptly titled “Architectural Monuments of India” and features 25 watercolour paintings of some of India’s most famous monuments.

This masterful multi-award winning artist, a graduate of the University of Delhi’s College of Arts, manages to evoke the grandeur and sweep of India’s rich architectural heritage with a few delicate brush strokes in pastel colours.

Visitors to the National School of the Arts can expect to see the Taj Mahal representing the Zenith of Moghul Architecture in India, the ancient River Ghats of Varanasi – the iconic steps leading down to the River Ganges, the magnificent sandstone forts of Rajasthan, the awe inspiring temple complex of Khajuraho from the 10th Century AD, Delhi’s Qutub Minar from the 12th Century, the world’s tallest free standing minaret in brick, the 9-storey high Victory Tower or Vijay Sthambha of Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan ( 15th centuryA.D), and the Indo-Saracenic splendour of the colonial era in these atmospheric paintings.

The works of the prolific Shri Kashinath Dasworks grace several institutional collections including those of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the College of Arts, New Delhi, and leading Indian Hotels.

The National school of the Arts is grateful and proud to have secured this significant relationship with the Consul General of India and looks with delight and enthusiasm to furthering cultural collaborations and exchange with India, specifically in the field of Indian Youth Art and arts education.

Arts enthusiasts can visit the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein during the 5 day long Festival of Fame to see this rich and varied visual arts celebration as well as experiencing a winning programme of vibrant performing arts.

24 February 2015

SA’s Award-winning Youth Arts Festival Readies Superb Line-up of Music, Dance, Drama and Art
Partnership with ASSITEJ South Africa adds top homegrown content to multi-faceted Festival of Fame

February 23rd: This year’s Festival of Fame (FoF) takes place from March 11th to 15th, offering a feast of music, dance, visual arts and drama for art lovers aged eight to 80.

Located at the Joburg Theatre and at different venues at the National School of the Arts (NSA) - which is situated across the road from the Joburg Theatre – the festival features a host of top quality NSA productions, including some original works from learners. There is also a selection of multi-nominated and award-winning professional productions curated by Assitej South Africa.

NSA’s major production is a vibrant modern-day version of the ever-popular musical, Fame-the Musical, about life and its journeys for learners at the New York School of the Performing Arts. With its multi award-winning professional directorial team of Mark Hawkins, Janna Ramos-Violante, Nic Michaletos and Charlie van Rooyen, and featuring professionals Jonathon Taylor, Lala Tuku, Helen Dubois and Dean Roberts as the teachers performing alongside NSA’s rising stars, this production at The Mandela at the Joburg Theatre is not to be missed.

NSA’s acclaimed dance production, Dance Spectrum this year features two stunning new works by Joburg Ballet’s Shannon Glover and a vibrant new Spanish piece by Julia Bonegio, accompanied by Spanish guitar maestro, Raoul Bonegio. This joyous kaleidoscope of ballet, contemporary, Spanish and African contemporary dance is also on at The Mandela.

It’s a Kinda Magic, features the iconic works of mega-bands Queen and Abba – and will, quite simply, will rock you!

Other highlights of this year’s festival are bound to be Sophiatown, one of South Africa’s most important dramatic works and on the drama syllabus, and Umlaut – Prince of Dusseldorf, a hilarious spoof on Hamlet. These are the NSA Drama Department’s two major productions and they are complemented by four amazing new original works by learners – the country’s playwrights of tomorrow.

Set to be permanent features on Braamfontein’s landscape, Mandalas, Alien Crop Circles & Petit Point is a series of grand-scale intricate Mandalas art installations which will transform the school’s tennis court permanently and the fence up Melle Street. These work-in-progress projects will be completed during the Festival – a fascinating blend of maths meeting the visual arts.

With the support of Assitej South Africa, some of the best local productions will feature on the Festival of Fame programme. As part of this, ASSITEJ SA is presenting work targeted at specific age groups in the build up toward the ASSITEJ SA 2017 Congress:

  • The Donkey Child, a seminal collaborative work by Lindiwe Matshikize and the Hillbrow Theatre.
  • Moving Into Dance Mophatong’s spectacular Edudance
  • The multi-nominated and award-winning The Champion by Khayalethu Anthony and directed by Khayalethu Mofu which tells of a young man’s journey trying to find his own path in the often-fraught world of boxing.
  • The award-winning production, The Epicene Butcher written by Gwydion Beynon, directed by John Trengrove and starring Jemma Kahn, is a hilarious show featuring original stories which run the gamut of Japanese culture, from epic poetry to the silly and sublime using the Japanese story-telling art of Kamishibai.
  • Also with a Japanese theme is Hanamichi written and directed by Tristan Jacobs – a non-verbal visual theatre masterpiece combining the aesthetics of Japanese theatre with African storytelling, based on The Thought Fox, by Ted Hughs
  • Museum Izindao, written and performed by Baeletsi Tsatsi and directed by Alex Halligey, tells of a travelling storyteller with her museum of objects describing what it means to be born free and much a mark on a ballot paper might influence change.
  • Point Blank, directed by veteran theatre-maker Gisele Turner and starring the astounding Deaf theatre practitioner, Sibo Masondo (AKA Mime le Mot) presenting a collection of beautiful mimed stories inspired by French mime tradition with African infusions.

The National School of the Arts Festival of Fame won the Increasing Access to the Arts Award for sponsor Rand Merchant Bank at the 17th Business Day BASA Awards, partnered by Hollard last year. “This is recognition of the important role that our festival plays in bringing the arts to the people, and especially the youth, of Johannesburg,” says Brenda Sakellarides, Chairperson the school’s governing body. “It was also an acknowledgement of the role our school plays in creating the creative workers and innovators of the future.

“We extend our sincerest thanks to our sponsors RMB, the Arts & Culture Trust and Business & Arts South Africa. Without their support this important event would not be possible.”




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