Dear Cit­i­zens

Grocott's Mail - - Vnational Arts Festival -

When I moved to Makhanda in Jan­uary this year and joined the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val team, I was chang­ing my life; chang­ing jobs, cre­at­ing a new ca­reer path, mov­ing to a new city and tak­ing on brand new chal­lenges. As I en­tered the New Year, there was no way I could have pre­dicted how the en­tire world, and not just my tiny life, would begin to change. By March 2020, it was clear that this was not any ordinary year.

We were faced with a crit­i­cal de­ci­sion. Word was that the­atres were go­ing to close, events would be can­celled, travel cur­tailed. We saw the writ­ing on the wall. The 46th Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val was un­der grave threat.

Mak­ing the de­ci­sion to go on­line was not taken lightly; we con­sid­ered all op­tions avail­able and de­cided that this route would be best for the arts com­mu­nity, for the Fes­ti­val and of course, our loyal donors and spon­sors; the East­ern Cape Prov­ince, Stan­dard Bank of South Africa, Depart­ment of Sport, Arts and Cul­ture, Sarah Baart­man Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, East­ern Cape Pro­vin­cial Tourism Agency and Busi­ness and Arts South Africa. We knew how­ever, that there was one ma­jor stake­holder that would de­rive the least ben­e­fit from our de­ci­sion, the City of Makhanda, its res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

This leaves us with a heavy heart as Makhanda is our home! The gra­cious hosts of our 11 Days of Amaz­ing; we are a town that is syn­ony­mous with the arts, late night post-show chats and chilly evenings hud­dled up in the­atres, restau­rants and rental homes as the Fes­ti­val un­folds across the town. For the first time in decades our win­ter hol­i­day streets are quiet.

Where pos­si­ble, we

Mon­ica New­ton

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