Newton new CEO for arts festival
ACCOMPLISHED: FORMER DEPARTMENT HEAD IN GAUTENG
Brings institutional and business insight that’s an absolute asset – board.
The National Arts Festival announced the appointment of Monica Newton as the organisation’s new CEO yesterday. Newton steps into the position on January 1 and will be relocating to Makhanda to fulfil her role.
Newton was previously head of the Gauteng department of sport, arts, culture and recreation.
Before that, she was deputy director-general: arts and culture promotion and development in the national department of arts and culture.
Newton was also CEO of the National Arts Council, a statutory body reporting to the department and established to support and develop the arts in South Africa.
National Arts Festival board chairperson Ayanda Mjekula said: “We are very pleased that Monica has accepted the position of CEO.
“Not only is her experience of working in the arts sector extensive, but she also brings institutional and business insight that is an absolute asset to us.”
Newton expressed her gratitude to the board, saying: “The National Arts Festival makes a major contribution to the arts ecosystem in South Africa and like all things in the current cultural, economic and social climate, must adapt to prevailing conditions.
“The festival, and in fact all the activities initiated by the Grahamstown Foundation, are also fundamental to the economic and social fabric of the city of Makhanda and the surrounding areas.
“The task of ensuring that the festival and all activities contribute meaningfully, sustainably and responsibly to the life of the city is of equal importance.
“I am looking forward to taking on this challenging role and its enormous responsibilities and to working with the current and new members of the team; and of course the numerous partners that make this extraordinary programme possible.”
Newton will be working with creative and executive team members including newly appointed artistic director Rucera Seethal, executive producer Nobesuthu Rayi and long-time administrative director Kate Davies, alongside fringe manager Zikhona Monaheng and technical director Nicci Spalding.
The board of the National Arts Festival has also had some recent appointments. These include arts advocate Michelle Constant, former Market Theatre chief executive officer and current CEO of Ditsong Museums, Annabell Lebethe, and award-winning author Dr Siphiwo Mahala, who also works in the Presidency.
The most recent board appointment is award-winning writer, professional director, lecturer, curator and artist Mandla Mbothwe.
The festival announced that former CEO of the National Arts Festival for 12 years, Tony Lankester, will remain as a board member, which will facilitate continuity.
Newton will also be the CEO of the Grahamstown Foundation, the organisation that works in tandem with the National Arts Festival to produce Scifest Africa, the English Olympiad, South African Schools’ Festivals and the Monument Movie Club.
It also aims to further the cultural and creative life of Makhanda and make a broader contribution to South Africa.
The 2020 National Arts Festival will take place in Makhanda from June 25 to July 5.