New­ton new CEO for arts fes­ti­val

AC­COM­PLISHED: FOR­MER DE­PART­MENT HEAD IN GAUT­ENG

The Citizen (KZN) - - City - Cit­i­zen re­porter

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.

Pic­ture: Sup­plied

MON­ICA NEW­TON

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