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08 July 2022
Free State festival

The Vrystaat Arts Festival celebrates its twenty-second birthday this year, a remarkable achievement! After two challenging years of lockdown restrictions, the festival team is excited to work towards various in-person events again, including the first ever mini-MARK in July, the traditional arts festival with all the familiar faces in October, and the second instalment of the festival's classical music festival, Vrystaat Klank & Klassik, in November.

From 12-16 July, the festival will launch the inaugural Mini-MARK on the Bloemfontein campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). This smaller arts and crafts market will mostly be concentrated around the Callie Human Hall and the Exam Rooms on the UFS-campus and will involve only curated, unique, handmade, high quality, authentic South African products and food stalls, and an open stage for entertainment.

The mini-MARK will also include a selection of theatre, music, and dance productions. A definite highlight on the theatre program is the debut comedy, Laerskool Noord, with Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck, Marion Holm, and Ilne Fourie. Something special on the menu for the little ones is Liewe Heksie en die Rolskaate. Several local musicians will perform at the Vulture Club during the festival week and the contemporary dance production, POP, with Bloemfontein-based dancer, Thami Majela, and French choreographer, Matthieu Nieto will also be on the stage.

Two productions hosted in collaboration with the UFS’s Drama and Theatre Arts Department are The dressing room and Hoe Later, Hoe Kwater. The dressing room is based on the real antics of backstage life during the production of a community theatre musical. The show is not a musical, but a very relatable comedy to anyone who has been through the hustle of being backstage during a production.

Hoe Later, Hoe Kwater is an Afrikaans translation by Pierre van Pletzen of Michael Pertwee and John Chapman's Holiday Snap, and stars Barend Kriel, Mark Dobson, Jané Schnetler, DJ Kruger, Danielle Doubell, Amira-Xandria van Biljon, Paquot.

From 2-8 October 2022, the customary Vrystaat Arts Festival, with a full program including theatre productions, literature festival, film festival, visual and experimental art, as well as a much larger arts market, will also be presented on the UFS campus. Keep an eye out in the press and the arts festival's social media platforms for more information on the October program.

Entrance tickets to the festival grounds and to the theatre productions are already for sale at

For more information about this year's Vrystaat Arts Festival, please email or alternatively send a WhatsApp to 063 584 4379.

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