Smithfield has a long tradition of hospitality for travellers but now we offer even more than good food and comfortable beds – a fantastic mid-winter boutique arts festival.
Over the last weekend of June each year, Smithfield’s Platteland Preview offers performers on their way to the National Arts Festival a half-way stopover between Gauteng and Grahamstown plus a chance for a final technical rehearsal of work they are showcasing at South Africa’s oldest arts fest.
For a whole weekend the town hosts performers, musicians and visual artists as well as guests from far and wide who come to enjoy some of the newest and best shows in the country.
With an eye on all the prizes offered at the National Arts Festival performers appreciate a chance to make sure they are show-ready when they hit Grahamstown – and it pays off. A number of shows that preview in Smithfield go on to win big and we’re quickly building a reputation as a springboard for great things.
Audiences also have a great time: they appreciate the local hospitality; the enthusiastic, friendly atmosphere; the fact that it’s possible to see every show. And they love being a real plattelander – part of Smithfield’s community – for the weekend.
All this talent in the dorp at one time is put to another good use as well and our local children, many of whom have never been to the theatre before, have a chance to broaden their creative horizons. We arrange special shows for them, and performers and other artists generously offer their time and resources to run youth- and child-workshops. It’s an experience that no-one involved will ever forget.
So if you’re a performer or visual artist or if you’d like to be part of the audience, subscribe to the Platteland Preview newsletter on this site and you’ll be kept up to date with all the news and info you need.