Platteland Preview

At the heart of this annual fest you’ll find artists taking their productions to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. We invite them to showcase their work here en route as a final rehearsal and the Platteland Preview is the result: a feast of drama, music, comedy, dance, poetry and visual art. Welcome!

First arrivals for the fees!

First guests to hit town - two artists In Transit Just before lunch on Thursday they started to arrive, and the first to reach Smithfield was Yolanda de Kock (right) with Mari-Louise du Plessis (left). Yolanda is curating a major art exhibition, to be held in the old church hall, entitled In Transit . It's brought to us through the kind support and cooperation of Oliewenhuis National Art Museum - and thanks of course to the hard work of Yolanda and her fellow artists. Mari-Louise, one of the artists whose work will be shown at the exhibition, says the bakkie is packed with carefully-...Read more

Making a plan

Lebo Motloung (left) with Sedi Ndara, making a plan at the town hall, Smithfield WHEN famous artists hit town, like the cast and crew of Grandma's Song , brought to us with the kind cooperation of Pacofs, you want everything to look good. Here Platteland Preview committee member Lebo Motloung shares a concern with the municipality's Smithfield Unit Manager, Sedi Ndara, outside the town hall while staff close up the high windows with black plastic. Are the drains working? And the toilets? When will the toilet paper arrive? Who was supposed to bring the chairs? These are some of the...Read more

Blackout at the town hall!

Coming down from the roof ... the countdown continues THE town hall must be in total darkness for three performances of the musical play, Grandma's Song , written and directed by Jerry Mofokeng. This caused us some serious problems because the windows inside the hall are so high up that no ladder was long enough to reach. But Lebo Motloung had a great idea: put the blackout on the OUTSIDE of the windows, he suggested, because then we can climb around from one lower level roof to another and get to the windows. Worked like a bomb. Here's Nuwejar Bororo Guda and his colleague Mzwakhe...Read more

Set up begins in the Red Barn

Setting up chairs, lights and sound in the Red Barn WITH the first performers and artists due in Smithfield later today, we're setting up the venues. The Red Barn will be the venue for the opening event on Friday night, Ballad of Dirk de Bruin . David Butler, who plays de Bruin, arrives this afternoon and the venue is almost ready for him. Here Irene Swanepoel makes a final check on the number of chairs while Len du Plessis, who will be managing the lights and sound in the venue, works out where the cables will go. Please note the enormous fire-place at the far end of the barn - it will...Read more

Radio Rook: smoke on OFM!

Gene McCaskill, who stars in Rook!, on OFM tonight! OFM will be smoking tonight (Wednesday) when the cast of Rook will take over the airwaves at the station. Gene McCaskill, seen in Smithfield last year in Vrek!, will be among them. She's been exciting TV audiences with her role in the new etv production 'Scandal', that started last week. But this weekend she's ours: McCaskill will be in Smithfield with the rest of the cast and crew of Rook to enjoy the whole festival. The OFM interview tonight is scheduled for 10pm: worth staying up!...Read more

Plenty to do over the festival ...

Bets de Bruyn helping hang the members' exhibition, Southern Free State Art Association, this week. She's seen here with some of her own work. The exhibition is just one of many things on offer over the festival apart from the official programme. NO problem finding things to do over the Platteland Preview festival weekend in Smithfield. There's great drama, comedy, music and art on the official programme - but take a look at what else is on offer: great food at Nick's Place , Buckleys and the Laughing Likkewaan ; an art exhibition by members of the Southern Free State Art...Read more

Members' work displayed

Martin Booyens hard at work hanging paintings One of the most popular events at the Platteland Preview festival is the annual exhibition of art by members of the Southern Free State Arts Association . And there's always plenty to do once members drop off their work, to hang or exhibit them to the best advantage. At the start of this festival week a group of volunteers met to sort out the work and place them in the temporary gallery at 9 Church Street, Smithfield...Read more

Mary Maseli heads to Grahamstown

ONE of the happiest people in Smithfield at the moment is Mary Maseli. She teaches drama, dance and other creative arts to Grade 7 at Mofulatshepe Primary School in Smithfield. After she approached the Platteland Preview festival committee for help as she felt she didn't have the training and experience she needed to teach these subjects, we were able to make her dream come true. Thanks to a wonderful offer by the director of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Ismail Mahomed, she will be able to attend the whole festival in Grahamstown. Her accommodation and meal costs will all be...Read more


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