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!

New stage starts to emerge

We arrived back in Smithfield late yesterday with the material. Today the new stage is taking shape already. Fantastic stuff, and thanks to Gus, Alistair and Ian (on the case this morning) we have the first of 10 modules virtually ready. (All the sections will eventually be painted black.) Our sincere thanks to actor David Butler (who will be opening our festival playing Bram Fischer with the English premiere of The Bram Fischer Waltz). He helped us with encouragement and a great design for the stage. Salute! We’ve moved equipment and materials on site to make the construction as easy...Read more

Getting ready for a HUGE street party in Smithfield …

AFTER three years of painful road works, Smithfield is poised to re-emerge. We’ve been having extensive plastic surgery so there’s been a period when we’ve been veiled from the public eye: detours, route-changes and street blocked off. But NOW – just in time for our Platteland Preview festival – the streets are about to be revealed in all their brand new finery. The date for the re-opening is tomorrow, 5 June, and tonight there’ll be dancing in the streets as we celebrate getting our town back, and a good old fashioned braai on the pavements. Join us if you...Read more

Kyla Davis, Performer, Director, Theatre-maker, Activist on Shotgun Tori’s new CD, Be Brave

Shotgun Tori’s new CD, Be Brave, is about to be launched. We’re lucky to bring you some promotional material and a cut from the new sound track. Don’t miss her shows in Smithfield on Saturday 22 June and Sunday 23 June: Tori’s three shows during Smithfield’s Platteland Preview coincide with the release of her new album, Be Brave. Here Kyla Davis, performer, director, theatre-maker and activist, talks about what Tori’s cover song means to her. Catch the video: more

Our stage-in-waiting arrives …

JUST 19 days to the start of the festival and we had no stage in the Red Barn, the venue where most of the shows will take place. It had the makings of a crisis. So we took advice about the best size and design, and scouted around for some help with sponsorship. Decisions made, we set off for Bloemfontein at 5 this morning to be first in the queue at a nameless hardware shop to buy the materials we need for the stage – and to be first in the queue to have it cut to size. This afternoon we bore the stage-in-waiting triumphantly back from Bloemfontein to Smithfield and delivered it to the...Read more

NEW music by Shotgun Tori – get a sneak sound preview here

Singer-song-writer Victoria Landey aka Tori, one of the stars of our Platteland Preview, is about to launch a new CD and with any luck she’ll be bringing sale copies with her to the festival. Details of the CD are still under wraps (watch this page for details). But meanwhile we can bring you Be Brave, a cut from the CD. Tori will be playing in the Old Church on Saturday 22 June 11h30 – 12h30 and in the Red Barn that afternoon 16h00 – 17h00. And if you want another chance to enjoy her music, you can catch her over Sunday lunch at the close of the festival when she’ll...Read more

Happy hip hop signs up

1Way from Limpopo to Smithfield … It was a close thing, but 1WayCrew, a hip hop/house outfit from Limpopo have signed on the dotted line. Because of their schedule they only just made the deadline before we took the programme to the printers. Their signature has brought the festival complement to eight shows over three days giving audiences a wide variety from which to choose. The signature song of 1Way goes like this: ‘One way to Limpopo’, but as of tonight it’s ‘One way to Smithfield’. They’ll be here to open our festival at the Red Barn on...Read more

Prepare to VREK!

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the final show booked for the Platteland Preview: Vrek! The genre isn’t easy to categorise, but there’s no doubt about the subject matter: fracking. That’s a hot topic in the Karoo and also in Smithfield where we like to think of ourselves as the ‘amper karoo’. The director of the play, Walter Strydom, formerly a freelance theatre technician, now teaching at the University of the Free State. We’ll be hearing more from him. Vrek stars a cast of odd characters dreamed up to provoke the audience into thinking more deeply...Read more

Why we are bringing an arts festival to Smithfield

Interview about the festival with Carmel Rickard, journalist and writer. She has lived in Smithfield for more than 11 years, and the festival is her dream child. She says it’s long been her dream to bring great art – performance, dance, music, visual art – to the central rural area of South Africa in a way that will allow ordinary people to participate and benefit, without having to travel to the big cities...Read more


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