Cape Town has a long history of theatre entertainment. There are many theatres scattered across the city, from small intimate venues to massive auditoriums. For the avid theatre goer, you are spoiled for choice and it may be fun to try and visit a different one each time to visit Cape Town. Three of the largest theatres in Cape Town are described – the 4th chosen due to its proximity to 26 on First.
Maynard Park is situated in the southern suburbs of Cape Town in an area called Wynberg. A large piece of land belonging to James Mortimer Maynard was opened to the public for picnicking in 1851. Ninety-nine years later, as the City of Cape Town was about to take ownership of the park, permission was granted for an open air ballet performance to take place on a temporary stage. With great fanfare and excitement, a wonderful evening was enjoyed on 1st December 1950 and it launched the start of Maynardville Outdoor Theatre. Over the years it has become famous for Shakespeare in the Park, which attracts 20 000 patrons a year. The theatre seats 720 in a beautiful unique wooded setting. You can find out what’s on at www.maynardville.co.za
The Artscape Theatre was built in 1971 and was first named the Nico Malan Theatre. It was renamed Artscape, Cape Town and covers an impressive 14 000 square metres. Within its massive walls, is an opera house seating just under 1500 people, a 540 seater theatre and a smaller arena theatre which seas 140. Versatile for performances of massive proportion as well of those of a more intimate nature, it’s always worth looking to see what is on at the Artscape. One of the most recent magnificent productions was the world renown Warhorse, which sold out throughout the Festive Season. A ballet performance of Cinderella is also on during December 2014 and Swan Lake is coming in the first half of 2015. Visit www.artscape.co.za for more.
Dr. Duncan W. Baxter, on his death, left a bequest to the University of Cape Town for the purpose of building a theatre. According to his wishes, the Baxter Theatre was built and opened on 1st August 1977. Situated in the suburb of Rondebosch, it has a world class theatre and concert hall. A large variety of productions are held, tapping into the cultural diversity of the city. Music, ballet, drama and opera all unfold on the stages of the Baxter. Students of the University of Cape Town enjoy the Baxter’s magnificence as a training ground and many of their lunchtime practice performances are enjoyed by the public on a donation only basis. What’s on at the Baxter can be found at www.baxter.co.za.
Just a short distance from 26 on First, Theatre on the Bay has some of the fun and popular performances in the city. More intimate in size it lends itself to productions that allow for audience participation and interaction. Expect comedy and drama, along with musicals being held at this delightful theatre in beautiful surroundings. Featuring Pieter Tourien productions, you are sure to find something that will amuse and entertain you. In December Alan Committie ends 2014 on a light note with his production of the Sound of Laughter. Coming in 2015 and equally as entertaining is Pieter Dirk Uys. Keep up with what’s on at Theatre on the Bay by visiting www.theatreonthebay.co.za