Durban's theatres and playhouses are vibrant platforms for the spicy cultural mix that is Durban. From the traditional Playhouse to the arty BAT Centre and popular barnyard theatres, there's a wide range of flavour and talent to entertain theatre lovers across the art spectrum.

Did you know?

The Catalina Theatre is named after the Catalina aircraft that was common in the area in the 1930s. The nostalgic aviation theme continues in the theatre’s décor, with stylish aircraft-like fittings featuring prominently.

Durban's theatres are headed by the classic Playhouse complex, Durban's premier theatre venue, which showcases award-winning dramas, ballet and opera.

Following closely is the popular Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, home to highbrow shows, film festivals and an annual literary festival.

For experimental and indigenous theatre in Durban, head over to the harbour where you'll find the BAT Centre, which boasts several art studios, galleries, dance studios and retail shops. Here you can imbibe the heady spoken word, as stand-up poets combine storytelling, rap, tradition and philosophy.

The Kwasuka is here too, a quaint landmark theatre situated in a turn-of-the-century church, with an outside courtyard that's perfectly suited to alfresco performances.

The Catalina Theatre is an elegant 160-seater, state-of-the-art facility specialising in comedy, concerts, musicals and revues. It boasts floor-to-ceiling windows so you can drink in the panoramic harbour views. Find it at Wilson's Wharf off the Esplanade in Durban (eThekwini).

Durban (eThekwini) theatres also offer tasty supper-theatre combos, so if that's your bag then pay a visit to the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest, or the raucous, informal theatre featuring popular music revues – the popular Barnyard Theatre at Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga. One of a string of Barnyard's countrywide; Durban's Barnyard Theatre has its usual countryside ambience, replete with rustic furniture. Take along your own picnic basket.

Krakatoa Show Bar specialises in band and cabaret acts, while the quirky Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo is a popular venue for top-class drag shows.

The theatres of Durban will have you whooping with delight as performers take their final bows. Consult daily newspapers for listings. Most tickets can be booked at the theatres or through national ticket tout, Computicket.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

The Playhouse

Tel: +27 (0)31 369 9596

The Catalina Theatre

Tel: +27 (0)31 305 6889

The BAT Centre

Tel: +27 (0)31 332 0451

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre

Tel: +27 (0)31 260 1111 or (0)31 260 2296

The Barnyard

Tel: +27 (0)31 566 3045

Rhumbelow Theatre

Tel: +27 (0)31 205 7602

The Heritage Theatre

Tel: +27 (0)31 765 4197

How to get here

Durban's theatres are all close to town and easily accessible by road.

Get around

Most taxi cabs will be able to collect you and drop you at the theatre door.

What will it cost

The cost of shows differs from theatre to theatre. Consult each theatre website, or check online with Computicket.

What to eat

Some of Durban's theatre complexes come replete with restaurants and coffee shops offering meals and refreshments. At some, for instance the Barnyard chain, you can even bring your own pre-packed picnic basket.