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WWhen it comes to drama, the Mother City is a real prima donna. Whether it's Shakespearean period pieces, rousing dance, razzmatazz musicals, mirthful stand-up comedy, or alternative fringe theatre, you're bound to find something to suit your taste in the theatres of Cape Town.
Shakespeare buffs must visit the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre. It stages professional productions of Shakespearean plays. Comprising a striking wooden stage, set under a canopy of foliage, with a statue of the Bard of Avon himself standing sentry, Maynardville is unabashedly the quintessential African home of all things Shakespearean.
If it's a verdant winelands Cape Town theatre setting you're after, try Spier in exquisite Stellenbosch for its open-air amphitheatre.
Undisputedly, Artscape is the chief theatre in Cape Town. With a huge opera-house seating over a thousand, a large theatre seating over 500, and two smaller stages, this colossal theatre complex offers some of the best international and local shows on the theatre circuit.
The Baxter Theatre is another one of the Cape stalwarts. Situated in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch, this theatre house hosts some of the ritziest productions on the country's theatrical calendar.
If intimacy is on your agenda, then give the Theatre on the Bay a whirl. Set in the well-heeled Camps Bay locale, it offers a theatre-dinner combo worth experiencing. The Kalk Bay Theatre is housed in a heritage-protected church in the picturesque fishing village of Kalk Bay, and enjoys a cult patronage.
For community theatre, head over to Muizenburg's Masque Theatre. This theatre offers amateur dramatic performances, giving the work of lesser-known playwrights a chance to be seen.
The 280-seater Fugard Theatre – Cape Town's latest theatre asset – is located within the Sacks Futeran building in the historic District Six, with the renovated Congregational Church Hall in Caledon Street as its entrance. It is named after Athol Fugard, South Africa's greatest playwright.
Most tickets for Cape Town theatres can be booked at the theatres, or through national ticket-seller Computicket.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)861 915 8000
How to get here
Refer to the theatre websites listed below.
Best time to visit
Theatre is an entertainment mainstay all year long, but do check the local press for visiting shows or shows with great reviews. If it's Shakespeare you're after, visit in the balmy summer months for outside amphitheatre shows.
Things to do
Look out for bang-for-your-buck student productions at the acclaimed University of Cape Town – these are often free to the public.
What to pack
A shawl, or jumper to cover your shoulders during showtime.
What to eat
Some of South Africa'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.
- Fugard Theatre
- Baxter Theatre
- Theatre on the Bay
- Kalk Bay Theatre
- Maynardville Open-Air Theatre
- Masque Theatre