Theatre Scene Cape Town
It has been 10 years. What began as a lark quickly became a healthy obsession. We are still here and so are you, dear reader.
Theatre Scene Cape Town has, over the past decade, seen the best that South African theatre has to offer. We have seen wonders unfurl on unadorned stages, sudden intimacy in blockbuster spectacles, beloved theatres shut their doors permanently, practitioners walk away from promising careers, stars rise and fall, ground-breaking spaces that challenge the old guard, institutions reinventing themselves, tiny festivals growing into behemoths, new voices being celebrated, productions failing spectacularly, unlikely successes, old favourites and out-of-nowhere eruptions of extreme talent.
Almost everyone involved in the theatre industry, whether a direct participant or an observer on the periphery, has heard at one time or another that theatre is in serious decline and on its way out as a form of entertainment. This has, thankfully, been scoffed at by true lovers and practitioners of the craft of theatre-making: “Theatre’s been dying for centuries, but we’re still here.”
Then came COVID and the curtain fell. It seemed the naysayers were right. This thing we love was destined to be abandoned to the garbage heap of history. Careers were cut short, institutions were shuttered, festivals were relegated to shadows caused by glowing smartphone screens, theatre education was halted, audiences were housebound, practitioners scrambled to other industries to keep themselves fed and clothed, artists were lost, the art itself became a sad whisper among friends or a hopeless scream into the netherworld of social media. Theatre died and left us behind.
There were embers in the ashes, though. They glowed and fought to keep us warm and we emerge from the darkness to find that 2022 is offering us cautious possibilities. The current slate of productions on the schedule may change as the year goes on, and some may fall by the wayside, but the mere fact that people are willing to risk everything to bring us this craft we hold so close to our hearts, is almost too joyful to comprehend. Of course, some of these upcoming shows will not be to everyone’s taste and quality will see-saw between productions, but among the few or many theatrical experiences we will have this year, there will be the standouts. Some will be our favourites of the year. At least one will stay with us for the rest of our lives. This is guaranteed, because it happens every year. It has been happening to Theatre Scene Cape Town for ten years.
As theatre gets back on its feet, so does this site. We will celebrate, with you, the shows that risk everything during this uncertain year. We look forward to shuffling towards a seat, the house lights dimming and the birth of new worlds in black boxes with limited lighting rigs, as well as the delightful explosion of sight and sound from a thousand-seater auditorium. We’ll look around at the familiar faces, rapt with attention at the unfolding and nearly impossible magic occurring before our eyes. We will nod to acquaintances on the other side of the foyer and make our way over to friends to have a glass of wine and argue/agree about what we’ve seen and what we will see. We will leave every play excited for the next one. We will re-addict ourselves to this fragile thing called theatre and marvel at its existence.
Our hope is that you’re there with us. Perhaps only for one night, but theatre-gods willing, for another ten years.