Spotlight: Things are getting cinematically theatrical at the Fugard

February 3, 2017

For the last five years the Fugard Theatre Bioscope season has brought audiences only the best in live recorded screenings of everything from theatre and ballet to opera, as seen on the world’s most famous stages. With the launch of their sixth season on the rooftop (yes rooftop!) of the Fugard Theatre, Greg Karvellas, Resident Director and General Manager, announced an even more impressive programme for 2017 to entice and entertain audiences.


A theatre wonderland certainly awaits, as The Fugard Theatre now not only partners with The National Theatre, The Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet, but also The Globe Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Salzburg Festival. That deserves a ‘wow!’ exclamation, because it means that patrons undoubtedly can expect only the best in quality and variety in choice!


With world-class productions lined-up, audiences will be cinematically transported via live recordings to an as-close-to-the-real-thing escapism experience as one can get. Some of the highlights on my must see list are:


* The Golden Age, a The Bolshoi Ballet production, a dance inspired satire of Europe during the roaring 20s (26 February 2017 at 11am);

* The National Theatre’s West End staging of No Man’s Land, starring Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart of X-men fame (19 March 2017 at 11am);

* One of Puccini’s most popular operas, Madama Butterfly, as seen at The Royal Opera House (23 April 2017 at 11am);

* Amadeus, as seen at The National Theatre, starring Lucian Msamati, also known for roles in Luther and Game of Thrones (14 May 2017 at 11am);

* The Royal Ballet staged Woolf Works, the first revival of Wayne McGregory’s critically acclaimed ballet triptych, inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf (4 June 2017 at 11am);

* Richard II straight from The Globe Theatre, the home of all things Shakespeare (2 July 2017 at 11am); and

* Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci, two one act operas, that brought record attendances to The Salzburg Easter Festival (9 July 2017 at 11am).


These are just the productions that caught my eye. There are 20 Bioscope screenings in total for you to attend every Sunday until 13 August, all equally impressive. Just check out the Bioscope brochure here and you’ll see I’m not just leading you on:


Now after perusing that line-up, you can’t but agree it is pretty spectacular. Very aptly titled "The 2017 Fugard Bioscope World Arts Cinema Season". However, a Bioscope visit to The Fugard is so much more than just a movie when it comes to the theatre-as-a-lifestyle experience…


Charming, calm & elegant
Apart from the absolute charm and old Cape Town style beauty of the historic building (it truly stands out as a beacon in District 6), the ambiance once you enter is unpretentious yet elegant. It vibrates the classical calm energy your art-loving soul yearns for on a Sunday morning before the rush of a new week.


With comfy couches, divine cappuccinos, delicious treats (including fresh popcorn), and excellent wine options at the bar (though between 10am and 11am on a Sunday morning may be a tad early for day-drinking), lounging in the Fugard foyer is practically encouraged. I usually arrive a good hour before any show, whether live performance or cinematic treat, just to lazy about at this theatre gem. If you are in luck, someone may even play a tune on the charming piano that forms part of the well chosen décor.


Oh that view!

If Mother Nature is in a good mood and Adamastor the Spirit of Table Mountain calms the winds, weather permitting you can pop up to the utterly amazing Fugard Theatre rooftop bar with breathtaking views of the city for a spot of sparkling wine (read breakfast mimosa) or a fabulously flavoursome cup of coffee. If you don't know where the rooftop bar is, just let your nose follow the coffee aroma all the way up the stairs, past the Fugard Studio, and upwards towards the sky. It is worth the climb, I promise you!


Friendly and inviting
One thing that always stands out for me is the friendly smiles of the Fugard Theatre staff. Whether they have seen you before and are welcoming you back, or are opening the door for you as a first time visitor, the greeting you receive is equally as sincere and always inviting. They make it feel as if you are just casually popping by for a coffee and movie at a friend's abode.


What are the need-to-know practical details?
The Bioscope screenings start at 11am on Sunday mornings. I would advise popping in a bit earlier for that mentioned coffee, a snack and a bit of lounging around. Plan to be finished around 1:30pm, maybe even 2pm, depending on the length of the screening, as there are intervals too. I would think it best to only commit to meeting up with friends for lunch around 2:30pm to also give yourself some time to revel in the memory of the magic you just witnessed. Tickets can be booked through Computicket and are R100 per person.

There is ample parking in the area on the corner (across Dias Tavern), literally a hop, skip and a jump away if you are wearing ballet pumps... in stilettos you may want to add an extra hop and skip for good distance measure. But honestly, this is not even a 5 minute walk away from the theatre.


So what now?
Now it is simply up to you to get your amazing self to the Fugard Theatre for a great Bioscope experience this Sunday, and every Sunday thereafter as often as possible, to go soak up all things cinematically theatrical with an international flair in full HD, surround sound, comfort. I am willing to bet that once the Fugard Bioscope bug has bitten (and oh it will) you will be there more often than not. Enjoy!


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