Cape Town’s annual Shakespeare under the stars has delighted audiences for 62 years but 2018 will take the theatre tradition into a new era with an expanded classical experience called the Maynardville Open-Air Festival. Showcasing a season of symphony, Shakespeare, ballet, comedy and more, the Festival weaves elements of Shakespeare into a selection of shows from 18 January – 3 March 2018.
The Maynardville Theatre Trust has partnered with Liquid Match productions, and is supported by Artscape, to bring the new Festival to life and sees well-known companies and producers contributing work to the line-up.
The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra will present the Symphonic Shakespeare concerts (18-20 January) followed by Cape Town City Ballet with Les Sylphides and The Firebird (24-28 January). The Cape Town Comedy Club will present Jesters in the Park (with a nod to the Bard); a high profile stand-up comedy lineup hosted by Rob van Vuuren from 31 January till the 3 February.
The Shakespeare for 2018 is The Taming of the Shrew; a fitting return to the first ever Shakespeare presented at Maynardville, but this time reinvented and re-energised by Tara Notcutt, and produced by Siv Ngesi and The Pink Couch. Notcutt’s all-female cast and pop treatment of the comedy is bound to shake up the stage between 7 February-3 March.
Maynardville Open-Air Theatre is a firm favourite with schools, and is for many students a primary exposure to theatre. This year is no different as the Festival will work closely with schools to bring groups of youths into the space for a special night under the stars.
It’s not just about the vibrant programme though. For many, a part of the tradition is taking a picnic to the park before watching the show. This year the Festival celebrates its patrons enjoying the picnic space by creating a buzz in the food options. Says producer Brian Heydenrych, “We are expanding the experience - and upscaling it in terms of quality and service. We will not take away the patrons ability to bring their own picnic - this is often a highlight for them - but we also want audiences to be able to be able to enjoy a prepared offering on site.”
Tickets range from R140-R210 (for an early bird ticket bought by 31 December) to R150-R220 for a normal ticket purchase. There are various concessions for students, groups and pensioners and a special season ticket for four opening nights can be purchased for R700 (a saving of R180).
Booking has now opened on Computicket and Artscape-dial-a-seat 021 421 7695. For more information follow the Maynardville Open Air Festival on Facebook.