Cape Town’s classical open air theatre experience in Maynardville Park, Wynberg, is back this summer after a three year hiatus and is now under the management of award-winning entertainment production company VR Theatrical (Jaco van Rensburg and Wessel Odendaal).
The Maynardville Open Air Theatre Festival season is always a summer highlight and has in recent years come to include more than just the traditional Shakespeare play, with a full line-up of classics under the stars. VR Theatrical is keeping this expanded seasonal format, blending Shakespeare with classical concerts across the genres.
The 2023 Shakespeare play will be the magical and much-loved A Midsummer Nights’ Dream. Directed by Geoffrey Hyland who, after his tremendous successes with Richard the Third (2019) and Twelfth Night (2017), promises a new spin on this fantastical classic. The production will star Chi Mhende and Mark Elderkin.
Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn as the orchestral programme and Cape Town City Ballet will present a programme of two works under the title SummerSnow – contrasting the heat of summer with performances inspired by sharp, icy winter themes. Maynardville Festival’s programme will also put Cape Town Opera under the night sky with an unmissable choral performance and soloists singing Songs of Shakespeare in tribute to the great bard.
The season dates are:
19 – 21 January – The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra 26 – 29 January – Cape Town Opera 2 – 23 February – A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1 – 5 March – Cape Town City Ballet
The tradition of enjoying a picnic in the park continues to be part of the Maynardville theatre ritual but picnics can now be pre-ordered from the Festival organisers and collected on arrival. Patrons can also enjoy a range of food and drinks from the Maynardville Evening Food Market which will be running throughout the Festival and will be open for all to enjoy in the summer evenings.
VR Theatrical’s Van Rensburg and Odendaal are experienced producers, having presented blockbuster Broadway plays and musicals, and commissioned and developed original, new theatrical productions.
Says Van Rensburg, “We recently opened a new production office in Cape Town and were absolutely thrilled when the opportunity to present Maynardville came our way. It is a cornerstone of the Cape Town theatre calendar with history dating back to 1956 when two brave and ambitious women, Cecilia Sonnenberg and Rene Ahrenson, staged the first Shakespeare play at Maynardville. It was a bold idea that paid off and has been a tradition for many over the years. We are hoping to honour this legacy by presenting a summer season that delights, entertains and celebrates the return of live theatre that will give us all a few hours of pure magic under the stars.”
VR Theatrical’s mandate of theatre education has a strong developmental element and the Maynardville Open Air Theatre Festival will be partnering with the Open Culture Foundation to kickstart a personal development programme focused on the training and upskilling of a new generation of technical theatre producers across sound, light and stage management.
Tickets for the 2023 Maynardville Open Air Theatre Festival range from R160-R300 and are available via Quicket.