Renowned as the most important figure in South African theatre, Pieter Toerien once sat outside German actress Marlene Dietrich’s house for days on end to convince her to have a word with him, and eventually persuaded her to sign a tour contract with him. Due to his persistence and dedication to the craft, the coolest theatres around now bear his name, and the Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino has been the stomping ground of many a production in Johannesburg.
Located in Jozi’s art district of Newtown, the Market Theatre opened in 1976, operating as an independent, non-racial theatre during the country’s apartheid regime. And what was once deemed a “grey” area by the National Party is today a glimmering light and brilliant example of what the Rainbow Nation is all about, acting as the launchpad of the next generation’s stage talent. The Market Theatre’s vision is to create an authentic mzansi cultural experience while providing the highest level of artistic excellence in all aspects of the performing and visual arts realm.
Run by the City of Joburg and home to the Mandela Auditorium, the Joburg Theatre is the flagship of the city’s theatre scene. This applauded stage also houses the Johannesburg Ballet, where the company’s productions may be viewed. Plus, it is here that you can enjoy Janice Honeyman’s annual festive season pantomimes.
Pop Art Theatre
Independent theatre is the lifeblood of the performing arts. Pop Art in Ferreirasdorp is at the fore of the indie scene and is run by a handful of dedicated craftsmen and women. It is also a personal favourite of the Joburg.co.za crew, as Pop Art Theatre is passionate about reaching out to inner-city children in the way of entertaining and educating the local little ones.
From dress parade to curtain call, the Soweto Theatre is the hip, young newcomer on the stage performance block. The theatre’s architectural aesthetics resembles a life-size Piet Mondrian painting. Its productions run from live music performances to township-style Shakespeare.
By Shawn Greyling
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