A guide to top theatres in Cape Town
The performing arts are alive and kicking in the Mother City, with a host of top-class playhouses putting on a diverse variety of performances all around the peninsula.
Cape Town’s vibrant performing arts scene is a theatre-lover’s dream, with performances across a myriad of genres at playhouses across the city. From Shakespeare under the stars, to spectacular opera, thought-provoking drama and hilarious comedy, the stages of the mother city offers something for everyone.
The Baxter Theatre
Situated in Rondebosch, just east of Cape Town’s CBD, The Baxter Theatre has played an important part in South Africa’s rich performing arts history, defying censorship during the Apartheid years by putting on sharp-edged, multi-racial performances. Today the Baxter continues this legacy by playing host to cutting-edge local and international productions, including drama, ballet, music and comedy.
Theatre on the Bay
On the other side of the Mountain, Pieter Toerien’s Theatre on the Bay serves up great food and great theatre. Situated just off Camps Bay’s main strip, it offers audiences an array of both local and international dramas, comedies, dance, cabaret, and musicals, next to the popular Side Dish Theatre Bistro.
Maynardville Open Air Theatre
Shakespeare’s Cape Town home, the Maynardville Open Air theatre plays host to Artscape’s annual Shakespear-in-the-Park where professional Shakespeare productions are performed under the stars on its wooden stage. The theatre is located in Maynardville Park in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.
If you’re looking for amateur theatre, The Masque Theatre in Muizenberg is just the place. Featuring a well equipped, 174-seat venue, this community theatre hosts amateur performances of all genres.
Kalk Bay Theatre
Situated in the quaint fishing village of Kalk Bay, this 78-seater theatre plays a number of musical, comedy and cabaret productions to its loyal patrons. It also has a bar area that serves drinks, snacks and light meals.
The Fugard Theatre
Named after world-famous South African playwright Athol Fugard, and located in historical District Six on the edge of the CBD, the Fugard Theatre is one of Cape Town’s most beloved theatres. Featuring two intimate theatres and a bioscope it has hosted a number of celebrated local and international performances, including The Rocky Horror Show and Waiting for Godot.
Alexander Upstairs Theatre
Right in the middle of Cape Town’s CBD is the popular Alexander Bar and Café. The theatre upstairs is known to be a hotbed of up-and-coming local talent, and hosts an array of diverse productions from comedy, live music, drama, poetry readings and much much more.
Established by renowned theatre director, Nicholas Ellenbogen to serve as a platform for up-and-coming artists and seasoned theatre veterans alike, the Rosebank Theatre is especially known for comedy and musical performances in its intimate, 50-seater venue . When visiting the theatre, please bring cash to purchase refreshments, as they current;y do not have card facilities available.
Rainbow Puppet Theatre
This unique little theatre is the only permanent puppet theatre in South Africa. Situated in the kindergarten building of the Constantia Waldorf School just south of Cape Town city centre, the little playhouse puts on puppet productions inspired by classic Grimm fairy tales every Saturday morning. The shows rotate every month and is recommended for toddlers 4 and up.
Contact the Constantia Waldorf School for more information: +27 (0) 21 783 2063
The Artscape Theatre
Cape Town’s premier performing arts venue, the magnificent Artscape theatre complex features four theatres that play host to everything from large-scale operas, internationally renowned ballet performances, to popular musicals.
Established in 1987 as a space to develop unique, topical and innovative African theatre, the Magnet Theatre in Observatory just outside the Cape Town CBD, is known for its critically acclaimed stage productions that inspires audiences of all ages.
The Willowbrigde Barnyard Theatre in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs offers highly entertaining in-house productions enjoyed in a friendly, family atmosphere. Guests sit around large wooden tables and can bring their own picnic baskets, or order from the cash bars or coffee stations.