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A Touch of Inner City Magic at the Joburg Theatre Complex

Est. Reading: 4 minutes
The Joburg Theatre is an institution in the inner city theatre scene. They stage everything from big-budget musicals to one man comedy shows and all things in between. Visiting one of their three theatres is always a treat, bringing a little bit of theatre magic to the sometimes dreary city landscape waiting just outside. So, take some time out and spend a day at the theatre. You won't be sorry you came, we promise. 

The Joburg Theatre Complex stands tall and proud atop a hill in busy Braamfontein. You can spot it for miles, with its gleaming glass exterior and the bright billboards advertising upcoming shows. I distinctly remember my first ever visit to the Joburg Theatre - on a Grade 2 field trip to see The Jungle Book. Since then, I have returned more times than I can count on two hands and two feet. I have also been fortunate enough to step backstage to discover all the secret workings of the mysterious theatre. There is far more going on back there than you could imagine!

Nevertheless, to the average theatre goer, the Joburg Theatre is a seamless, well-oiled machine. Pumping out over 50 shows a year, this should be your go-to for a little inner city theatre magic. Boasting three separate theatre spaces, Joburg Theatre offers everything from Broadway-esque musicals to South African protest theatre classics and more. Here's a little bit more about the Joburg Theatre's three venues:

Joburg Theatre

The Nelson Mandela Stage

The Nelson Mandela Stage is the Joburg Theatre Complex's largest venue. Seating just over 1 000 audience members, The Nelson Mandela Theatre is an impressive auditorium, decorated in the trademark theatre reds and golds. The Mandela operates for over 55 days a year, often bringing in at least 75% audience attendance. The venue hosts the annual Janice Honeyman Panto, the Joburg Ballet, big-budget musicals and operas. If you are looking for a traditional theatre experience with a unique South African twist, this is the place for you.

What's On

Joburg Ballet presents La Traviata on the Nelson Mandela stage this July. This ballet was last staged at Joburg Theatre in 2017. Adapted by renowned choreographer Veronica Paeper, this is one of Joburg Ballet's most hotly anticipated shows for the year. Come and be swept away by Verdi's magical score, adapted for the ballet by composer and conductor Allan Stephenson. The staging of La Traviata also comes at a very special time - Joburg Ballet celebrates 21 years of excellence in 2022, while Joburg Theatre marks the big 60! Don't miss out on this incredible performance. There will only be eight performances, so be sure to book your tickets now. 

The Lesedi Theatre

The Lesedi Theatre, formerly known as the Fringe, is the Joburg Theatre's second largest venue. It is the theatre's most versatile space, staging anything from student productions, to adaptations of Brecht and Chekov's best known works. The Lesedi often hosts productions touring Joburg before they head off to big festivals, such as the National Arts Festival. So, pay them a visit if you are unable to make the great 969km trek to Makhanda, or if you are just looking to see some great theatre right here at home.

What's On

Moving Into Dance presents Ingress this April. This spectacular dance piece honours the right to access the theatre space and the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the dance industry. The show features three dance pieces to amaze and move you - the international award winning piece “Road” by Oscar Buthelezi, “fight, flight, feathers & f**kers” by Sunnyboy Motau and Rachel Erdos and “Despot” by Lesego Dihemo. If you've missed live performance and dance in particular over the past few years, this is definitely the show for you. Get your tickets here.

Moving Into Dance presents 'Ingress.'


The is the smallest of the Joburg Theatre's venues. Nevertheless, this tiny space has played home to a number of successful productions. This is often the venue allocated to independent theatre shows looking to gather an open-minded audience. One man shows are the bread and butter of this venue, too. Visit the to see cutting-edge theatre on the brink of making it big.

What's On

Comedian Khaya Mdaka presents his one-man show Growing Up Ugly at the on Friday, 29 April 2022. As the title suggests, the show is about Khaya's journey "growing up ugly", as well as his vast travels and his many interactions with all kinds of people. Come and enjoy a good laugh, maybe a little cry, and some excellent live entertainment at the this April. Tickets cost just R80 pre-sale on Webtickets, so get yours now!

Stages Restaurant

The Joburg Theatre Complex not only offers you great entertainment, but a superb dining experience as well. Stop by Stages Restaurant before or after a show. Their menu features an array of contemporary cuisine offerings, including vegetarian choices. Stages is a great place to hang out and talk about the awesome show you have just seen. Plus, the actors occasionally pop in for a bite between shows, so you can thank them for their performances or sneak a quick selfie.

For More Information 

For more information about the Joburg Theatre Complex, visit their website. Or, book a tour of the theatre for only *R30 per person.

Follow Joburg Theatre on social media for events updates:

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Contact the theatre Box Office on 0861 670 670 or via email at [email protected]


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