The Joburg Theatre Complex
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. Let me tell you, 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 four 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 four venues:
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.
NSA Festival of the Arts
The 19th annual NSA Festival of the Arts returns to Joburg Theatre in March 2020. Presenting Hip Hop Hamlet, a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy. Set in the corporate world of Elsinore, where greed and corruption reign, Hip Hop Hamlet spins Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter on its head. Reciting the Bard’s famous lines in hip hop beats, the NSA students offer high school students a fresh look at their school setworks. Proving that Shakespeare is still relevant today, Hip Hop Hamlet is a must-see for all ages.
Dates: Wednesday, 04 March 2020 – Sunday, 08 March 2020.
Tickets cost R80 – R100 per person. Book yours here.
Joburg Ballet’s Don Quixote
Joburg Ballet proudly presents ballet’s most fiery stage narrative, Don Quixote. Starring two of the Royal Ballet’s most esteemed dancers, Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov in the roles of the passionate Spanish lovers. Opening the Joburg Ballet 2020 season, Don Quixote promises to be a thrilling experience for young and old. Treat yourself to a ticket or two!
Dates: Friday, 13 March 2020 – Sunday, 22 March 2020.
Tickets cost between R110 – R262 per person. Book yours here.
The Color Purple The Musical
Bernard Jay and Janice Honeyman’s musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple returns to the Joburg Theatre stage for one final season this April. A moving story about adversity against all odds, the bonds of sisterhood and ultimate redemption, this is a definite must-see for 2020. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
Dates: Thursday, 02 April 2020 – Sunday, 12 April 2020.
Tickets cost between R240 – R400 per person. Book yours here.
The Space.com 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 Space.com to see cutting-edge theatre on the brink of making it big.
The Rise and Fall of African Gospel: The Clash Musical
The Space.com presents a play about two infamous historical figures – Tiyo Soga and Prophetess Nonqgawuse. One a leader of the Presbyterian church and the other a prophetess renowned for a mass cattle-killing and subsequent famine. Through the guise of these two personas, the play examines African spirituality and the intersections between the African gospel and Christianity.
Dates: Wednesday, 29 January 2020 – Sunday, o2 February 2020.
Tickets cost R60 for students or R80 per person full price. Book yours here.
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.
I See You
Pinto Ferreira’s latest work, titled I See You delves into deep societal issues around mental health and childhood abuse. Definitely not one for the faint hearted, I See You follows a character named Women. Raised in a home without the presence of love or comfort, Woman escapes her reality by fluctuating between four different personalities, a middle-aged cabaret star, a four-year-old German girl, and Rabbit, a personality that only howls.
Doctor Bernstein is Woman’s psychiatrist. Having had little success with her treatment, he discards traditional methods and initiates an unusually invested approach to her condition. This chilling work is strictly for over 18s.
Dates: Friday, 07 February 2020 – Sunday, 09 February 2020.
Tickets cost R120 – R180 per person. Book yours here.
The Peoples Theatre
Joburg Theatre is also home to Jill Girard and Keith Smith’s Peoples Theatre Company. Housed just a short walk from the main complex, the Peoples Theatre stage children’s musical theatre pieces all year round to adoring young audiences. Catering to kids aged between three and 13 years of age, the Peoples Theatre is the perfect place to introduce your children to the magic of live performance. Adults are welcome to join in on the fun, too, by singing along.
Disney’s The Jungle Book
Bring the little ones to the theatre over the Easter school holidays to see Disney’s The Jungle Book. Featuring all your favourite characters and songs from the original motion picture. The kids will love to see courageous Mowgli take on the menacing Shere Khan. With his trusted friends Bagheera and Baloo by his side, Mowgli faces the dangers of the jungle, emerging triumphant. Perfect family fun entertainment.
Dates: Saturday, 07 March 2020 – Sunday, 26 April 2020.
Tickets cost R149 per person. Book yours here.
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
Follow Joburg Theatre on social media for events updates:
Facebook – facebook.com/joburgtheatre/
Twitter – twitter.com/joburgtheatre
Contact the theatre Box Office on 0861 670 670 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org