One of the most important figures 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 shining light and brilliant example of what the Rainbow Nation is all about, acting as the launchpad of the next generation’s theatrical 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.
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 famous stage also showcases productions of the Johannesburg Ballet and it’s here that you can enjoy Janice Honeyman’s annual festive season pantomimes.
Independent theatre is the lifeblood of the performing arts. POPArt in the Maboneng Precinct on Fox Street is at the forefront of the indie scene and is run by a handful of dedicated craftsmen and women. It’s also a personal favourite of the Joburg.co.za crew, also for its social upliftment efforts. The theatre is passionate about reaching out to inner-city children by entertaining and educating them.
From dress parade to curtain call, the Soweto Theatre is the hip, youngster on the theatrical performance block. The theatre’s architectural aesthetics resembles a life-size Piet Mondrian painting and productions include everything from live music performances to township-style Shakespeare.