Are you looking for fun in the City Of Gold's central business district? Then look no further! We've put together a comprehensive guide to entertainment in the Joburg CBD.
The Hillbrow Theatre Community Centre, home to the Hillbrow Theatre Project, is a unique space that incorporates 5 practice spaces, a dance studio as well as the Hillbrow Theatre itself. The centre comprises a 368-seater theatre built in the 1970’s, which is equipped with a film projector, a sound system and lighting rig. These spaces have been rendered safe environments for learners of all ages to engage with the performing arts in a meaningful way.
Visit The Hillbrow Theatre
The Market Theatre, based in the downtown bohemian suburb of Newtown, was opened in 1976, operating as an independently, anti-racist theatre during the country’s apartheid regime. It is named after an original fruit and vegetable market which was located there.
Visit The Market Theatre
Previously located in Ferreirasdorp (and currently looking for a new home), POPArt stands for People of Performing Art, and that’s exactly what the theatre is all about: providing a platform for the showcasing of some of the freshest work and ideas from some of the hottest emerging and established Performing Arts talents in Johannesburg. From children's theatre to independent productions, POPArt does it all.
Situated in the north of Johannesburg on the main road, is the ABSA bank tower. The ABSA Art Gallery is inside the ABSA tower. The prestigious art competition that allows artists and architects to work together to create a space that accommodated the artworks perfectly, the Barclays L’Atelier is held at the Absa Towers North building in the Johannesburg CBD. The gallery opens Monday to Friday at 8:30 – 16:00 and is closed on weekends and public holidays.
Visit The ABSA Art Gallery
The Standard Bank Gallery is an exciting exhibition space situated in the heart of downtown Johannesburg. Since it opened in 1990, it has become one of the city’s foremost fine art venues. Standard Bank is committed to developing the arts in many facets, but the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg has to be one of the leaders in developing young artistic talent in South Africa. Every year Standard Bank hands out the highly acclaimed and very prestigious Young Artist Award where young artists get the acknowledgment and recognition they need to launch a long-lived and successful career. The best part? Admission to the gallery is free!
In 1991 returning exile and artist Kim Berman and Nhlanhla Xaba, an up-and-coming Soweto artist, founded Artist Proof Studios to develop talented artists from disadvantaged backgrounds. Tragically Xaba died in 2003 in a fire that destroyed the original studio premises. In tribute, the studio's new location at the Bus Factory contains many works salvaged from the fire. Today APS acts as a specialist art education centre with a focus on printmaking.
Visit Artist Proof Studios
It doesn't get any cooler than this! And is an underground club in Newtown. Known for its electronica ranging between techno, house, and drum and bass, And offers a party like no other. The club is known for its TOY TOY and Addictshun club nights and its involvement with Afrika Burn.
Visit And Club
Rocking the Joburg skyline since 1985, Carfax nightclub in Newtown has partied with generations upon generations. Its doors act as a rite of passage to any and all varsity students who attend any of the local universities in town.
The 360-degree Roof of Africa viewing level is a great place to get perspective on the city's incredible scale and many neighbourhoods. Aside from the view, there's little to do up here with just a scuzzy cafe and a small collection of photos, although the telescopes are a welcome addition to the bird's-eye experience. The entrance kiosk and lifts are tricky to find.
Address: Carlton Centre, 150 Commissioner St, Marshalltown, Johannesburg, 2000
Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. The site is a former prison and military fort that bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past and, today, is home to the country’s Constitutional Court, which endorses the rights of all citizens. Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi. Joe Slovo. Albertina Sisulu. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Fatima Meer. They all served time here, but the precinct also confined tens of thousands of ordinary people during its 100-year history.
Visit Constitution Hill
We had a chat with two representatives from the Outreach Foundation to find out more about their upcoming Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival.
The Outreach Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. They work predominantly with young people living in the inner-city. Fostering a love of learning through the arts, the Outreach Foundation is a vital body of hard-working and dedicated practitioners, educators and counsellors.
Each year before the festival a team of facilitators go into inner-city schools to work with learners on a weekly basis. Facilitators from the Outreach Foundation’s Performing Arts Project, young artists working in the city and second-year Market Theatre Laboratory students make up this team. Learners from these schools then present their work at the Hillbrow Theatre at the Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival. This year's festival is presented as part of the Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival.
"At school we only follow the textbooks, while at the theatre we follow our minds," - Isaro Cast Member, Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival 2013.
The Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival celebrates its 15th anniversary in September 2019. The festival has been made possible through the continued support of inner-city schools, their principals, parents and partner organisations. One of which is The City of Johannesburg, whom have supported the festival since its inception. Other funders include Department of Arts and Culture, Rand Merchant Bank, Ford Foundation and Bread for the World. In addition, the Market Theatre Laboratory have provided guidance, training and equipment for the past seven years.
The Outreach Foundation celebrate this milestone with a record number of 41 participating schools at this year's festival! Each school will perform an original work starring their most talented students.
"Gender and Sexuality is a complex part of being a teenager. It is vital that teachers, parents and young people courageously engage in these conversations," the Outreach Foundation says. "This theme will hopefully give us courage to explore the unhealthy silence around these topics that plagues our country. [We hope to] encourage learners and facilitators to engage this topic individually and in their communities long after the festival closes."
The challenge of the Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival 2019 is to encourage inter-generational discussions about gender and sexuality. Bringing these conversations into the theatre is one of the ways that the foundation aim to bridge boundaries.
"Sex is complicated and complex. Theatre is complex and complicated. Theatre can be naughty, it can be playful, you can be daring on stage and you can play around with different roles, personas and genders. Sex can be funny, undignified and ridiculous…and so can theatre. Both sex and theatre are exhilarating, dangerous, fun and risky," they argue.
The goal is ultimately to employ the arts as a powerful tool. Allowing young people to re-imagine themselves and the world they live in. By sharing their stories with their parents, peers and audiences, there is hope that they may find commonality and freedom, creating “allies” for those that have been made to feel “othered”.
You can expect a jam-packed line up at this year's festival. Over five days, the 41 schools will present their original productions. The concluding day of the festival will see the adjudicators present the top four finalists and awards to outstanding performers. The adjudication panel features the likes of Mpho Molepo, poet Khutjo Green and director and writer Napo Masheane.
"It is amazing how young people, given a chance, start to speak about who they are and where they come from," Masheane says.
Nine schools will present their works on stage per day. The festival kicks off on Friday, 30 August 2019 at 10:00 and runs until Saturday, 7 September 2019. Tickets cost only R15 per person for each show, so you really have no excuse not to attend! Contact [email protected] to reserve your tickets.
Visit the Outreach Foundation website for more information. Or, you can follow them on social media for event updates and more:
Facebook - facebook.com/OutreachFoundation
Twitter - twitter.com/OFHillbrow
Contact them on +27 (0)11 720 7011 or via email at [email protected]