Artscape Theatre Centre is excited to usher in its summer programme together with its brand new look and feel of its front-of-house foyers to boasts many facilities that make it the world-class theatre it is.

With Artscape’s stages hosting world-class performances, it is essential that the theatre caters for the needs of today’s performing arts and provides patrons with a comfortable experience. To greatly enhance the comfort of patrons, the foyers were transformed to include modern world facilities that cater for disabled, ageing and incapacitated audience members. Within the new foyer, audience comfort, an improved atmosphere, flexibility and disabled access were the overriding priorities for the refurbishment while bar facilities and coffee stations were increased for easier access and faster service during intervals. Look out for the free Wi-Fi access and audio-visual screens in foyers for information and advertising purposes. And, all of this happened while not once shutting its doors throughout the year-long overhaul.

The Artscape summer season is filled with a composite stocking of song, dance and merriment befitting of a Cape Town summer. High on any family’s priority list is the musical Matilda, in the Opera House from December 9 until January 13. Matilda The Musical is the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl, telling the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

The Jazz world recently celebrated the magnificent Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday and her timeless repertoire still brings joy to millions of jazz fan all over the world. Join SAMA winner Anna Davel and Sima Mashazi (the star of Miriam Makeba: The musical) in the Artscape Arena, with a swinging tribute to Ella Fitzgerald from December 19 to 22.

The very popular Swingtime at the ballet graces the Theatre stage from December 20 to January 5. This is the return of Sean Bovim’s ballet performed to the music of the swinging sixties. Relive the past as you watch the Cape Town City Ballet dancers interpreting hit tunes such as It had to be You, Unforgettable and Fly me to the Moon.

Also perfect for the whole family over the holiday season is The Little Mermaid from December 14 to January 6 in the Artscape Theatre. Adam Sage’s telling of this captivating story features the delicate Little Mermaid, the Handsome Prince, the evil Sea Witch and many more enchanting characters, choreographed for the Missouri Ballet a few years back and performed to sold out theatres. This production will highlight the versatility and acting skills of the dancers of the Cape Town City Ballet.

Summer in Cape Town will not be the same without Top Dog’s indigenous journey with their third instalment of the highly acclaimed Nama Jazz Series. The group will be drawing music from an ancient well and fuse it with modern Cape Jazz traditions and genres. This presentation will be underscored by the narrative: “this is who we are.” It is in the Arena from December 28 to 30. 

The indigenous theme continues with two acclaimed productions in January and February: Sarafina! and The story of Krotoa Eva. The latter is playwright Sylvia Vollenhoven and director Basil Appollis’s attempt at “finishing” the story that started three and a half centuries ago. This music theatre production is a multilingual, perspective-changing, intercultural, and musical tribute to a shared history between the Dutch and South Africa. Sarafina!, written and composed by the legendary Dr Mbongeni Ngema with additional songs by the late Struggle Icon Hugh Masekela, is an ode to the lives of our fallen youth who, through their struggles, fought for equality in education in 1976. The Show will be staged in early January in The Artscape Arena.

The Michael Jackson HIStory Show makes a welcome return to the Opera House stage in January. A musical tribute and live concert experience that journeys through Michael Jackson’s vast and incredible catalogue of work. This show features all of MJ’s greatest hits performed live by multi-talented impersonator Dantanio.

Community development is also never amiss at Artscape with the second annual Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra Community Gala Concert in February: a symphonic platform for community brilliance for several amazing young Capetonians, most performing for the first time in a mainstream symphony concert with a professional orchestra. It’s a celebration of talent across Cape Town’s communities.

Also in February, and known as the highlight of the creative calendar, Design Indaba’s flagship event has evolved into so much more than a conference. More than a talk shop, it’s an immersive experience that includes not only a series of design talks by creative industry heavyweights, but also music, performance and theatre, product launches, dance, and surprise appearances by creative industry leaders.
Named the best of its kind in the world, the annual Design Indaba Conference presents a stellar selection of international speakers over three days. Compelling presentations combine career-changing insights and the most cutting-edge work on the global circuit. 

Throw into this mixed bag of summer goodies, the wildly admired feel-good stage musical and winner of eight Tony Awards, Hairspray in February and summer is served with absolute style at Artscape. Hairspray’s timeless message is synonymous with Artscape’s: that everyone should be treated equally regardless of social, cultural and physical differences. Come for the intrigue. Stay for the drama. One thing is clear: at Artscape you can sing or dance for your supper this summer.