Luckily, our beloved capital city has an abundance of those esteemed sanctums in which these dramatic and musical arts are presented. Despite attendance declining in recent decades, these bastions of theatrical work are still very active in their fervent efforts to bring productions and initiatives to South African stagecraft. Herein, we highlight some of the most acclaimed and devoted theatres in Pretoria.
Exclusively dedicated to classical musical performances and productions, this intimate theatre opened in 1994. It has since become the primary home of the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra and has a steadfast youth program.
Audiences can look forward to performances of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony, a children’s production of “The Jungle Book”, and a performance by the Russian Orthodox Choir of the Alexander-Svirsky Monastery. They will also be mounting a production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” in January 2019.
The Pierneef Theatre
This modest hall has graced the “moot” district of the 012 for many years. This unwavering playhouse puts up both theatrical plays and musical shows. The theatre has acquired the resources and technology through the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities to help people with hearing-aids listen to performances without difficulty.
Upcoming attractions include: The drama “Tot Die Dood Ons Skei”, a run of children’s theatre performances such as “Hansie en Grietjie”, performances by Anna Davel and Kevin Leo, and a series of concerts in October by and for people with disabilities: “Ten Spyte Van/In Spite Of/Le Gago Le Bjalo”.
Probably one of the oldest theatres in Tshwane. “The Breytie” functioned as the most prominent theatre in the city from the mid-twentieth century until the early eighties. The theatre is currently owned by the Tshwane University of Technology as the chief venue for its academic programmes in the Department of Performing Arts. Here it stages shows for students as part of their training in practice and technique.
Audiences should keep their eyes peeled for the masterful student productions in drama, dance, vocal and musical recitals. These students are part of the long line of talented alumni who walked the theatre’s corridors and stage, such as Sandra Prinsloo and Marius Weyers.
Opened in 2011, this landmark of the east side hosts close to two-hundred shows a year. The clasically designed concert hall has played host to exceedingly notable dramatic and musical productions. The auditorium forms part of the Lynnwood Bridge retail development and boasts with some of the most cutting edge technology and spatial acoustic qualities.
Forthcoming attractions include: Coenie De Villiers and Deon Meyer’s Karoo Suite, “Drie Susters” (play), Barry Hilton, Roan Ash, “Mike and Mavis” (play), Die Melktert Kommissie, several Nataniël presentations, Karen Zoid, and “Mnr. Seks & Mev Kopseer” (play).
The South African State Theatre
This is the motherload of performing arts in the capital. Opening in 1981 as a pillar of achievement and a turning point in the country’s theatre. The complex has played host to “Cats”, “The Sound of Music”, “Sarafina!”, and “The Phantom of the Opera” among many others. The theatre prides itself in facilitating the arts and entertainment through excellence, diversity, and cultural development. The state theatre is dedicated to the audience’s interests and progress as much as to what is being mounted on their stages.
The calendar for this rich venue includes the “Tshwane Rea Tshwane” and “Shampoo Naiza” comedy shows, “Diketso” (play), Gounod’s “Faust” opera, and a series of performances by Tlokwe Sehume. However, it makes provisions to host an array of festivals, children’s theatre, dance, musicals, and even poetry productions.
Honourable mentions of theatres in Pretoria include: Centurion Theatre, UNISA Little Theatre, UP Aula, and Rockwood Theatre.