Cape Town City Ballet at Maynardville. Photo: Supplied

Cape Town – The annual Shakespeare production is the flagship event of the Maynardville Open-Air Festival, but last year Maynardville was developed by its producers into a fully-fledged summer festival.
The 2019 festival is on from January 17 to March 10, with a vibrant mix of ballet, comedy, opera and music.

Before last year’s festival re-boot, Maynardville came across for many as an ad hoc unfurling of shows.

They were focused on the Shakespeare production (Richard III this year), but other shows popped up here and there. A bit of ballet. A bit of this and that. It was all over the place.

Then last year, the producers - Liquidmatch and a consortium of creatives - finely tuned and curated the event into the Maynardville Open-Air Festival.

The musical programme last year was outstanding as were the ballet and comedy platforms. Last year too, there was food, craft beer, decent coffee and wine. Sadly, the proprietors ran at a loss and this year it is back to tuckshop offerings.

The producers are negotiating with local restaurants to deliver to the park but that has not been finalised. So for now it is back to picnics.

Last year, there were blankets and cushions for hire. The same will be on offer this year. Don’t forget the mosquito repellent.

For this year’s festival, Cape Town City Ballet (CTCB) is staging Sean Bovim’s acclaimed Swingtime, set to popular 1930s swing songs.

The ballet was recently presented at Artscape to rapturous response. For the Maynardville season, it is being re-visited as Swingtime in the Park.

The ballet company is worthy of a major shout-out. As with Maynardville, for years CTCB was limping along and then it wasn’t.

The dancing last year was breathtaking. The dancers actively engaged with the park setting, gliding through the greenery.

With Debbie Turner on board as chief executive, famous for her indefatigability in attaining perfection, the company is soaring.

Turner said: “I am thrilled to be presenting Sean’s work at Maynardville in an ‘evening garden party’ setting. This will be my first presentation at Maynardville as CEO of CTCB and I really look forward to the experience.

“There is something wonderful about staging dance in a sylvan setting and most especially a work so reminiscent of a bygone era.”

The programme:

Famously Incidental - January 17-19: Rodney Trudgeon narrates and Brandon Phillips conducts the Cape Town Philharmonic. Programme features music inspired by plays. Trudgeon provides fascinating insights between numbers.

Swingtime in the Park - January 23-27: Sean Bovim’s ballet performed to the music of the 1930s. Cape Town City Ballet dancers give vooma to signature swing tunes.

Jesters in the Park 2 - January 31 to February 2.

Richard III - starring Alan Committie, February 7 to March 9.

Sunday Sessions - one-off shows

Opera in the Park with the Cape Town Opera - February 10.

Derek Gripper, guitarist, A Conversation of World Music - February 24.

Songs from Shakespeare with Graham Weir and Jono Tait - March 3.

Gospel Classics with the Vumani Choral Project, classical gospel music (Western and African) - March 10.

Shows generally start at 8.15pm. Sunday Sessions 7.45pm. Ticket prices range from R140-R250 with concessions for schools, block, students etc.

Book at Computicket.

For details visit www.maynardville.co.za