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Maynardville Theatre returns with Janni Younge’s 'Hamlet'

Hamlet at Maynardville. Picture: Supplied

Hamlet at Maynardville. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 18, 2022


Two years after shutting its doors, Maynardville Theatre finally reopens with a special once-off picnic and performance event titled “Igniting Maynardville” on Saturday, March 26.

One of the most popular outdoor theatres in Cape Town, Maynardville closed down during the lockdown and is working towards a “more sustainable” return in 2023.

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Maynardville’s annual Shakespeare under the stars has delighted audiences for 62 years but 2018 took the theatre tradition into a new era with an expanded classical experience called the Maynardville Open-Air Festival.

“We’ve had so many queries from people about a Maynardville season this year and we were also really keen to get something on stage again,” says Maynardville’s producer Brian Heydenrych.

“There is such history, tradition and triumph over adversity wrapped up in Maynardville and as the custodians of that, it felt important to re-emerge from the pandemic and share in a return to the hope and solace that the arts inspire.”

Theatre lovers will enjoy the performance of a series of three 10 minute emerging excerpts from Janni Younge’s new production of “Hamlet” in a picnic-style set up under the beautiful Cape Town skies.

Younge’s Hamlet, told through beautifully crafted life-size puppets, explores the complex psychological facets of humanity facing an onslaught of challenges.

“The scale of grief and anger that we live with is real and intense. The pandemic has brought to the fore questions of action and inaction, blame, responsibility, and self-doubt.

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“Shakespeare’s work is phenomenal in its capacity to bring the massive scale of emotions such as these into a context where we can see them. Where we can see ourselves.

“We have been blocked by the pandemic from access to the cathartic power of live performance and we are hungry for art and connection to ourselves and each other,” comments Younge.

The Department of Arts and Culture has come on board to financially assist the performance at Maynardville and the profits made will be reinvested into the Hamlet production as it comes into completion.

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“Over the last two iterations of the Maynardville season, we had started expanding the programme to include new shows and genres. We are not back in full form this year but we want to re-ignite the space and our audiences.

“This is a chance to reunite, gather support and enjoy the arts in a uniquely Maynardville experience and we look forward to celebrating with you,” adds Heydenrych.

Tickets are available at Quicket for R120. Ticket-holders should bring their own picnic blankets.

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The Maynardville park will also remain open to the public to picnic for free.

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