Bookings open: RATA Summer Season -2020/21 -Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre, Riebeek Kasteel, West Coast, Cape Town, South Africa

When: November 17, 2020 to end of April 2021 Where: RATA is on the grounds of The Royal Hotel Address: 33 Main St, Riebeeck Kasteel, 7307 Tickets: R100-R120. Seating is unreserved Booking: Website: Arrival time: At least 15 mins before–Covid protocols – temp checks etc Theatre and accommodation packages:  Shawn at Riebeek Valley Tours 082 528 6785 or e-mail Distance from Cape Town: 80km

Bookings are open for RATA’s 2020/21 Summer Season of live perforamnce. The season falls under the ambit of Arts Town, Riebeek Valley and has been curated by renowned theatre director Mark Graham-Wilson who is the director of the Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre (RATA).

The amphitheatre is on the grounds of The Royal Hotel and was designed and built by the hotel’s owner, Robert Brendel. This beautiful outdoor theatre can accommodate up to one hundred people with physical distancing measures in place. Currently there are sculpture installations in the theatre and in the vicinity, commissioned by Emma Willemse, a conceptual artist. Willemse is a resident of Riebeek Kasteel and the installations are part of The Stone Circle Project. She worked with young people during lockdown and they gathered stones and rocks from the surrounding mountains. The plan is to return the rocks and stones to the natural habitat, when the season is over. The stone circles demarcate social distancing spaces and are emblematic of circles – of life, creativity, containment, resilience.

I was at the launch of the season on September 9, 2020. We were in lockdown level two. At that point, regulations had been eased to allow the maximum of 50 people in a venue. It was very surreal to be at the launch. It was the first time, since lockdown that I attended a theatre event. Wine was served. There was a band playing. I wore a dress for the first time since lockdown.  People spoke to each other – through masks. It was incredible.

With lockdown level 1, and as of date of publication, October 15, 2020, it is legal to seat up to 50% in a venue.

Riebeek Kasteel is 80km from CBD Cape Town. One is looking at least a one and half hour drive, depending on traffic. It makes sense to stay over – either at the Royal Hotel or in a B&B or other type of accommodation in the area. We stayed at The Royal Hotel, as a guest of RATA and enjoyed this charming heritage hotel. The gardens are immaculate, view is incredible. There is a very inviting bar, which I did not have a chance to visit. The older style rooms that we stayed in are lovely; kitted out with white linen, gowns [spa on the premises]. If you want a room with a view, go for Suite no 1 – part of four new suites at the hotel. Impressed with the service and attention to detail.

Bravo to hotel owner, Robert Brendel for being an amazing patron of the arts and for providing RATA as a venue and platform – especially during Covid. Bravo to Mark Wilson and team for creating this incredible platform for theatre, during the pandemic – a safe platform which is Covid friendly – outdoors and is a safe and creative space for people to once again commune at the theatre.

The opening production is Covid Moons (November 17-21), written and direced by multi award-winning Clare Stopford and starring Sipumziwe Licwaba and Nicol Steyn. The RATA season marks the world premiere. Stopford explains: “I was fascinated by how a new relationship could be navigated through the dividing wall of two balconies, within the limitations of social isolation but (hopefully) in language that was intimate. What we watch as the play unfolds is two needy figures finding each other in their efforts to bring meaning to the upheavals they are experiencing. And to do this they must find new resources and transcend old boundaries.”

See box for programme and check back on TheCapeRobyn, for updates regarding the 2021 programme

Covid Moons: November 12-21, 2020
Oom Schalk From The Heart: December 18 – 19, 2020
An Audience With Miss Hobhouse: December 4-5, 2020