Outdoor theatre: Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre (RATA) Summer Theatre Season 2021-2022- programme includes cinema, theatre, music and poetry

Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre (RATA) Summer Theatre Season 2021-2022

When: November 6, 2021 until May 28, 2022 Where: 33 Main St, Riebeek Kasteel- on the grounds of The Royal Hotel
Booking:  Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events

Info: Georgina 082 570 3083/Mark 082 851 1262   Website: https://artstown.co.za/  

The Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre (RATA) Summer Theatre Season 2021-2022- is lifting off with a screening of Covid Moons – The Movie. Covid Moons was staged at RATA in November 2020. It was staged in Atlantic Studios for the National Arts Festival 2021 and live streamed on the NAF website. The filmed recording – Covid Moons – The Movie – will be screened -on stage – at RATA on November 6. There will be popcorn and slushies – cinema under the stars. Director Clare Stopford and the cast will be in attendance, for a Q&A with the audience. The rest of the RATA 2021/2022 season is live performance. That is the plan. We hope that there are no more Covid variants and no further lockdowns. The 2021/2022 season is delicious mix and includes children’s theatre with Jungle Theatre Company with Python and the Qunube Tree and a new Godfrey Johnson cabaret – Smile- directed by Mark Graham-Wilson. Last year’s RATA season was spectacular- theatre in a glorious setting – on the grounds of The Royal Hotel. Check back with TheCapeRobyn as we unpack shows in this exciting season. Info as supplied.

Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre (RATA) Summer Theatre Season 2021-2022  

Covid Moons – The Movie -Saturday November 6 at 8.15pm

Once-off screening of the RATA / National Arts Festival production. Written and directed by Clare Stopford, the movie stars Celeste Loots and Thulani Nzonzo as Magda and Lufuno, two young people from very different backgrounds trapped in their adjacent apartments during the first days of the Covid-19 hard lockdown. Unable to touch, they communicate across the divide between their balconies as they grapple to come to terms with the realities of their new existence. Funny, poignant and moving, the film was made at the Atlantic Studios in Cape Town and will be discussed by the actors and director who will be present after the screening. If you missed the original live production which opened RATA in November 2020 – and even if you didn’t – come and experience the film version of this important play about the weird and wonderful times we are living through. Enjoy some open-air cinema – complete with popcorn and slushies.

Tickets at R 100 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events

“A thought provoking and tender reflection on a period we are still living through with all its fears and uncertainties – but also… its potential for connection.“ Karen Rutter Weekend Special

“… vat die menslike kant en onmeetbare opofferinge wat die pandemie verg sprekend vas… Stopford het ‘n sensitiewe en teer drama geskep.” Laetitia People, Die Burger

“The online staging is a triumph – a masterful transition from stage to screen. Ground-breaking… a remarkable achievement.“  Robyn Cohen, The Cape Robyn

Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn:

Python and the Qunube Tree -Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4 at 7.30pm

Jungle Theatre Company and RATA present a magical show for children aged 6 to 12 performed by Naledi Tlailane, Vincent Meyburgh, Siyawandisa Badi and Mario Matiya. When a terrible drought leaves all the animals on the brink of starvation, little tortoise saves the day by freeing the Qunube berries for the animals to eat. The story is told in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa with a large python puppet, magical animal masks and beautiful singing. The Friday performance includes a walk, led by Python, to the Riebeek Kasteel village square to witness the lighting of the special Christmas Tree and treats for the children.

“Brilliant!”… “It was amazing how they acted and made it so real.”… “It was so cool. I loved it!”… “It was so, so funny.”… “It was very cool that there were so many animals.”… “The storytelling was superb. Perfectly pitched for the children….  “Loved their rhythm and timing….“Blown away!…“The best production ever!” Children and Teachers

This production is part of RATA’s “Send a Child to the Theatre” initiative. Please consider sponsoring tickets for children from Valley communities who have seldom or never been to the theatre.

Tickets at R 60 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events  

Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn:

Poetry Encounters – Friday December 3 at 6pm, Saturday December 4 at 8pm

This collaboration between the Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre and Poetry Africa, a project of the Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of KZN, also marks the relaunch of an indoor venue which will be operated by RATA.  

Friday December 3 at 6pm- Pilgrims in a Valley

Four award-winning city-based poets, Lebo Mashile, Thando Fuze, Siphokazi Jonas and Xabiso Vili, who descend on the Riebeek Valley as pilgrims for their first encounter with the Valley and its people, perform poems inspired by their personal experiences and public encounters. Poetry Africa curator, Siphindile Hlongwa, will engage the poets in a moderated discussion about their writings, their lives and their inspirations. The conversation will also draw on how the poets, despite living in a city, remain rooted and connected to the villages, valleys and alleyways to draw inspiration.  

Saturday December 4 at 8pm –Poetic Encounters

In a shared platform the visiting mentor and local Riebeek Valley Poets will showcase poetry readings and performances that are woven from the threads that have bonded them together during their weekend encounter. The programme will highlight why poetry remains a powerful form to express the human condition and to encounter our shared humanity. Tickets at R 60 for each performance – or R 100 if you book for both – can be obtained by calling 082 851 1262 or 082 570 308  


Friday December 17 at 8.15pm Saturday December 18 at 8.15pm

RATA presents a fun music show which is ideal family entertainment for the weekend before Christmas. Two virtuosos, Godfrey Johnson and Nicholas McDiarmid, each with their own keyboard, provide a musical spectacle that excites, amuses and entertains with the works of Bach, Mozart, Sondheim, Bowie and Madonna, as well as original songs by Johnson and McDiarmid themselves. The show, which features a seasonal slant, includes hilarious characters, sketches, fun musical arguments and good old-fashioned keyboard playing.

“Together, with minimal fuss or fanfare, they launch into a merry mix of entertainment that has them tipping hats to classical music as well as everyone from Elton John, Leonard Cohen, Gloria Gaynor and Bronski Beat to Billy Joel, Mary Hopkins, Boomtown Rats and Soft Cell.” Billy Suter, Durban critic

Tickets at R150 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events  

Gertrude Stein and a Companion

Friday January 7 and Saturday January 8 at 8.15pm

In 2022, RATA continues to present the best of theatre which includes this internationally renowned production directed by Christopher Weare and starring Lynita Crofford and Shirley Johnston who won the joint Naledi Best Actress Award in Johannesburg. Crofford also received the Best Actress Award at the Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival in Dublin, Ireland for her portrayal of Alice B Toklas. Written by Win Wells, this witty play explores the relationship between the author and poet Gertrude Stein and her lifelong partner, Toklas. In the early 20th Century, they rejected all the conservative values of the middle class and found refuge in the bohemian life of Paris where they hosted artists and writers such as Hemingway, Picasso, Matisse and Scott Fitzgerald. “… incisive biographical theatre… a wonderful picture of an alternative sort of romance, where an intellectual and philosophical connection is a thing of complex, unconventional beauty.” Bruce Dennill, Johannesburg critic Tickets at R150 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events  

Auntie Wi’Oekal/Dude Wa’s my Bakkie? 

Friday February 4 and Saturday February 5 at 8.15pm

Presented by Vulture Productions, this fabulous Standard Bank Ovation Award winning double bill features standout performances from Faith Kinnear and Jeremeo le Cordeur with choreography by Rae Classen.

Auntie Wi’Oekal uses all aspects of Theatre of Cruelty to subvert stereotypes of so-called coloured people, particularly the trope of the loud-mouthed woman, commonly used for cheap comedy. The production is visceral, evocative and grotesque, yet entertainment at its best.
This is the work of a surrealist, a top-tier satirist with unflinching delivery and command of timing and tone…dark, wry and devastating in the right ways.” The Critter 

Dude Wa’s my Bakkie follows the character of Dean on his journey with his brand-new second-hand Nissan bakkie – and Miss Weekend. After receiving a break-up letter, Dean has decided to take a road- trip with her, but soon his bakkie is gone. Through an entertaining series of characters, this one-man show is guaranteed to make you laugh. “… action-packed performance incorporating physical theatre with a storyline that combines pop culture and comic book-inspired superhero movies.” Tickets for this double bill at R150 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events  

Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn:


Friday March  4 and Saturday March 5 at 8.15pm

In recent years, performer extraordinaire Godfrey Johnson has celebrated the work of Noël Coward, Jacques Brel, Liberace and Vaslav Nijinsky. Now he and director Mark Graham-Wilson join artistic hands for the first time to create SMILE. This world premier celebrates the genius of Charlie Chaplin in an all new music-theatre piece for which Johnson has composed an original score. This multi-media experience also features some of the classic, familiar Chaplin originals.  Charlie Chaplin was an icon who captured the essence of human frailty, sadness and essential love with the simple twist of an eyebrow and a gentle grin. The all too familiar ghosts of the human experience which he evoked, the cruelty and beauty of existence, continue to haunt us today. The best way to deal with them – is with a SMILE. Tickets at R120 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events  

Conc The Karoo Clown

Friday April 1 and Saturday April 2 at 7.30pm

A loveable clown is hit by a Bee in the Karoo and normalness is turned inside out. Like the Karoo tortoise he travels with his home, his baggage, his memories and magic, slapstick, music and mime which are the tools of the clown, who is as old as the Theatre itself. Clown Conc has dedicated his life to the Art of Clowning. Now, after almost 40 years of travelling he has returned home to unpack the suitcases of laughter that he gathered from the stages of the world. Normalness is turned inside out. For children of all ages. This production is part of RATA’s “Send a Child to the Theatre” initiative. Please consider sponsoring tickets for children from Valley communities who have seldom or never been to the theatre. Tickets at R120 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events  

Swan Song

Friday May 6 and Saturday May 7 at 8.15pm

Directed by Ilana Cilliers and featuring Buhle Ngaba, Swan Song was initially created when Ngaba was in residency at the Royal Shakespeare Company, UK. The story reflects the experiences of a woman going through a break-up. She is sad, jaded and tired. But defiant too. Working through the many issues she is facing, she emerges triumphant as she places her heartbreak squarely in front of us. Swan Song has played to capacity house nationally and takes its audience on a unique emotional journey. “… a brutally vulnerable performance.” Sarah Roberson Mail &Guardian Tickets at R120 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events  

Ferine and Ferase

Friday May 27 and Saturday 28 May at 8.15pm Scripted by multi award-winning play makers and performers Andrew Buckland and Sylvaine Strike with musical arrangements by Tony Bentel and direction by Toni Morkel, Ferine and Ferase is a magical and mystical tour of pure theatre that will spirit you away into an imaginative and creative experience. To capture the essence of the story, Strike explains that the names Ferine and Ferase were created as derivatives of the two chemical components Luciferin and Luciferase which exist in a firefly’s bum – and make it glow. “So one without the other can’t make light, they have to be together to glow. Lots of fireflies in this show,” she quips. “…

It’s the kind of theatre I would show someone when I want to introduce the magic and showcase the extraordinary class of artists and artistry we have in this country.” Diane de Beer De Beer Necessities

Tickets at R150 can be booked through Webtickets via www.artstown.co.za/events      

Sponsored feature. Covid Moons – the Movie – screenshot by © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen- screening at National Arts Festival.