Cape Town  - Maynardville

Maynardville Open Air Theatre Cape Town


Statue of Shakespeare at Maynardville

Way back in 1820, Levi and Sarah Maynard moved to Wynberg to live there after emigrating from their home in Britain. Their son James Mortimer Maynard a bachelor accompanied them and as a money lender taking mortgages over farms and land to protect his investments soon became a wealthy landlord.

In 1838, he took over the farm, Rozendal from an insolvent widow who had borrowed money from him. This property became known as Maynardville.


Lake in Maynardville

Today Maynardville is a large park with beautiful gardens, large trees and it even boasts an open air theatre. The theatre came about way back in 1956 when two Cape Town actresses Cecilia Sonenberg and René Ahrenson recognised the potential of Maynardville and decided to establish an open air theatre in the grounds. To stage their first play they invited Leslie French from Regents Park Open-air Theatre in London to visit Wynberg and on the 29th of January 1956 their first Shakespearian production “ The Taming of the Shrew” took to the stage. Maynardville Open Air theatre was born.

Each year since 1956 a different Shakespearian play has been staged in the theatre. The play “Much Ado About Nothing” is being produced this year. As Shakespeare forms part of the English syllabus for senior school students here in South Africa the production of the play gives them an ideal opportunity to see their setwork book in action. The schools in Cape Town utilise this annual opportunity and send hundreds of students to see the plays. This year director Fred Abrahamse decided to give the Bard's famous love story of Beatrice and Benedick a swingy edge and added plenty of music, dance and good looks to the production. The play appears to have been a great success.

To keep the park in the public eye Maynardville hosts a second event at the beginning of the year It's the Community Chest Carnival which starts at the end of February and runs for a number of days. This event has over the years proven to be a family favourite and provides something of interest for everyone.

Live entertainment for adults and a delicious assortment of international foods from the different communites living in Cape Town brings in the crowds. A gastonomic delight of herrings and cheese, spring rolls, Swiss chocolate, and Indian curries are on sale for the hungry visiting the carnival. For the thirsty there are the beer tents where one can listen to the Oompah bands and enjoy German beer.

The children are not overlooked and for them there is a fun fair, pony rides, puppet shows, face painting and numerous other attractions including live animals such as sheep and goats.

The Community Chest who organise the Carnival support a wide variety of charities with their main focus being on poverty alleviation, tuberculosis, AIDS and youth development.

As the Carnival is during our Summer holidays why not plan your vacation in Cape Town to coincide with the carnival.

I'm sure you will enjoy the outing and the foods on offer.

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Maynardville Cape Town