The Fugard Theatre announces its 10th birthday & 2020 season

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Eric Abraham, The Fugard Theatre and its Artistic Director Greg Karvellas, have announced the new line up for their 2020 Season – 10 Years and Counting.

Artistic Director of the Fugard Theatre Greg Karvellas. Photo credit: Claude Barnardo.
Artistic Director of the Fugard Theatre Greg Karvellas. Photo credit: Claude Barnardo.

2020 marks The Fugard Theatre’s 10th birthday and to celebrate this milestone, this new season honours South African talent, from Athol Fugard, after whom the theatre is named, and whose Tony and multi-award-winning work has challenged and entertained audiences over five decades, as well by presenting work by leading writers and theatre-makers Pieter-Dirk Uys, Mike van Graan, Nadia Davids, Amy Jephta, Sylvaine Strike, Janna Ramos-Violante and Neil Coppen. In addition, there is a feast of entertainment with the South African premieres of international comedy, musical hits and world-class Cinema offerings.

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Established and supported by Founding Producer Eric Abraham, over the last nine years The Fugard Theatre has presented world-class and award-winning productions created by hugely talented South African teams and international partnerships. These include productions such as the multiple award-winning Rocky Horror Show, which ran for a phenomenal 444 sold-out performances; a new production of Todd Matshikiza’s legendary South African musical King Kong, returning it to the stage after its premiere more than half a century ago, A Human Being Died That Night which transferred to The Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York , The Market Theatre in Johannesburg and Hampstead Theatre in London, and the premiere of John Kani’s new play Kunene And The King, in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, which starred South African acting legends Sir Antony Sher and John Kani. The Fugard Theatre has also enjoyed a partnership with David and Renaye Kramer presenting works such as Kat & The Kings, Orpheus In Africa and District Six, Kanala amongst others.

The Fugard Theatre’s Artistic Director Greg Karvellas says, “Our 2020 programme is an exciting line-up of drama, comedy, and music that will have you laughing, crying, thinking and wanting to dance. We are also delighted to partner with Ken Forrester Vineyards to present the 9th Fugard Bioscope World Arts Cinema Season which, with 47 recorded live titles of some of the best, theatre, dance and opera from the world’s stages, makes it our biggest season yet.

“We are humbled that South African national treasure Pieter-Dirk Uys has chosen to celebrate his own milestone – 75th birthday year – with us, over two seasons in 2020. We also look forward to welcoming leading theatre-makers such as Mike van Graan and Nadia Davids, whom we have commissioned to write two brand new South African plays for the season. Due to overwhelming demand, we have extended the season of our production of Kinky Boots to February 2020.

In addition, we are presenting no less than three South African premieres of internationally celebrated plays, including Young Frankenstein, Terrence McNally’s farce It’s Only A Play and A German Life, Christopher Hampton’s powerful play about Nazi Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels’ secretary, Brunhilde Pomsel’s life, starring Antoinette Kellerman and in partnership with the KKNK … All this and more coming up in 2020!’

“We are proud to announce our 2020 Season, which pays tribute to the extraordinary talent we have in this country,” says Daniel Galloway, Managing Director & Producer of The Fugard Theatre. “We have reached this upcoming ten-year milestone thanks to the vision and support of our Founding Producer Eric Abraham, whose commitment is unwavering in presenting world-class theatre as a means to create empathy, understanding, engagement, and entertainment about the human condition. We are ten years and counting towards the next era of excellent storytelling.


The line-up for The Fugard Theatre’s 2020 Season – 10 Years and Counting:

  • KINKY BOOTS – Following sold-out houses and rave reviews, this runaway hit and South African premiere production has been extended for a final time to 2 February 2020. Don’t miss out on this Tony Award-winning, heart-warming, fun-filled musical about an unlikely friendship that saves a failing shoe factory, and makes you realise that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. Perfect holiday season entertainment!
  • The 2020 FUGARD BIOSCOPE WORLD ARTS CINEMA SEASON proudly presented by Eric Abraham and Ken Forrester Vineyards– From 7 October 2019
    A chance to watch the world’s best theatre, opera and ballet productions recorded live from companies such as National Theatre Live, Comédie Française, The Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera and Opera du Paris, all from the comfort of a Fugard Theatre seat. With screenings on the Theatre’s full-size high definition cinema screen and a 7.1 Dolby digital surround sound system, audiences are transported to the heart of the action on stage. Now in its 9th season, with screenings on Monday afternoons at 3 pm and evenings at 7 pm, the 2020 programme features an incredible 47 titles.
  • MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS – From 4 February 2020
    Produced by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre, Athol Fugard’s masterpiece will be staged to honour the Fugard Theatre’s tenth birthday and is to be directed by the Fugard Theatre’s Artistic Director Greg Karvellas. Master Harold and the Boys tells the story of three people, one a 17- year-old white boy and the two the black servants he has grown up with, whose relationship is put to the test by societal and personal forces. The play devastatingly reveals how the racial prejudice enforced by the apartheid regime inserted itself into every social sphere of existence, with its brilliance lying in that it deals with the characters not only on a political but human basis, and reveals the human struggles for life and happiness in a world that is constructed to deny them their basic human rights. This new staging stars Desmond Dube and Kai Luke Brümmer.
  • Pieter-Dirk Uys in NEVER TOO NAKED – from 24 March 2020
    A thrilling tale of love, lust and life! Bambi Kellermann is Evita Bezuidenhout’s younger sister – and that’s where the family ties end. Whereas Tannie Evita is still the most famous white woman in South Africa, Bambi became a grand horizontal of the northern hemisphere and a super-stripper. Never Too Naked is the name of her game, and she will share some of her legendary bedtime stories.
  • IT’S ONLY A PLAY – From 14 April 2020
    The South African premiere of Terrence McNally’s Broadway hit directed by Greg Karvellas and the Fugard Theatre’s first farce! It’s opening night of Peter Austin’s new play, The Golden Egg, and he is anxiously waiting to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big opening night with his “best” friend, a television star, his novice producer, his doped-up diva, his genius director, a lethal drama critic and a fresh-off-the-bus coat check attendant on his first night in Manhattan. Alternately raucous, ridiculous and tender, It’s Only A Play is ‘Wickedly Funny…You won’t want the night to end!’ – Associated Press.
  • WHAT WE WISH FOR – From 5 May 2020
    The premiere of the latest play from internationally celebrated South African playwright Mike van Graan (Green Man Flashing, When Swallows Cry, Land Acts) is directed by award-winning Amy Jephta and commissioned by The Fugard Theatre as part of its new writing initiative. Beverley Jackman is the highly-regarded principal at a private girl’s high school. Her husband, Adrian, is an academic who teaches at the University of Cape Town. Their perfect nuclear family includes Gina, their daughter, who works as a doctor in Malawi, and their son Josh, who’s in the process of completing his Master’s Degree. The family is devastated by a severe car accident, which puts a family member in a coma. Should there be a recovery, there is a good chance that the family member will live and spend the rest of their life in a vegetative state.
    What We Wish For juxtaposes the sanctity of life against the dignity of life, and explores some of the moral and social questions related to these in this riveting family drama.
  • HOLD STILL – From 16 June 2020
    The premiere of a new play from award-winning director and playwright Nadia Davids (What Remains, At Her Feet, Cissie) as part of The Fugard Theatre’s new writing initiative. London, July, a summer’s evening in the near future: it’s the apex of a heatwave, and Oliver and Imran have shut themselves in Oliver’s bedroom. Imran stations himself at the window, plucking at the closed curtains, edgy, on high alert. We learn that this is no ordinary night or friendship; Imran is not British but a refugee whose asylum is about to run out. When Oliver’s parents Rosa and Jim arrive home and realise that their son is breaking the law, a bitter argument erupts between the four of them about citizenship, love, family, history and what they owe to each other.
    As the long night unfolds, Rosa and Jim grapple with what this reveals about their marriage and about what to do: give this child up to the authorities knowing that his return home could mean his death or break the law and help him hide and live?
  • HAMLET – From 21 July 2020
    An explosive take on one of Shakespeare’s most famous texts. The Fugard Theatre teams up with acclaimed theatre-maker Neil Coppen, whose play Tin Bucket Drum was recently awarded the English Academy of Southern Africa Olive Schreiner Prize for Drama. Employing his unique collaborative work-shopping approach and an all-star South African cast, Coppen’s translation of Hamlet will merge performance, music and choreography while situating the play’s characters within a present-day South African political dynasty. It is within this family that Hamlet must navigate two parallel worlds (the contemporary and traditional) while responding to the demands of his father’s ancestral spirit to revenge his murder. Coppen’s explosive and visceral theatre making-style makes Hamlet one of the most anticipated Shakespeare adaptations of 2020.
  • A GERMAN LIFE – From 28 July 2020
    This South African premiere of Christopher Hampton’s powerful adaptation is presented in association with the KKNK and is directed by Sylvaine Strike and stars Antoinette Kellerman. This gripping production about Brunhilde Pomsel’s life, which spanned the twentieth century, explores her struggle to make ends meet as a secretary in Berlin during the 1930s, and her experience working for many employers including a Jewish insurance broker, the German Broadcasting Corporation and eventually, Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. Hampton’s play is based on the testimony Brunhilde Pomsel gave when she finally broke her silence to a group of Austrian filmmakers shortly before she died in 2016. ‘bleak and exhilarating’ – New York Times. The production will also be presented at the KKNK in 2021.
  • NIGHT MOTHER – From 22 September 2020
    A new South African production of Marsha Norman’s startling Pulitzer Prize-winning play is to be directed by Janna Ramos-Violante and stars Fiona Ramsay and Emily Child.
    What would you do if someone you loved sat down with you one night and calmly told you that they were going to end their life before morning? This is Thelma Cates’ dilemma. Her daughter, Jessie, has had it. A middle-aged epileptic unable to hold a job, with a failed marriage and a drug-addicted runaway son on the wrong side of the law, Jessie can find no reason to go on living. ‘Night, Mother is the story of a parent’s worst nightmare. “…honest, uncompromising, lucid, penetrating, well-written, dramatic, and unmanipulatively moving…” New York Magazine
  • YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – From 27 October 2020
    Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre present the South African premiere of the monster of all horror musicals! From the creators of the record-breaking Broadway sensation, The Producers, comes this monster musical comedy. The comedy genius, Mel Brooks, adapts his legendary film into a brilliant stage creation. This South African production will be directed by Greg Karvellas with Musical Direction by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.
    Grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronk-en-steen”) inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania. With the help of a hunchbacked sidekick, Igor (pronounced “Eye-gore”), and a leggy lab assistant, Inga (pronounced normally), Frederick finds himself in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestors. “It’s alive!” he exclaims as he brings to life a creature to rival his grandfather’s. Eventually, of course, the monster escapes and hilarity continuously abounds.
    Every bit as relevant to audience members who will remember the original as it will be to newcomers, Young Frankenstein has all the of the panache of the screen sensation with a little extra theatrical flair added. With such memorable tunes as The Transylvania Mania, He Vas My Boyfriend and Puttin’ on the Ritz, Young Frankenstein is scientifically proven, monstrously good festive season entertainment.
  • PIETER-DIRK UYS’ 75TH BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL AT THE FUGARD – From 16 November 2020
    Ten plays in ten days – a birthday festival not to be missed! South African legend Pieter-Dirk Uys will be 75 in 2020. To him it reads like a speed limit which he intends to break by presenting 10 Pieter Dirk Uys productions in two weeks! On each Saturday all FIVE of the shows from the previous week will be presented on one day! Catch shows Tannie Evita Praat Kaktus, Bambi sings the FAK songs with Godfrey Johnson, When In Doubt Say Darling and An Evening with Evita Bezuidenhout.

Bookings for KINKY BOOTS, MASTER HAROLD… AND THE BOYS and THE 2020 FUGARD BIOSCOPE WORLD ARTS CINEMA SEASON are now open and can be booked directly through The Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or through The Fugard Theatre’s website at www.thefugard.com

Beat the rush when purchasing tickets online and pre-order your drinks with one of the Theatre’s delicious, freshly made and piping hot pizzas, which are also available to order before and after the show.

There are generous discounts available for Friends of The Fugard members at selected performances. Not yet a member? Sign up at www.thefugard.com

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