Maynardville’s stage will return to life with a special once-off picnic and performance called Igniting Maynardville on the 26 March 2022. The outdoor theatre, which has long been the home of an annual Shakespeare performance, was shuttered during lockdown and is working towards a more sustainable return in 2023.
“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 adversary 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 inspires.”
The evening will be different to the usual Maynardville experience. The chairs will be removed from the audience area to make way for ticket holders to bring their cushions and picnic blankets to enjoy a picnic as they watch the performance of series of three 15-20 minute emerging excerpts from Janni Younge’s new production of Hamlet.
There will be limited tickets for the event, which will cost R120 each with a VIP package of 2 tickets, a picnic and Diemersfontein wines for R1200. Ticket-holders other than those with a VIP package should bring their own picnics and picnic blankets. The Maynardville park will also remain open to the public to picnic for free.
Younge’s Hamlet, told through beautifully crafted life-size puppets, reflects on the complex psychological facets of humanity facing an onslaught of challenges. Reflecting on it’s South African context, Younge says “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. 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.”
The Department of Arts and Culture have 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.
Says Heydenrych, “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.”