About Us 2019-02-25T12:16:48+00:00

A Little About Us

The Maynardville Open-Air Theatre is situated in Maynardville Park, Wynberg. The spectacular green wooded park has earned it the reputation for one of the best-loved outdoor theatre venues in the Cape Region. It offers its patrons both a 500m2 wooded park for pre-show picnics and drinks, as well as a unique wooded 700-seater theatre setting. Most famous for the annual Shakespeare-in-the-Park, it has, over the last 62 years attracted an average attendance of 15 000 patrons per year, a strong focus of which is the Schools in the Western Cape. The Shakespeare sees up to 8000 scholars grade 9 to 12 from as far afield as Heidelberg.

The History

In the mid 1950’s, after successful ballet performances mounted by Dulcie Howes (then principal of the University of Cape Town Ballet School) in the park, but outside the current theatre venue, Cecilia Sonnenberg and Rene Ahrenson, well-known South African actresses conceived the idea that the park in Wynberg would make an ideal open air theatre for an annual Shakespeare. Cecilia had contacts in the Cape Town City Council.
She and Rene eventually bullied the councillors into creating a permanent stage and raked auditorium for them to mount a production of The Taming of the Shrew. By a happy accident they had met Leslie French in England and persuaded him to come to Cape Town to direct and act in the play. He was a celebrated stage and film actor who had started as a boy in the Ben Greet Players and had gone on to star in Lillian Bayliss’ Old Vic productions and was famous for his performances in the open air theatre in Regent’s Park in London. Just before he was due to board the mail-boat for Cape Town, Leslie received a telegram from Cecilia and Rene telling him not to come because they had “cold feet”. Leslie’s response was typical. He sent a cable back: “Buy hot water bottles, I’m coming out”. That first production at Maynardville in 1956 of “The Taming of the Shrew” ran to packed houses for a month and thus started a legend.

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.


Contact Us

The theatre is situated in the middle of the Maynardville Park with access via the front gates on the corner of Church and Wolf street.  Parking is available by the Wynberg Public Library on Glaren road or along public roads around the venue.
Piers Road, Wynberg, 7800
Booking Hours:
Box Office opens 1 hour before the performance
For more information or bookings contact Artscape Box Office on 021 421 7695

Weather line
(after 5pm): 060 623 0238
(before 5pm): Artscape Box Office 021 421 7695
Bookings: Artscape Box Office 021 421 7695
Venue: Brian Heydenrych 083 449 1000

Wheelchair and Disable:
Disable parking and wheelchairs are available on site but should be pre-booked by contacting Artscape Dial-a-seat on 021 421 7695

Park opening hours:
The Maynardville Park is a public park open from 7am to 7pm during the summer period.  For the duration of the Festival this is extended until 30 minutes after the show on any night is complete. Patrons may come and picnic at their leisure before the performances.

Parking is available in the adjacent Wynberg library parking area on the North east side of the Park. Public can also utilise street parking that runs along the perimeter of the park, but is requested to be sensitive to the needs of the residents in the area