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Maynardville’s Romeo and Juliet Cast Announced 

5 Dec 2023

Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers have been cast in the forthcoming Maynardville Open Air Festival production of Romeo and Juliet, set to run in the tree-encircled amphitheatre from 25 January till the 24th February 2024. The annual Shakespeare in the park is a long-held tradition for theatre lovers dating back to 1956. It is now presented by VR Theatrical, who became the producers of the Maynardville Open-Air Festival in 2023. 

The contemporary interpretation of the Bard’s tragic romance is directed by Geoffrey Hyland. Last year, Hyland’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream delighted audiences and spawned a new generation of Shakespeare fans at Maynardville. Hyland also garnered a Woordfees 2023 Best Director Award for his direction of the play.

VR Theatrical has announced that Nahum Hughes will take the role of Romeo. Since graduating from UCT, Nahum has primarily worked in the film industry, taking on roles in films such as Darby and the Dead, Altrad and Body Count. In 2023, he secured a leading role in South Africa’s first-ever IMAX feature film titled Fight the Night. This will be Hughes’ theatre debut. Juliet will be played by Simone Neethling; a versatile young artist who audiences may recognise as Judy Collins in Arendsvlei, as well as from BOS, a film in which she plays the lead. 

Against a backdrop of warring families and social manoeuvring the young lovers choose their fate. Lady Capulet is played by Tessa Jubber, who returns to Maynardville (she played Desdemona in Othello in 2001 and Portia in The Merchant of Venice in 2008). Multi-disciplinary artist Rehane Abrahams is Lady Montague/Mercutio, and Juliet’s loyal confidante, Nurse, is played by Hannah Borthwick. 

Seasoned thespian John Maytham will appear as the Prince while Pat Pillai, who audiences might recognise as an E News anchor, plays the arrogant Capulet. Multi-award winning actor, Mbulelo Grootboom, takes the role of Montague with Jock Kleynhans (who was also in 2022’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) playing Capulet’s hot headed nephew, Tybalt. Tailyn Ramsamy, who was critically acclaimed for his role in Nadia Davids’ Hold Still, will be playing Benvolio and the suitor that Juliet’s parents have chosen for her, Paris, is played by Mihir Soni (Great Gatsby). Cleo Wesley plays the role of peacemaker Friar Lawrence. Wesley co-wrote and performed in seminal theatre work The Fall, and much of their work focuses on the lived experiences of young LGBTQ+ South Africans

An ensemble cast is played by Sizwesandile Mnisi, Caleb Swanepoel, Zachary Esau and Thulani Nzonzo. 

In collaboration with Open Culture Foundation, VR Theatrical will continue the ground-breaking Professional Arts Development Programme in 2024. Designed to bridge the gap between institutional training and real-world experience, this program is dedicated to empowering recent graduates by providing hands-on training in all aspects of technical theatre, including lights, sound, set design, wardrobe, and stage management. 

This year’s programme kicks off with ten enthusiastic trainees who will serve as Festival Crew, working closely with seasoned industry professionals. Maynardville, with its diverse array of theatre genres, ranging from orchestra and opera to Shakespeare, serves as the perfect platform to nurture and expose these young professionals to the rich tapestry of the performing arts. Last year’s cohort of twelve trainees are now all gainfully employed in the entertainment sector.  

Romeo and Juliet is part of a season of works at the Maynardville Open Air Theatre Festival. 

For more information about the full programme, visit maynardville.co.za/festival-programme

For full cast biographies and the crew, please click here

Tickets for the Maynardville Open-Air Festival are on Quicket bit.ly/MaynardvilleTickets2024

The programme dates for Maynardville Open-Air Festival are: 

Rachmaninoff Rendezvous

18 January 2024

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra : Timeless and Immortal 

19 – 21 January 2024

William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet

25 January – 24 February 2024

An Evening with the Cape Town Opera: Puccini In The Park

4 February 2024

A Night at the Musicals 

11 February 2024

Friends in Harmony: A Choral Celebration 

25 February 2024

Follow Maynardville Open Air Theatre on 

Facebook: Maynardville Open Air Theatre Festival https://www.facebook.com/maynardvilleopenairtheatre/ 

Instagram: Maynardville 

https://www.instagram.com/maynardville/

Website 

http://www.maynardville.co.za/ 

Contact number:  069 792 6020 (10h00-16h00 daily) or leave a Whatsapp to get a response 

Released for Maynardville Open-Air Festival by 

Sascha Polkey

Rabbit in a Hat Communications 

sascha@rabbitinahat.co.za 

083 414 0552

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