A Festival Guide to the Cape Town Fringe

Brace yourself, the Cape Town Fringe festival is here! Till the 4th of October, the Mother City is playing host to seventy sublime shows set to inspire, provoke and entertain. Productions have been curated to include established and emerging artists with a focus on showcasing National Arts Festival Ovation Award Winners and providing independent practitioners with a platform to share their work. Taking place in venues in and around the city, with performances rotating between the afternoons and evenings, there’s no excuse not to watch and take part in of one the largest arts festivals in Cape Town. Here’s our list of what not to miss. 

Music | Jazz with Asanda Mqiki

Cape Town Fringe

Afro-soul and jazz singer Asanda Mqiki has performed with the likes of Sibongile Khumalo and The Soil. As a musical director, she doesn’t shy away from composing new arrangments of cult classics together with original material and until 2011, served as the lead vocalist of her former jazz band Take Note. The power of her voice has wowed both international and local audiences and yet, she’s not confined to singing but is equally passionate about creating melodies and coaching vocalists. 

Music | Hatchetman

Cape Town Fringe

Hatchetman is a  trio consisting of Jono Tait, Matt and Nick Catto. They’re a soulful blues and folk rock band with a three-part harmony and no lead vocalist. Blending their three voices produces a sound that’s influenced by The Beatles, Sting and Neil Young. Recently, they were awarded a Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award for their performances in at the National Arts Festival (NAF). They’re well-known within the Capetonian music scene for their poignant sounds created by acoustic guitar, bass and cajon wrap. 

Ilusion | ‘Astonish’

Cape Town Fringe

Mawonga Gayiya is a full time magician, who asserts that magic is about surprise and not trickery. After selling out his shows at the NAF this year, performing in China and Las Vegas, he returns to his home town for four shows 100% guarenteed to astonish.

Dance | ‘Ontwrig’ 

Cape Town Fringe

The drama department of Stellenbosch university and Wordfees present a workshopped production developed and directed by Estelle Olivier and Petrus du Preez. With eight cast members, it focuses on the body through dance, puppets and multimedia in an attempt to connect each performer to the audience. ‘Ontwrig’ examines the collective and individual traumas experienced as a result of our history and how they emerge in and are dealt with in a post-apartheid landscape. 

Theatre | ‘We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants’

Cape Town Fringe

Jemma Kahn and Roberto Pombo explore the seven deadly sins in this delectable new play created by seven writers. Influenced by ancient Japanese storytelling, Khan shares tales of gluttony, pride, death and hell. Labelled as unsuitable for children and those with conservative tendencies, it’s unique method of kamishibai storytelling is a rarity in South African theatre and not to be missed. 

Theatre | ‘Last Cow Standing’

Cape Town Fringe

Directed by Lihle Dhlomo with Nhlakanipho Gamede and Mpilo Khumalo, this production is a comic mythical fantasy about a young boy, Samira, who is tasked to decipher what is killing the dying cow herds of his people. Told in a way that blends shadow puppetry, voice overs and music, this is a story about a overcoming obstacles and being assuaged by hope in a nepotic and corrupt environment.

Theatre | ‘Porno 88’

Cape Town Fringe

Written by Louis Viljoen, who is currently the resident playwright at the Fugard Theatre, and this year’s Fleur du Cap winner for Best Director (‘The Pervert Laura’) and Best Play (‘The Kingmakers’). This is an entertaining and comedic play reading about making a porno and what happens when you combine lust and money, greed and sex.

Theatre | ‘Ashes’

Cape Town Fringe

In past few years, the prolific Rust Co-Operative, founded by Penny Youngleson and Philip Rademeyer, have produced an impressive volume of theatre work. ‘Ashes’, written by Rademeyer won a 2015 Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival and tells the life story of a young gay man through the views of six characters. Their poetic texts often grapple with concerns around gender roles, queer identity, feminism and racial constructs in South Africa. 

Performance Art | ‘Exhibit S, Ode to Saartjue Baartman by a black South African Woman’

Cape Town Fringe

Thola Antamu brings to the stage a performance inspired by Saartjie Baartman. Using the physical lyrcism of her speech, movement and skin, she encapsulates the story of the exploited Khoikhoi woman, who was bought as a showpiece to be exhibited and gawked at by Europeans. Once in England, she never returned home and Thola, through the story of Saartjie, pays homage and draws attention to the misrepresentation of black female bodies, highlights colonial fetishism and gives a voice to the women who have been marginalised in the grand narrative of history. 

Performance Art | ‘Trophy’

Cape Town Fringe

Reknowned artist, Gavin Krastin, along with Kai Luke Brummer, present a performance response to our statues and monuments. Krastin’s work is multidisciplinary, loud, unapologetic and uses the resilient yet fragile body in vulnerable and perturbing ways to dismantle our contemporary ideologies and prejudices.


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