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The Chinese Terracotta Army exhibition at the Waterfront. The Chinese Terracotta Army exhibition at the Waterfront. Chadi Abou Sariya

A celebration of summer

Feb 02, 2017

It seems like the world is rolling into Cape Town this February with something for everyone at venues large and small.

The Great Moscow Circus pitches its tent in the Founders Gardens next to Artscape for three days from 3 February. This coincided with an announcement in the press that Ringling and Barnum and Bailey — the most famous circus in the United States — is to end its 146-year run. When you read about the logistics of bringing the Great Moscow Circus to South Africa with its 65 acts, R80 million costs, 100 tonnes of equipment, 1 700 all-chair seating and air-conditioned Big Top tent, one can understand why the art form is on the verge of extinction. Perhaps this is the last chance for the kids to see a real live spectacular circus. This one contains no animal acts.

Then there’s the Cape Town Art Fair, with artists and galleries from all over the continent and the world gathering at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 17 and 18 February.

The Chinese Terracotta Army exhibition at the Waterfront has been here for nearly two months already but in case you haven’t caught it, there are a few more days before it closes on 10 February. The original archaeological discovery was made by a farmer digging a well in Shaanxi in China in 1974. He stumbled upon the tomb of an Emperor dating from 210 BC who was buried with a life-size terracotta army to protect him in the afterlife. Today this so-called eighth wonder of the world attracts two million tourists a year. This travelling exhibition gives a taste of the experience with perfect reproductions of 180 out of the 6 000 life-size warrior figures that are thought to exist, along with chariots and weapons and other objects.

The 2017 Live Art Festival organised by the ICA is on from 10 to 26 February with an extensive and exciting programme of performances, screenings and installations by contemporary artists and curators. The venues will be mainly (but not only) on Hiddingh campus in the Gardens. Flag the opening at 6 Spin Street on 2 February (part of First Thursday) when Jay Pather will give an introduction and printed programmes will be available.

The Fugard Bioscope is showing a series of filmed performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre on Sunday mornings at 11:00. A strange hybrid, neither film nor live theatre, the great performances still are a treat to watch. Look out for Shakespeare’s Cymbaline (5 February), which looks like an exciting production and King Lear (12 February).

Two outstanding stars of classical music are visiting from the UK for unrelated concerts, both in beautiful city venues. In the City Hall on 2 February Joanna Macgregor will play the Second Piano Concerto by Shostakovich with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. In St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in De Waterkant on Somerset and Chiappini roads Michael Collins will perform a programme of the best classical work written for clarinet accompanied by Stellenbosch pianist Luis Magalhaes on 7 February.

The South African National Gallery is showing the work of artists (not only women) who use techniques commonly considered “women’s work” (the title of the show) knitting, crocheting, embroidery, quilting and beadwork to create works that blur the boundaries between art and craft. Highlights include rarely seen treasures such as a 17th century Flemish tapestry called Africa from the Groote Schuur estate and the Keiskamma Tapestry on loan from Parliament.

Fun for all the family is on offer at City Walk Saturdays due to start again in February. On the third Saturday of each month a route stretching from the Company’s Garden to St George’s Mall to St Andrew’s Square on the fan walk is animated with performance artists, art installations, story tellers, activities and games. It starts at 10:00 and ends at 14:00 but it is possible to join in wherever and whenever it suits you (see

First Thursdays, another popular monthly ritual, continues as ever with galleries in the central city open and people filling the streets till 21:00 on 2 February.

And there’s one more month of the Table Mountain Cableway sunset special - till the end of February tickets are half price after 18:00 (R62.50 for kids and R127.50 for adults). Celebrate the last of the summer days with views from the mountain top at that magic hour.

Last modified on Thursday, 02 February 2017 12:02
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CityLife is the newspaper for people who live, work and play in the Cape Town central city area – and our many visitors. It’s a blend of news and information about people and places in one of the most exciting cities in the world.

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