For fans of contemporary dance and physical theatre, the hot ticket this summer season will be the Cape Town International Dance Festival right at the beginning of December. On Thursday 1 December there is a free show starting at 17:00 in the amphitheatre in front of the SA Museum. Go early to get a place for this world-class line-up of South African and international dance: iKapa Dance Theatre; singer Simphiwe Dana; Krisztina de Chatel Company (Netherlands); Siwela Sonke (Durban); 10 Hairy Legs (New York, USA); Matchbox Theatre Collective (Johannesburg) and Sifiso Seleme (Soweto). After the show you could walk through the Company’s Gardens to enjoy the galleries open for First Thursdays in the city. The next night there’s a similarly exciting dance line-up at Centre for the Book (R150 a ticket). The festival is also screening an interesting programme of dance-related films. See http://ikapadancetheatre.co.za/cpt-international-dance-festival-2016/
Musically there is a variety of entertainment in city venues, across many genres. Annie is Artscape’s holiday season show and they are promising the full five-star treatment for “the world’s favourite family show”. From 2 December to 8 January at the Artscape Opera House.
David Kramer’s musical Kanala, at the Fugard through December, is a musical homage to District Six and to the community of people that lived there until they were forcibly removed under the Group Areas Act. The show features the music of the District’s streets, nightclubs, concerts, carnivals and choirs.
3 Tons of Fun is on at the Alexander Bar for a short run from 15 to 17 December. This Motown-inspired all-girl group will be singing songs by Brenda Fassie, Diana Ross, Robin Thicke, Gloria Gaynor and more.
In search of live African music? Look at the programme at the Crypt at St George’s Cathedral which hosts jazz every Tuesday to Saturday night: http://www.thecryptjazz.com. On Wednesday 14 December there is talented young singer Zoe Modiga with the Zulu Sextet and on Saturday 17 December there’s Afro Fiesta led by Mo!Faya! Mermans Mosengo with fellow musicians from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They play music inspired by Afro-jazz, kwasa-kwasa, makossa, Latin music and reggae. The Crypt bills itself as a “jazz restaurant” so take into account there’s a cover charge plus food.
The Fugard continues its run of good local productions of award-winning plays from the international stage. If you’re quick off the mark you can catch the last few days of The Father starring Marius Weyers, on until 3 December. Then from 13 to 31 December Joshua Harmon’s West End hit Bad Jews returns to the theatre after a successful season last year. A scathingly witty play in which cousins brought together by their grandfather’s funeral duel about who will inherit a gold ornament he has left behind.
The Slave Lodge is worth a visit to see an informative new exhibition telling the long-buried history of the South African slave trade. My Naam is Februarie: Identities Rooted in Slavery features film, animated A season of dance, theatre, music and history maps, reproductions of historic images and an installation with the real names and places of origin of people who once inhabited that building as slaves. (Parents of young children you might want to avoid the introductory film.) In the opposite wing of the Slave Lodge there is an exhibition called Red in the Rainbow about anti-apartheid activists Fred and Sarah Carneson and their family. It includes poignant objects such as letters written from prison and contemporary newspaper articles and is a great demonstration of how an intimate personal story can effectively illuminate the larger story of historical injustice.