Arena Theatre

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The Roman name for a (circular or semi-circular) performance or gaming space. In the 20th century, became a popular name for a performance space. According to Wikipedia it is "An arena is an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events. It is composed of a large open space surrounded on most or all sides by tiered seating for spectators. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the lowest point, allowing for maximum visibility. Usually, an arena is designed to accommodate a fairly large number of spectators." (

Arena Theatre

Sometimes also referred to as Theatre-in-the-round

The Arena

Used as an abbreviated term for "Arena Theatre" in many cases. There are several such cases in South Africa (e.g. for a performance space in the Nico Malan Centre - later Artscape, and in the State Theatre Pretoria, and the Arena Theatre, Rosebank).

Cape Town

Arena Theatre, Nico Malan Centre/ArtsCape

ARENA THEATRE (or simply The Arena), Nico Malan Centre (later Artscape), Cape Town. A small, flexible space seating 96 people, which was constructed in the wings of the Drama stage in 198*, with an entrance to the street. Used by the CAPAB company for experimental and intmate performances , it opened in 198* with a brilliant production of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milkwood. ** Numerous groundbreaking productions have been done there over the years, including Rosalie van der Gucht’s production of James Ambrose Brown’s version of The Story of an African Farm, ***, **, Mis, Mirakel and Drif (all three by Reza de Wet), . Other groups also used the space, such as the Peninsula Group for the Performing Arts (with Die Bulldozers het Gekom in 1986), **

Arena Theatre, Hiddingh Campus

Arena Theatre, Hiddingh Campus, University of Cape Town. The Drama Department at the University of Cape Town also have a space they call the Arena. Utilizing a **, converted in 19**, the space is used for ***


Arena Theatre, Doornfontein

It was a converted house in Doornfontein, one of the few remaining suburbs in Johannesburg that was still home to a mixture of races during the apartheid years. Mannie Manim used this to his advantage during his days as drama manager for the PACT, holding dress rehearsals there in order for blacks to attend. The new Arena in Doornfontein, Johannesburg opened its doors on 15 July 1971 with the production Die Hand vol Vere. It was also employed by the PACT English company as an experimental theatre for controversial productions. These include *** The Arena Theatre: François Swart directed A Winter Vacation by Don Maclennan for PACT at the Arena in 1970. Barney Simon directed Jean Genet’s The Maids with Molly Seftel, Barbara Itzler and Maya Obel for PACT at the Arena around 1971. Barney Simon and Mannie Manim used the theatre for The Company. Barney Simon directed Lysistrata for The Company at the Arena in 1974. The Company put on late-night entertainment called Hey, Listen at the Arena in 1974. The Arena saw talents such as Michael Richard, Eckard Rabe, Richard Haines, Annelisa Weiland, Dorothy-Ann Gould, Graham Hopkins, Reza de Wet and others, with productions such as El Grande de Coca Cola, Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?, Enemy! and Children of the Wolf with L'Amante Anglaise by Marguerite Duras as its last before PACT’s Arena Theatre company moved premises to a disused school in Rosebank in 1975.

Arena Theatre, Rosebank

ARENA THEATRE, Rosebank, Johannesburg. PACT’s experimental theatre. The Arena Theatre company moved premises from Doornfontein to a disused school in Rosebank in 1975.Their opening production was Ken Leach’s production of The Duchess of Malfi with Leonie Hofmeyer and Bill Flynn. Ken Leach directed Frank Wedekind’s The Lulu Plays for PACT at the Rosebank Arena in 1976. Athol Fugard directed a revival of Hello and Goodbye and Annabel Linder starred in Edith Piaf, No Regrets at PACT’s Arena in 1977. PACT staged Robert Kirby’s one-man revue Quodlibet here in 1978. PACT staged a revival of El Grande de Coca Cola with direction by Michael Richard and starring Elizabeth Rae, Wilson Dunster, Gillian Harris, Etienne Puren and Alan Goldstein here in 1979. Des and Dawn Lindberg staged Jeremy Taylor’s Back in Town, and The Importance of Being Irish, directed by Nicholas Amer with Thom Delaney here in 1979.

Arena Bistro Theatre, Rosebank

The Arena was refurbished and renamed the Arena Bistro Theatre in 1980.

Des and Dawn Lindberg produced I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road directed by Malcolm Purkey and starring Bruce Millar and Dawn in 1980. Des and Dawn Lindberg presented Lennon with Dawn directing this tribute starring Bruce Millar, Gay Lambert, Colin Shapiro and Colin Shamley in 1981. PACT staged The State Theatre Overflow Show starring Michael McCabe, James White, Pamela Gien and Peter Terry with direction by Nigel Vermaas in 1981.

An adaptation of Fielding’s Tom Jones directed by Janice Honeyman opened here in February 1983. Jeremy Taylor staged his one-man show Stuff in March 1983. (Tucker, 1997).


The Arena Theatre, South African State Theatre

The Arena is the complex's third largest theatre in the South African State Theatre (formerly the State Theatre Pretoria) and can double as the main opera rehearsal hall.

There is no set seating in the Arena except for the 88seats on the gallery. Movable and collapsible seating units can provide a further 200 seats for patrons.Fully equipped computerised lighting and sound control rooms form part of this highly sophisticated theatre.

Arena Theatre Company

Arena Theatre Company, Cape Town

ARENA THEATRE COMPANY, The, Cape Town. Founded in 1997 by Jason Ralph, Chris Weare, Jocelyn Hughes, Mark Dymond, Keren Tahor. Productions include Noises Off (200*-), Skyf (200*-), Pick Ups (200*-), Elizabeth (200*-), Lovborg's Women (200*-), **

Arena Theatre Company, Johannesburg

The Arena Theatre Company was a short-lived theatrical group that was launched to produce “plays of real merit”. Its first production was John Whiting’s Marching Song, which was staged at the A.T.K.V. Hall on 26 December 1955. This was followed by Jean Anouilh’s The Lark, which had its first night at the Chelsea Palate in Berea on 16 April 1956, after which it lost its venue because of a strict application of the Liquor Act. It went on a short tour of the Rand and reopened on 9 May at the Windmill Theatre. Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s not for Burning (19 September 1956) and Anouilh’s Antigone (7 November 1956) were both staged at the Intimate Theatre at the Y.M.C.A., but by that time a lack of support from the theatre-going public meant that the company was in serious financial trouble. A planned production of Wycherley’s The Country Wife never took place and by the end of the year the group gave up the unequal struggle. Whereas Marching Song was directed by visiting producer Clifford Williams, the other three productions were directed by Will Jamieson. Performers involved over this period included Ricky Arden, Lee Bolon, Violet Brady, Bodil Brink, Richard Clark, Felix Cooper, Lorna Cowell, June Davidson, Rigby Foster, Beryl Gordon, Jennie Gratus, Arthur Hall, Laurence Hall, Alan Hean, Mervyn John, Rita Kay, Robert Lang, Michael Laschinger, Valerie Philip, Robin Parker, Stanley Raphael, George Sears, Simon Swindell, Barbara Thompson, Jeremy Wallace, Ewald Williamson and Robert Wilson.

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