Theatre in the Backyard
Dinner and a show, with a twist.
Duration: 3.5 hours (approx)
Private bookings only
1900 – 2230, Monday through Saturday
– Enjoy an original local theatre production
– Dine on local cuisine
– Share dinner with the actor and director
– private theatre production
– hotel pickup and drop off (if centrally located)
– discretionary tips
It’s dinner and a show with a twist! Coffeebeans has partnered with Cape Town theatre director, Mhlanguli George, to create a travel experience around his Theatre in the Backyard concept. Mhlanguli writes original, site specific 30 minute plays, in English, set in township backyards. In South Africa, township backyards provide a crucial secondary layer of housing, with residents renting a temporary wooden or zinc structure from the backyard owner. They are mostly big enough for two, but mostly used by families. And almost never temporary. Much of the narrative of working class South African life is played out on these kinds of spaces. And the stories of backyards resonate with the majority of working class black citizens. Mhlanguli’s 2017 / 2018 productions include Is He Mad?, based on Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and Wait… Linda, a physical theatre production.
The experience begins with collection of the group at their accommodation, with an introduction by the guide to what will be experienced. On arrival, the director and owner of the home welcomes guests, and over some traditional starters Mhlanguli George introduces the concept and the back story. Then we move outside for the show, which is about 30 minutes. After the show, the actor and director host the group for dinner and conversation, in the house. The meal is a home-cooked spread of traditional isiXhosa dishes (gluten free, vegetarian, vegan diets are catered for).
It’s a 3 and a half hour experience, more or less, that looks something like this:
1900 collection at accommodation. Introduction and departure
1935 arrive at Theatre in the Backyard location. Welcome, starter, introduction by director
2040 dinner and conversation
2200 return home
2230 back at accommodation
Theatre in the Backyard is best suited for those with an interest in original African theatre. Fluency in English – but not first language proficiency – is necessary.