Joburg has a wide and varied entertainment scene from large venues in the casino complexes surrounding all sides of the city to the most intimate of venues.|
To find out “What’s on?” log on to Computicket and Strictly Tickets. Both are online booking systems where you’ll find the majority of venues listed. Some, like the Joburg Theatre, with two major auditoriums, have their own in-house booking system.
The Market Theatre has had a major impact on the cultural life of the city since opening in 1976 in what had been an Indian Fruit Market. The cultural complex now houses 3 venues for theatre, music, dance and the allied arts. The construction of the Nelson Mandela Bridge, the biggest cable-stayed bridge in Southern Africa spans the railway lines leading into Newtown and has made reaching the theatre from the northern suburbs shorter and easier.
Montecasino holds the reputation for the best entertainment, including the award for “Best destination to take out-of-towners”. Even if you’re not interested in losing your money (gambling of course) there’s an array of shops, cinemas and a large variety of restaurants, either inside the complex or outside surrounding the piazza. Alongside the piazza is Teatro which is home to large-scale musicals, whilst two smaller venues, Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre & Studio stage more commercial plays, the smaller musicals and intimate one-man shows. Also casino-based is the 1100-seat Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City, and although a recent addition to Joburg’s entertainment scene, it is reminiscent of theatres of by-gone days.
The Theatre on the Square, sponsored by Old Mutual and located at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, has been presenting a wide variety of theatre and music on a smaller scale (it’s a 200-seater). They also offer dinner-and-show specials in conjunction with some of the restaurants on the Square, including the chic African-themed Lekgotla which offers a number of exotic dishes from the African continent.
Joburg’s two universities contribute to the performing arts scene by providing a platform for more cutting-edge and experimental productions - not only student but professional companies as well. The Wits Theatre and the UJ Arts Centre.
The most prominent venue for music is the Linder Auditorium, a home base for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Johannesburg Musical Society. The top live music venue is Baseline in Newtown – check out their website for jazz, blues, reggae, hip-hop and Afro-beat.