Nestled in the vibrant heart of Durban, on Smith Street, stands the iconic Playhouse Theatre complex. As the crown jewel of Ethekwini, the Playhouse Theatre isn’t just a venue—it’s a living testament to the city’s rich cultural tapestry, celebrated across the Eastern Seaboard of South Africa.
Legacy of the Playhouse Company
Rooted deep within the cultural soil of KwaZulu-Natal, the Playhouse Company stands out as the region’s premier theatre organization. Its establishment has been graciously supported by the South African National Government and the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Government, demonstrating the immense value placed on preserving and promoting the performing arts in the nation.
With a mission as vibrant as its productions, the Playhouse Company is dedicated to showcasing an eclectic mix of live theatre. Whether it’s the rhythmic pulse of music, the powerful narratives of drama, or the captivating allure of dance, the company ensures that the diverse cultures of KwaZulu-Natal shine brightly on stage. This commitment goes beyond merely entertaining audiences; it’s about weaving together the stories, traditions, and talents of the artists based in the province, creating a mosaic of performances that resonates deeply with its spectators.
Nurturing the Next Generation and Beyond
Education and outreach are cornerstones of the Playhouse Company’s vision. It passionately invests in youth audiences, instilling an appreciation for the arts and igniting the sparks of future performers. By extending a supportive hand to community-based artists, groups, and organizations, the company acts as a catalyst, enabling them to harness their potential through marketing expertise and technical resources.
Beyond the Curtain: The Playhouse Complex
But the Playhouse Theatre complex is more than just a stage. When not alive with its own spellbinding productions, its diverse venues are available for hire, welcoming a myriad of events and performances. By maintaining the highest international standards in all its endeavours, the Playhouse Company has solidified its reputation as one of South Africa’s foremost performing arts institutions.
Behind the scenes, the Company is a hive of activity. Its arts administrative and marketing division, coupled with the financial administrative team, ensures that the organization runs seamlessly. For those looking to immerse themselves even deeper, the Playhouse boasts a comprehensive wardrobe department, complete with a hiring wing, and a dedicated production branch that crafts intricate stage décor and props.
While the company has transitioned from housing in-house arts companies, it still champions the arts. Each year, it commissions practitioners from the private sector, crafting main-stage and educational projects that not only grace the Playhouse Theatre but also journey to rural communities across the province.
A Standing Ovation
The Playhouse Theatre isn’t just a place—it’s an experience. It’s where stories come to life, traditions are celebrated, and the spirit of Durban’s diverse culture is passionately honored. Whether you’re a lifelong theatre lover or a curious first-time visitor, an evening at the Playhouse promises a memory that will last a lifetime.
Popular activities, tourist attractions and points of interest near The Playhouse Theatre
Nestled in the heart of Durban, the Playhouse Theatre is more than just a destination for performing arts enthusiasts. This iconic establishment stands as a gateway to some of Durban’s most intriguing attractions. Here’s a journey around the Playhouse Theatre that promises an immersion into Durban’s rich tapestry of culture, history, and leisure.
Durban City Hall
Located a stone’s throw away from the Playhouse Theatre, the City Hall is a stunning piece of Edwardian Neo-baroque architecture. Not just a governance hub, it also houses the Durban Art Gallery and the Natural Science Museum. The art gallery offers a collection of South African and international artwork, while the museum introduces visitors to various natural history exhibits.
Durban Botanic Gardens
A quick drive from the theatre, these are the oldest botanical gardens in Africa, offering a serene environment with rare plant species, a herbarium, and an orchid house. The gardens frequently host musical events and workshops.
Golden Mile Beachfront
A bustling stretch of golden sandy beaches alongside a promenade, this location is perfect for sunbathing, surfing, or enjoying the myriad of street food vendors and local entertainers. It’s a delightful spot to relax after a theatre show.
uShaka Marine World
Located a short distance from the theatre, it’s an aquatic wonderland. With a massive aquarium, water park, and an array of restaurants and shops, uShaka offers a delightful day out for families and marine enthusiasts.
Victoria Street Market
Immerse yourself in a blend of Durban’s Indian and African cultures. A short walk from the theatre, this vibrant market brims with spices, traditional artifacts, textiles, and more.
As one of the largest mosques in the Southern Hemisphere, the Juma Mosque, also known as the Grey Street Mosque, offers insight into Durban’s significant Muslim community. The architecture and serenity make it a worthwhile visit.
Isaac Wilson Pub
For those who wish to wind down post a theatre show, this historic pub, located nearby, offers a vintage ambiance reminiscent of the early 20th century, serving a selection of local brews and beverages.
Situated on Durban’s Victoria embankment between the Yacht Mole and the Sugar Terminal, it’s the city’s trendiest fusion of fun, food, top shows, and crafts, all blended with the rustic interface of a boating marina and working slipways.
A traditional form of transport and now a fun attraction, these colorful rickshaws driven by men in beaded costumes offer a unique way to explore the city.
The Kwa Muhle Museum
Once a building where apartheid policies were enforced, it’s now a museum telling the stories of the people who lived, worked, and struggled under apartheid in Durban.
No matter what your interests are, the area surrounding the Playhouse Theatre offers an exciting blend of history, culture, relaxation, and adventure. Whether you’re wandering through markets, lounging on the beach, or diving deep into Durban’s past, there’s something in this vibrant city for every traveler.