After months of rehearsing, building stages, scenes, podiums and props, the runway has been prepared and the 2017 Cape Town Fringe Festival has taken off.

From 21 September to 8 October, 13 Cape Town venues will host more than 100 productions, in genres from drama and dance to comedy and magic.

Reflecting on the evolving format of the Cape Town Fringe, Executive producer Ashraf Johaardien has this to say: ‘Cape Town is a complex space and any festival which aspires to be a true reflection of the Mother City needs to reflect that complexity.  This year’s decentralised model of a performance circuit taking theatre to where people live and work responds to both the sprawling geography and complicated history of the City.’

The remodeled Fringe has partnered with a number of Cape Town venues, drawing on their local expertise and knowledge of their communities to build a programme relevant to their audiences.

A born and bred Capetonian, Johaardien has deep roots in the city. He speaks of the contradictions we face ‘not only in Cape Town, but also as a nation navigating the slings and arrows of outrageous life in this country …’, as being part of what defines us.

‘For me, the idea and model of a Fringe Festival needs to be about the artists. It must be about the work. It has to be about placing the festival-goer at the heart of the festival experience. These bigger-picture-things that are about building something for the future.’

The programme is rich with theatre, including award-winning productions from the National Arts Festival, Zabalaza Festival and others. The dance programme features a number of male choreographers this year, while the music programme includes a number of one night only shows not to be missed. A healthy dose of comedy and the crowd-pleasing lure of illusion are also on the bill, and children and teens will be engaged by theatre especially relevant to their ages and interests.

‘It’s close on three weeks of extraordinary creativity, Cape Town’s very own celebration of the arts, and we hope that its people will own it and hold it close,’ says Johaardien, ‘because theatre heals, helps and makes us happy – and that counts for a whole lot right now.’

Dozens of shows are opening on Heritage Day weekend – 22 to 25 September. Some will enjoy a short run only and others continue on to different venues on the Fringe circuit. The quickest way to find out more is by downloading the Cape Town Fringe app for Android or IOS or search by date, venue or show

Some programme highlights

  • Jenny & the Jameses is an original Celtic folk band. Taking their audience on a whirlwind journey through their emotive folk-style original compositions, with lyrics that shed light on social truths, and then quickly get your feet stamping to the rhythms of strong Celtic Reels.
  • A showcase of the best comedy geniuses Cape Town has to offer! The Big Big Comedy show will feature a star-studded line-up of comedians and will be hosted by the inimitable Rob van Vuuren. ONE NIGHT ONLY! Whatever you do… book early to avoid disappointment. Featured comedians include Rob van Vuuren, KG Mokgadi, Kurt Schoonraad, Siv Ngesi & Lindy Johnson
  • I Am Not Yet Born is a play created by ex-convicts who are tell their real life stories about their experiences both outside in the criminal world and in jail.
  • Five young choreographers,11 dancers, and the experience of the artistic director Wendi Abrahams makes for a reboot of community dance, which can only gather MOMENTUM… Experience the vibe, energy and talent found at 34 degrees latitude and 18 degrees longitude – experience … Cape Town, South Africa.