national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, February 3, 2017


(Bryan Hiles & Cara Roberts in “Hamlet”. Pic by Val Adamson)

Renowned for its teaching-aid productions of Shakespeare set works for matric school learners, Think Theatre, in association with The Playhouse Company, presents two of The Bard’s greatest tragedies in 2017 – a new staging of Hamlet, and a revival of the company’s widely acclaimed Othello.

These two plays, which are amongst the most celebrated of all human dramas ever to be created for the English stage, will run in tandem with successive seasons in Hilton and Durban in February and March, also touring to a number of country venues in KwaZulu-Natal, during this period, before transferring to Gauteng for runs in Johannesburg and Pretoria in May 2017.

Pre-bookings are essential. All bookings for Think Theatre’s national tour are through Doreen Stanley on 033 343 4884 or 084 556 0668, Fax: 086 402 9592 or 033 343 4884, or email

Hamlet and Othello will first play at the Hilton College Theatre in Hilton near Pietermaritzburg between February 2 and 10, before moving to the Playhouse Drama Theatre in Durban between February 13 and March 24, with schools performances in each venue from Mondays to Fridays at 09h00 and 12h00 daily.  A public evening performance of Hamlet will be given at the Playhouse in Durban on March 1 at 19h00. Tickets R120 (adults) with concessions available for students and pensioners.

Performances will also be given in Dundee on February 27 and Newcastle on February 28, Richards Bay on March 22, and Port Shepstone on March 23.

With its varied themes of racism, love, jealousy and betrayal, Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello remains as relevant to present-day audiences as it ever was. Multi award-winning director, writer, teacher and actress, Clare Mortimer, once again directs a star-studded cast to provide an action-packed performance, which keeps the audience enthralled ... and helps learners to understand and enjoy Shakespeare. With her wealth of experience as a Matric English teacher (both in private and Government schools) Mortimer has cleverly kept this production (as well as Hamlet) to a manageable two hours, closely following all the relevant themes the learners need to know.

Durban Theatre Award winner Nhlakanipho Manqele reprises his interpretation of the play’s tragic title role, with Cara Roberts again returning as his ill-fated young wife, Desdemona. The rest of the cast, headed by Chris van Rensburg with his chilling portrayal of the villainous Iago and Mortimer as his wife Emilia, again features Michael Gritten, Marc Kay, Bryan Hiles, Rowan Bartlett and Darren King. Kirsty Ndawo makes her role debut as Bianca.

Much cited as Shakespeare’s greatest work, Hamlet Prince of Denmark centres on themes of death, betrayal, greed, murder and revenge. Often described as a typical “Revenge Play”, any careful study reveals it to be very much more.  Does a good and purposeful life on earth triumph? Are vile and criminal acts always punished? Further, what is the purpose of our lives in the time we are given if decency has the same end as treachery? These questions are valid today – in our homes, our schools and among our leaders.  Mortimer once more takes the reins and audiences can be certain of a complete production, with full sets and costume, and the greatest of care given to the text. 

Expect to see a few familiar faces and some fresh ones in Hamlet 2017! Multi award-winner Bryan Hiles takes the title role of the tragic Prince of Denmark, with Cara Roberts appearing as the tragic young heroine, Ophelia. Mortimer plays Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, with Claudius, Hamlet’s treacherous stepfather, portrayed by Michael Gritten. Hamlet’s friend Horatio is played by Nhlakanipho Manqele with Darren King as Polonius and his son Laertes performed by Marc Kay. The production’s powerhouse casting also includes Chris van Rensburg, Rowan Bartlett, Straw Nzimande and Kirsty Ndawo.

Supported by The University of Johannesburg, Think Theatre’s Hamlet and Othello are two invaluable teaching tools with dynamic performance, both educational and entertainment, and are not to be missed. For further information contact Doreen on 084 556 0668 or Margie on 083 251 9412.  If they are unable to answer your call send a text message with your request, name and school’s name.

These productions of Hamlet and Othello will go on to play at the University of Johannesburg from May 8 to 19 and at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria from May 22 to 26. Outreach performances at Pretoria University from May 29 to June 2 are yet to be confirmed.

Follow Hamlet and Othello on Facebook, and keep up to date with production news at #ThinkTheatreHamlet and #ThinkTheatreOthello on Facebook and Twitter.