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Alexander Bar Upstairs Theatre
An intimate and eclectic performance space in the heart of Cape Town
At a time when many of Cape Town’s smaller theatres boarded up their windows due to economic factors, Nicholas Spagnoletti and Edward van Kuik, the theatre-loving owners of the old-world Alexander Bar & Café, [dramatically] threw open the doors of their new, intimate thespian space. Alexander Upstairs, located above (as the name suggests) Alexander Bar on the corner of Loop and Strand street in the city centre, hit the local scene in October 2012 with an eclectic blend of acts and shows.
Nicholas, who has won awards for his play ‘London Road’, approached Jon Keevy, another big name in the Mother City’s theatre scene, with the idea to turn the unused space above the bar into an intimate performance arena.
“I think we share a commitment to quality productions and to doing our best to connect to the creative community in Cape Town,” said Jon, when asked about the partnership. “I’m really excited, and nervous as the gingerbread man at a weight-watchers meeting,” he added.
Alexander Upstairs will incorporate a plethora of theatrical styles, a versatile approach to programming aimed at giving fans a varied experience. Stand-up comedy, literature launches and book readings will make up the space’s staple acts, along with theatre performances. Not to mention, twice a week this 40-seater artistic vessel will host musically themed evenings: Tuesdays are jazz evenings and Wednesdays focus on new folk-style jams (an affair sure to give the hippies a reason to put on their best petchouli).
“We realised early on that for a theatre like ours to succeed, we would need to diversify and feature some high impact stuff in order to pull the crowds,” said Jon.
Many of the gigs will be firsts for Cape Town audiences, as Jon has carefully sourced performers and planned performances to align with the eclectic and interesting themed Alexander experience. Though, the artist line-up also includes big names, such as Genna Gardini, a poet and playwright who will feature in one of the first Saturday afternoon play readings, a weekly get-together where theatricals put their work on the chopping block.
So, while the bar downstairs will continue to serve up snacks, a top-notch whisky selection and artisan drinks in a 19th century setting, patrons will soon be able to whet their whistle in the midst of more modern entertainment (though, we’re not counting out the possibility of nude beat poetry readings).
Tip: Don’t forget to pen Alexander Upstairs’s jazz evenings on Tuesdays into your weekly social line-up.
By Gerhard Jacobs
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