Winners of the 55th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards were named last week.
The awards had been scheduled to take place on Sunday March 22 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a digital announcement of winners in all award categories was made on Monday May 18 through the Facebook and Twitter pages of sponsor, Distell.
Panel judging chairman Africa Melane said this year’s winners reflected a dynamic, healthy mix of emergent and established local talent.
“The tough economic times of recent years did not rob theatre and opera lovers of an exceptional quality of productions mounted. The panel and I were once again blown away by what was on offer, especially the new South African works. It demonstrates that talent will flourish regardless of the circumstances.
“From the avant garde to more mainstream entertainment, from exciting new names to seasoned stars and other specialists of the stage, this year’s winners highlight the thrilling and world-class standard of what is on offer to local audiences. We are truly fortunate.”
Kinky Boots was the indisputable favourite of the judges, taking a total of six awards. Scott won three, with writer and director Morapeleng Molekoa winning two of these, while G7: Okwe Bokhwe (Like/Of a Goat) also won three, and The Glass Menagerie, two awards.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement award honoured veteran playwright, director, actor and educator Fatima (Fatts) Dike. Summing up the panel’s comments, Melane said: “She has been instrumental in opening the doors of theatre to all. She educated herself in exile during the struggle, she defied and challenged the laws of segregation and she exposed the abomination of apartheid. We thank her for never abandoning her roots in Langa. Long may she continue to paint with words”.
The Innovation Award went to Junkets Publisher’s Robin Malan and Andisiwe Mgibantaka for their contribution to theatre arts, literature and education. Across its range of imprints, said Melane, the publishing house had continued to promote new writers and ideas, also always providing a platform for the expression of diversity and sexual minorities.
He also mentioned that the organisers had decided to replace the Fleur du Cap medallion awarded to Taliep Petersen in 1999.
Won for Kat and the Kings as best contribution to a musical or revue, it had been stolen from the late composer’s family home in December.
A total of 59 productions were in the running for top honours in this year’s awards.
Some of the winners include:
Best performance by a lead actor in a musical or music theatre show: Earl Gregory in Kinky Boots
Best performance by a lead actress in a musical or music theatre show: Zolani Mahola in The One Who Sings
Best performance in an opera – male: Bongani Kubheka in La Serva Padrona
Best performance in an opera – female: Siphokazi Molteno in I Capuleti e I Montecchio
Best performance by lead actress in a play: Fiona Ramsay in The Glass Menagerie
Best performance by lead actor in a play: Alan Committie in Richard III
Best director: Mandla Mbothwe for G7: Okwe Bokhwe (Like/Of a Goat)
Best production: Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre for Kinky Boots
Best new South African script: Morapeleng Molekoa for Scott
Best new director: Morapeleng Molekoa for Scott
The judging panel, all respected experts in their fields, from critics to journalists, writers and drama educators, included Dr Beverley Brommert, Maurice Carpede, Marina Griebenow, Thabo Makgolo, Mariana Malan, Roxy Marosa, Dr Wayne Muller, Tracey Saunders, Lwando Scott and Hadley Titus, with Africa Melane as non-voting chairman.
Winners each receive R15 000 and a silver medallion.
Visit the Distell Facebook and Twitter pages to view the announcement video.