• Herschelle Benjamin

The 53rd Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards ‘Alive with flair’


The 53rd Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards was held at the Baxter Theatre Centre and it had everything you would want from an award ceremony in 2018. Mothers, “lunchbox-makers” and other loved ones were thanked. The winners quoting Voila Davis’s Emmy speech about opportunities for women of colour, mentioning Bra Hugh Masekela and Wakanda/#BlackPanther inspired fashion made this year’s ceremony very special and a step in the right direction.

The host, Africa Melane was elegantly at ease in front of the microphone and presenting the awards with co-presenters such as Jill Levenberg, Janice Honeyman, Jennifer Steyn, Celeste Matthews, Daneel van der Walt, Tara Notcutt, Penny Youngleson, Emily Child, Lara Foot and Quanita Adams. How fitting was the all women co-presenters at the event in the context of #MeToo and #TimesUp movement during this year. They didn’t have to say it or force it to the audience member but let the production and the atmosphere itself tell you that these theatre awards are focusing on transformation, bilateral relations between important stake-holders and to always let the honest stories be at the core of our art.

All the guests and nominees gathered from about 17:30 to not just experience the “Elegantly Extravagant” but to celebrate the nominated theatre productions from the previous years. The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards has been regarded amongst the most valued and prestigious in the South African performing arts industry for the last 53 years already since 1965. And it is proudly supported by the Distell Company for enriching and supporting the development of the arts in South Africa. One of their brand wines, Fleur du Cap wines has been associated with the Theatre Awards hence the name of the awards ceremony.

Like Melanie Burke, Chairperson of the Fleur du Cap theatre awards judging panel said: “The arts are so vital for the connectedness we seek with one another.” And for one night only the whole theatre industry dress up for the event that rewards the successful winners of theatre productions that have played in and around Cape Town the previous year. This year was no exception with a live band on the stage, young dancers doing routines throughout the show and the star-studded singers that entertained the guests with songs such as Brenda Fassi’s Weekend Special and Distruction Boys’s hit-song Omunye. And oh boy oh boy, the winners made us laugh, cry and stand up in admiration and honour like when the legendary Avlon Collison took to the microphone after he was rewarded the evenings Lifetime Achievement Award. All the years of hard work, dedication and passion that he poured into the industry deserved the standing ovation from the auditorium. Other special awards included Kunste Onbeperk’s Teksmark and Imbewu trust script-writing competition for Innovation in Theatre.

The ceremony was directed by Alistair Izobell who is well-known as a performer for more than 30 years. And his assistant was the internationally acclaimed performer and choreographer, Grant van Ster. These two kept our eyes pleased and our bones awake with all the musical entertainment. Also, their set design and lightning was functional and complimentary to the essence of the gathering. And after all the awards were handed out, the Baxter Theatre Centre literally came ‘alive with flair’. And what a time to be alive! The winners are as follow:

Most Promising Student: Luntu Masiza, AFDA.

Best New South African Script: What Remains by Nadia Davis.

Best New Director: Nico Scheepers.

Best Theatre Production for children and young people: Jon Keevy for The Undergroung Library.

Best Performance by an Ensemble: The Cast of What Remains.

Best Performance in a Revue, Cabaret or One-person show: Gideon Lombard in Die Reuk van Appels as Marnus.

Best Performance by an Supporting Actor in a Musical or Music Theatre Show: Shanda Shandu in King Kong as Lucky.

Best Performance by an Supporting Actress in a Musical or Music Theatre Show: Isabella Jane in Evita as The Mistress

Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical or Music Theatre Show: David Dennis in Priscilla Queen of the Desert as Bernadette.

Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical or Music Theatre Show: Edith Plaatjies in King Kong as Joyce.

Best Lightning Design: Wilhelm Disbergen for What Remains.

Best Set Design: Greg King for Suddenly the Storm.

Best Costume Design: Leigh Bishop & Lieze van Tonder for Twelfth Night.

Best Sound Design, Original Music Composition or Original Score: Charl-Johan Lingenfelder for orginal Music Composition for King Kong.

Best Performance in an Opera – Male: Lukhanyo Moyake in Der Fliegende Hollander as Steuermann.

Best Performance in an Opera – Female: Johanni van Oostrum in Der Fliegende Hollander as Senta.

Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a play: Mark Elderkin in Twelfth Night as Malvolio.

Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in a play: Robyn Scott in Shakespeare in Love as Elizabeth I

Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Play: Faniswa Yisa in What Remains as The Archeologist.

Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play: Graig Morris in Tartuffe as Madame Pernelle.

Best Director: Jay Pather for What Remains.

Best Production: Marat/Sade – The Baxter Theatre (Nicolette Moses)

#TheBaxterTheatre #theatreartsadmincollective #DistellFoundation #TheFleurduCapAwards #PerformingArtsPhotography #artscape #artscapetheatrecentre #FdcTheatreAwards #Fleurducap #fleurducapawards #baxtertheatre #childrenstheatre #Theatrecapetown #theatrescenecapetown #OnStage

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