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Theatre News South Africa

58th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards winners announced

It was a glittering affair at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch on Sunday, 26 March, when the winners of the 58th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards were announced. The event was one of many celebrating World Theatre Day globally on 27 March.
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The most decorated production of the night was Contested Bodies, produced by Abrahamse and Meyer Productions, a company which received 16 nominations. It garnered awards for Best Director - Fred Abrahamse, Best Costume Design - Marcel Meyer and the cast of Matthew Baldwin, Lungile Lallie and Marcel Meyer were acknowledged for the Best Performance by an Ensemble.

The award for the Best Performance by a Lead Actor was a bitter sweet moment as the late Mncedisi Shabangu was announced as the winner for his portrayal of Zacharia in Athol Fugard’s play Blood Knot. His name was one of the many who featured in the memorial section of the programme where artists who passed away during the year were remembered and mourned.

Mwenya Kabwe won the award for the Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Play for her role as Rosa Feigel in Hold Still, which also earned acclaim as the Best New South African script for writer, Nadia Davids.

JM Coetzee’s Life & Times of Michael K, adapted for the stage by Lara Foot, a joint production between the Baxter Theatre, Theater der Welt in Düsseldorf and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg took home the coveted Best Production Award.

The Mozart opera, Le Nozze di Figaro, made a clean sweep with Conroy Scott and Brittany Smith garnering the awards for the Best Performances in the Male and Female categories in an Opera, respectively. Mikayla Joy Brown of Stellenbosch University won the Most Promising Student Award. Richly deserved as her production debuts on the festival circuit later this year.

David Kramer and Peter Cazalet received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Kramer was honoured for his immeasurable contribution to the arts and entertainment industry as a national and internationally renowned artist, singer, songwriter, guitarist, creator and producer of iconic musical theatre production and an archivist of South African music and stories.

Peter Cazalet was acknowledged for his vast contribution to the national and international arts and entertainment industry, initially as a ballet dancer and subsequently as an award-winning set and costume designer and Capab’s head of design. His enduring and captivating stage designs set a high standard and are still admired and used in current productions, most recently in Cinderella.

Empatheatre, a research-based, theatre-making methodology earned co-directors Neil Coppen, Dr Dylan McGarry and Mpume Mthombeni the Innovation in Theatre Award. Their ability to build connections between people and places and through their practice of public storytelling and listening is unsurpassed. They have impacted individuals on a profoundly personal level, communities on a practical level and the general public through their inputs at parliament and global conferences.

The panel expressed their delight at the calibre of theatre on stages during the year. Last year (2022) was a difficult year for the sector as it emerged from the most devastating period in South Africa’s theatre history. The number of eligible productions, 71 in total, returned to pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating once again the resilience of our theatre makers.

Cape Town and surrounds were gifted with performances which were frequently immersive, often bold, at times breath-taking and, when most needed, very funny, while always evoking an array of complex emotions from audiences.

Winners of the 58th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards are:

Award Most Promising Student Award

Mikayla Joy Brown | University of Stellenbosch/Honours

Best New South African Script

Nadia Davids | Hold Still

Best New Director

Carlo Daniels | No Complaints - New Day, New Dawn

Best Theatre Production for Children and Young People

Marinda Engelbrecht and Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck | Vlooi en die geheim/Kipper and the Secret

Best Performance by an Ensemble

Marcel Meyer, Matthew Baldwin and Lungile Lallie | Contested Bodies | Doctor James Barry, Lord Charles Somerset and John Nobody

Best Performance in a Revue, Cabaret or One-person Show

Daniel Newton | Shadow Boxing | Flynn

Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical of Theatre Show

Earl Gregory | Star+Crossed | Billy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical of Theatre Show

Isabella Jane | Star+Crossed | Bess

Best Puppetry Design

Adrian Kohler | Handspring Puppet Company | Life and Times of Michael K

Best Lighting Design

Gideon Lombard | Karatara

Best Set Design

Greg King | Fordsburg’s Finest

Best Costume Design

Marcel Meyer | Contested Bodies

Best Sound Design, Original Music, Soundscape od Live Performance

Gideon Lombard | Karatara | Sound design

Best Performance in an Opera - Male

Conroy Scott | Le Nozze di Figaro | Figaro

Best Performance in an Opera - Female

Brittany Smith | Le Nozze di Figaro | Susanna

Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Play

Carlo Daniels | The Unlikely Secret Agent | Various roles

Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Play

Berenice Barbier | Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf | Honey

Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Play

Mwenya Kabwe | Hold Still | Rosa Feigel

Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play

Mncedisi Shabangu | Blood Knot | Zacharia

Best Director

Fred Abrahamse | Contested Bodies

Best Production

Baxter Theatre Centre; Theater der Welt, Düsseldorf; Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg | Life and Times of Michael K

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