The winners of the 58th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards were announced at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch on Sunday 26 March. The event was one of many celebrating World Theatre Day, globally, on 27 March.
The most decorated production of the night was Contested Bodies, produced by Abrahamse and Meyer Productions, a company that received sixteen 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 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. 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 one of the most devastating periods 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.”
The winners of the 58th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards are:
AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING STUDENT: 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 OR MUSIC THEATRE SHOW: Earl Gregory | Star+Crossed | Billy
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR MUSIC 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 OR 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
2022 eligible productions:
A Christmas Carol, A Revue of the Songs of Brel and Piaf, A Streetcar Named Desire, Agulhasvlakte, Alcina, Aunty Merle: Things Get Real, Back to Ashes (Zabalaza Best of the Fest), Betrayal, Blood Knot, Bon Appétit, Born Naked, Buzani Kubawo, Concerning the Life of Babyboy Kleintjies, Contested Bodies, Curl Up and Dye, Dance of the La Gumas, Defending the Gay Man, Die Goeie Pa, Die sewe doodsondes, Dinner with the 42s, Don Pasquale, Double Star, Earworm, Firefly, Fordsburg’s Finest, Four Fathers: Bananas for the Baboons, Hamlet, He Had it Coming, Hold Still, Hostel Lights (Zabalaza Best of the Fest), How to Hold the World, I Want to Write You a Submarine, iKrele leChiza, Île, Imbilini…My Friend!, Irma, Karatara, Kiss of the Spider Woman, L’elisir d’amore, Le Nozze di Figaro, Liewe Heksie en die Rolskaatse, Life and Times of Michael K, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Mad About the Boys, May I Have This Dance, More Than a Handful, Mutton Hour, Neon Smoel, Nêrens, Noord-Kaap, No Complaints – New Day, New Dawn, Once on This Island, One Arm, Peter Pan, Platform 9: Coming Home, Sara Baartman – The Opera, Shadow Boxing, Shirley Valentine, Sonde met die Spoke, Star+Crossed, The Dead Tinder Society, The House of Truth, The Last Five Years, The Marvelous Wonderettes, The Triplets of Bellville, The Unlikely Secret Agent, Thuto, Vincent, Vloeibare moed, Vlooi en die geheim/Kipper and the Secret, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Your Song – The Music of Elton John.
The panel for the year 2022, selecting the 2023 nominees and winners: Africa Melane (Chair), Dr Beverley Brommert, Hadley Tituss, Dr Lwando Scott, Mariana Malan, Marina Griebenow, Tracey Saunders, Dr Wayne Muller.