The 50th annual Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards is drawing closer. The highly anticipated event will be directed by Christopher Weare and will be held, for the first time, in the Artscape Opera House on the Foreshore in Cape Town, on Sunday, March 15, at 6pm. Comedian Alan Committie will MC the event for the sixth time.
Theatre luminary Christopher Weare, who has won four Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards and who needs no introduction to the theatre fraternity in South Africa, recently retired as an Associate Professor at UCT Drama School and as the Director of the Little Theatre. He is the Founder of The Intimate Theatre, a member of The Mechanicals Collective, a professional theatre director and a prolific theatre maker. Weare has revealed that his theme for this year’s onstage event will be ‘vintage celebration’. His approach will incorporate the Awards’ unique role in the growth of South African theatre and will celebrate the synergy between the theatre space, actors, creatives, technicians and Distell, the sponsors of the awards ceremony. Those participating in the onstage entertainment include veteran actor Andrew Buckland, Slam Poet Kholeka Putuma, Trevino Isaac’s band Eminent directed by Alistair Izobell, ‘Not The Midnight Mass’ with Graham and Christine Weir, Tina Schouw and Donal Slemon, dancer Grant van Ster and company, and ‘Hamlet’, featuring actors from the UCT Drama School that include four 2014 Fleur du Cap Theatre Award nominees, namely Skye Russell, David Viviers, Sive Gubangxa, and Nathan Lynne.
Mandla Mbothwe, Artscape’s creative manager, will be curating installations in the various public spaces throughout the Artscape venue, both inside and out. He says, “the take for the curation is to find crosspollinations between the art of wine making and the art of theatre making. Like Distell’s slogan my inspiration and guidance for this comes from ‘Inspired by Nature’. It draws correlations from the various stages of wine making such as farming, harvesting, the waiting for the right time, patience and so is our art form and the art of acting. Both wine making and theatre making are inspired by nature.”
There will be two prominent live installations that encapsulate the correlation between wine and theatre making. There will also be a Potjiekos exhibition that draws these metaphors and the elementary idioms between those two creative universes. Guests will enjoy a truly sensory experience as they move through the venue.
Luke Ellenbogen will head up the lighting design team. Committie, who has been the MC at five previous Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, events is one of SA’s most loved comics and a successful actor in his own right.
The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards are the most coveted in South Africa’s theatre industry, each carrying a cash prize of R15000 and each award recipient is given a silver medallion. The Awards is a flagship arts and culture initiative of the Distell Foundation and a premier event on the South African social calendar. “This year, our golden anniversary, presents Distell with an ideal opportunity to look back at its unique role in the growth of South African theatre,” says Irma Albers, Distell’s Arts and Culture Controller.
The judges for 2014 productions were Africa Melane, Dr Beverley Brommert, Christine Moritz, Eugene Yiga, Gillian Mitchell, Herman van der Westhuizen, Jill Markram, Johan van Lill, Len Ashton, Mariana Malan, Marina Griebenow, Peter Tromp, Steyn du Toit and Tracey Saunders. Stephanie Klink completed a year-long internship in 2014 and has been accepted to join the panel of judges this year. The panel, chaired by Melanie Burke, the non-voting chairperson, is made up largely of local critics, journalists, writers and drama educators. Theatre practitioners are recognised for acting, directing, staging and technical abilities, and the panel of judges furthermore consider an individual, company or organisation in the theatre industry that has consistently created exceptional and innovative work. Winners are chosen from productions performed at approximately 15 venues in and around Cape Town. For a production to be eligible, a run of a minimum of eight performances over a period of three weeks at the same venue is required. All voting processes are audited and overseen by the legal firm Cluver Markotter Inc.
At its inception in 1965 the awards were known as the Three Leaf Awards, becoming the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards in 1978 to celebrate one of Distell’s leading wine brands. The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards is funded by the Distell Foundation in support of the development of the performing arts by awarding theatre excellence. As an additional initiative within its CSI (Corporate Social Investment) programme, the Distell Foundation supports mentoring, training and skills development initiatives that introduce youth to theatre and nurture talented directors and theatre makers who are entering the theatre industry.
* Tickets for the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards ceremony at the Artscape Opera House on March 15 cost R200 per person via Computicket, 0861 9158000, and 021 4217695, and include canapés and Fleur du Cap wines.
Follow the awards on Twitter @FDCTheatreAward and on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/YuZtCk.