TOPS: Dean Balie (nominee) and Sne Dladla, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical winner. Picture: JESSE KRAMER

Arts Writer

THE winners of the 51st annual Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards were announced at the Baxter last night.

The ceremony was directed by Thando Doni, with onstage entertainment by Ama Africa Marimba Band, Alan Parker, sitar player Naresh Chauhan, Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement, Die Nuwe Graskoue Trappers, Music van de Caab with Zenobia Kloppers and Tribal Echo, Bovim Ballet, Sibonelo Dance Company, young violinist Anele Mhlahlo, saxophonist Heinrich Isaacs and an Afrikaans medley by Pedro Kruger. The evening concluded on a musical note with contemporary jazz ensemble Breakfast Included.

The event was hosted by Africa Melane together with Lynelle Kenned, who won in the category Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Maria in The Fugard Theatre’s production of West Side Story. The glamorous audience was peppered with major players in the local theatre scene, plus dignitaries and members of the public.

Doni’s concept showcased a fusion of cultures, food and wine giving rise to new beginnings, incorporating the awards’ unique role in the growth of South African theatre while elebrating the synergy and partnerships over the past 51 years between theatre spaces, actors, creatives, technicians, Fleur du Cap wines and the Distell Foundation - both sponsors of the awards.

The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, which is always a highlight on the Mother City’s cultural calendar, have been honouring theatre excellence for over five decades. Category winners each received R15 000 and a newly designed silver medallion.

A total of 86 productions were eligible in 2015. In addition, 66 student performances were considered for the Most Promising Student Award. Nominees in the Student category are judged on their body of work throughout 2015.

Awards were presented in 18 different categories with two special awards being presented on the night – the immensely talented Dr John Kani was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for his vast contribution to theatre over a long and successful career and The Zabalaza Theatre Festival received the Award for Innovation in Theatre for their phenomenal contribution to the development of new South African work by providing a platform for artists who want to venture into acting, stage management, writing and directing.

The judges for the 2015 productions were Africa Melane, Dr Beverley Brommert, Christine Moritz, Eugene Yiga, Gillian Mitchell, Herman van der Westhuizen, Johan van Lill, Marina Griebenow, Peter Tromp, Steyn du Toit and Tracey Saunders.

The panel, made up largely of local critics, journalists, writers and drama educators was chaired by non-voting Melanie Burke. Voting is by secret ballot and all processes are strictly overseen and audited by the legal firm Cluver Markotter Inc.

The 52nd Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards will be held at The Artscape Theatre next year in March 2017.

The full list of winners is:

l Best performance by a lead actor in a play – Gerben Kamper for Samsa-masjien as Gregor Samsa

l Best performance by a lead actress in a play – Sandra Prinsloo for Die Seemeeu as Irina Nikolajewna Arkadina

l Best performance by a supporting actor in a play – Sven Ruygrok for Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles as This Boy

l Best performance by a supporting actress in a play – Cintaine Schutte for Die Seemeeu as Masja

l Best performance in a revue, cabaret or one-person show – Graham Weir for Dead Yellow Sands as various characters

l Best performance by a lead actor in a musical or music theatre show – Aubrey Poo for Orpheus in Africa as Orpheus McAdoo

l Best performance by a lead actress in a musical or music theatre show – Lynelle Kenned for West Side Story as Maria

l Best performance by a supporting actor in a musical or music theatre show – Sne Dladla for Orpheus in Africa as various characters

l Best performance by a supporting actress in a musical or music theatre show – Jill Levenberg for Orpheus in Africa as Lucy Moten

l Award for most promising student – Kiroshan Naidoo from UCT

l Best director – Jaco Bouwer for Samsa-masjien

l Best lighting design – Guy de Lancey for Dead Yellow Sands

l Best set design – Jaco Bouwer for Samsa-masjien

l Best costume design – Birrie le Roux for Orpheus in Africa

l Best sound design, original music composition or original score – Pierre-Henri Wicomb for Samsa-masjien - Soundscape and original score

l Best puppetry design – No award for 2015 productions

l Best new South African script – Samsa-masjien by Willem Anker

l Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for new directors – Mdu Kweyama for Missing