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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Lisa Bobbert acquires four major awards for her performance in “Shirley Valentine”.

The sixth annual awards evening of The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards took place this evening (November 17) at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. This year’s system considers productions originating and presented in Durban during the period October 1, 2007, to September 30, 2008, and include the genres of drama and comedy, musical theatre, music revue, and children’s theatre, with a total of 49 productions vying for honours at this year’s awards ceremony.

Hosted by Johanne Pillay and Terence Pillay, the evening was a glamorous event attended by the “who’s who” in the theatre industry as well as regular supporters of theatre. The entertainment component included excerpts from productions being presented in Durban over the next couple of months, giving the audience a glimpse of what is on offer this festive season.

Once again, the highly pro-active KickstArt theatre company swept the boards, reaping awards for high quality productions in nearly all genres.

The Wizard of Oz gained Poster Design for Shirley Berko, Sound Design for Megan Levy, Lighting Design for Tina le Roux, Set Design for Greg King and choreography for Janine Bennewith. In the Musical Theatre/Review category, supporting actress and actor went to Clare Mortimer and Rowan Bartlett respectively. Lead Actor went to Peter Court as did Musical Director to Evan Roberts, Director to Steven Stead and to KickstArt for the overall Musical Theatre production award for The Wizard of Oz.

Produced by KickstArt in association with the Playhouse Company, Aladdin won every award in the Children’s Theatre category: Supporting Actress and Actor for Ntando Cele and Bryan Hiles; Lead Actress and Actor for Carol Trench and Peter Court; as well as the Director award for Steven Stead and the production award for KickstArt and the Playhouse Company

Janna Ramos-Violante won Lead Actress in the Musical Theatre/Review category for her impressive performance in Guys and Dolls with Andrew Verster winning the Costume Design for the same production. Gary McKenzie being awarded top production award for The King and Queen

In the category Drama/Comedy/Solo, Bheki Mkhwane won New South African Script for Born Thru the Nose with Josette Eales winning Supporting Actress for Stone Angel. The Supporting Actor award was won jointly by Sean de Klerk for Robin Hood and Xolani Henema for It’s a Man’s World. Xolani Henema also won New Performer – Male for It’s a Man’s World, with Karen Logan winning New Performer – Female for Hamlet.

Ben Voss won Performance in a Comedy by a Male for Beauty and the BEE! with Rajesh Gopie (Out of Bounds) and Tim Wells (Oleana) jointly receiving the Lead Actor Award.

For her outstanding performance in Shirley Valentine, Lisa Bobbert won no less than three awards: Performance in a Comedy by a Female, Strictly Solo and Lead Actress. She was also the recipient of the Mercury Theatre Personality of the Year floating trophy.

Steve Stead received the Director’s award for Shirley Valentine which also won the Production Award.

The special Judges Award was presented to theatre veterans Alfred (posthumously) and Patti Nokwe, for their major contribution to the growth of community theatre and the training of young people for a disciplined professional career in theatre.

Tim Pullen and ClaviTech once again made an extremely generous donation of a ClaviTech home keyboard/digital piano while Ailsa Windsor and Going Places provided a complimentary glass of sparkling wine for audience members on arrival.

Once again, The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards is grateful for the generous support from its sponsors and partners who have joined in supporting this year’s awards. Principal sponsors are media partner The Mercury, the Bartel Arts Trust, the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Troubadour Productions, DarkHorse Productions, Stuart Edwards & Company, Publicity Matters, artSMart and Sunshine Factory.