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Sunday, November 15, 2009


(Pic: Monica Fairall and Rob Morrell on their wedding day which coincided with a freak hail storm!)

First award to be presented at The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards Ceremony on November 23.

In June this year, South Africa lost one of its most respected and much-loved broadcasters, Monica Fairall, who died after a courageous battle with cancer which saddened so many, particularly as she was such a strong exponent of healthy living.

Besides being a broadcaster, a writer and a yoga teacher as well as a former Miss South Africa, Monica Fairall was also a University of Natal (Durban) drama graduate and an accomplished musician and singer. Her former long-term relationship with the late Durban poet, Douglas Livingstone, took her into the literary world and she wrote regularly for prestigious magazines and published several books. She also performed in bands and in shows with long-term friends Richard Haslop, Robert van der Linde, Will Wallace and others.

In 2000, director and songwriter Patrick Collyer persuaded her to go back on stage again in the smash-hit 60’s nostalgia show, Those Were the Days, which ran for extended periods at various venues around Durban.

Monica Fairall married UKZN lecturer Professor Robert Morrell in November 2007, a relationship that was tragically cut short by her death. Along with family members and close friends and colleagues he has now created a trust in her memory to honour specific abilities in the performing arts world.

“In the wonderful but terribly short time that I lived with and was married to Monica, I came to realize how important the performing arts were to and for her,” Robert Morrell explains. “She was a supreme performer but she very much appreciated the roles of the people who weren’t in the limelight. In a way, this was who she was herself: somebody who kept her own counsel and shunned fame and fortune but who cared a lot about things being done well and who would do a lot to ensure that they were done well.

“It is in this spirit that those of us close to Monica, including her journalist friends ‘the Golden Girls’ and family, have created the Monica Fairall Memorial Award,” Robert Morrell continues. “It is to honour and reward people in the performing arts who make performance possible, who keep alive the space where our public selves meet our private lives. The many "behind the scenes" aspects that this award will recognise and acknowledge reflect the multiple contributions to our lives that Monica herself made”

Presented at Durban’s “Oscar” night, The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards, The Monica Fairall Memorial Award will be given annually in her memory to those who make an essential contribution to any theatre production but who, because they work away from the limelight of the stage, are not usually acknowledged. Yet, without their contribution, no production would ever reach the stage.

Those eligible would include production managers, stage managers, company manager/administrators, wardrobe mistresses/masters, archivists/librarians, community theatre leaders, and such like.

The first Monica Fairall Memorial Award will be presented at this year’s The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards on November 23 at 19h30 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Book at Computicket. For more information click on the Durban Theatre Awards banner at the top of this main page.

Those who would like to ensure that this award lives on to commemorate Monica’s contribution to the performing arts are invited to make monetary contributions. All deposits for the Monica Memorial Award Fund to: WBI Trust Account, First National Bank, Durban Corporate, Branch code: 22-14-26, A/c number: 508 559 270 66. NB: Enter your file number in this office as the reference: 26M3574A9