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Thursday, February 22, 2024




(Above: Brittany Smith as Maria and Craig Urbani as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music at Artscape, Cape Town. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht)

This report is by courtesy of Billy Suter of SoSuterBill.


A number of KwaZulu-Natal talents feature among nominees for the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, now in their 59th year. The awards, celebrating theatre in Cape Town. are to be presented on Sunday, March 17, at the Baxter Theatre Centre – and streamed live on social media platforms.

Steven Stead, who runs Durban’s KickstArt theatre company with his husband Greg King, has been nominated as best director for his much-praised work on the acclaimed Pieter Toerien/Cape Town Opera production of The Sound of Music, currently in Johannesburg after wowing Cape audiences.

Stead is among five nominees in the Best Director category, others being Christiaan Olwagen for Die Moeder, Mark Fleishman for Oedipus at Colonus, Marthinus Basson for Die Fel Omstrede Kroon van Edward II en Gaveston and Sylvaine Strike for The Promise – On Stage.

The Sound of Music is also nominated in the category of Best Production – alongside Die Fel Omstrede Kroon van Edward II en Gaveston, Die Moeder, Oedipus at Colonus and The Promise – On Stage.

The Sound of Music’s Schoeman Smit (as Franz), William Burger (as Max) and Nadia Beukes (as Baroness Schraeder) are nominees for supporting performances, while the musical’s stars, Craig Urbani (Captain Von Trapp) and Brittany Smith (Maria), are also nominated, along with set designer Denis Hutchinson.

Smith’s Violetta in La Traviata has her as a contender for best female opera performance while Urbani is also nominated as best lead actor in a musical for his role in the lavish We Will Rock You.

Still talking about We Will Rock You – the show has chalked up a supporting performer nomination for Pietermaritzburg’s Zolani Shangase, for his fine ensemble work. And the same show has a Best Lead Actress in a Musical nomination for former Durban-based performer Londiwe Dhlomo, for her role as Killer Queen.

Another KZN connection is that former Durban singer-musician-actress Kerry Hiles, sister of actor Bryan Hiles, has received a Fleur du Cap nomination as Best Lead Actress in a Musical. This is for her solo performance in A Star is Born – The Rise and Fall of Judy Garland.

I’m a little surprised to see it with no other nominations, but great news that Durban theatre company, Theatresmiths, has its excellent The King of Broken Things, starring Cara Roberts and written and directed and directed by Michael Taylor-Broderick, nominated for Best Theatre Production for Children and Young People.

Another Durban link is that multi-talented Leah Mari, a student at the Lamta theatre school and an understudy for Maria in The Sound of Music, is among 10 nominees this year for the prize for Best Student.

The coveted Fleur du Cap awards are sponsored by Heineken Beverages, which acquired former sponsor, Distell, in 2023.

The awards celebrate outstanding contributions to local theatre across 23 categories. They range from performing to directing, scriptwriting, composing and puppetry, as well as exceptional stage, sound, lighting and costume design.

A total of 66 plays, musicals and music theatre productions were assessed by the judges. There were also 10 productions for children and young adults, as well as six operas, all mounted between January and December 2023. In addition, 140 students from eight institutions in 54 productions were considered for the Best Student category.

In addition to the category winners, the recipients of the Encore Award, the Innovation in Theatre Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced at the awards ceremony. – Billy Suter


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