Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards 2021 identifying talent of tomorrow with a focus on student creatives

What: The 2021 Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards #FDCTheatreAwards2021
When: October 2021 – to be advised
Where: Online- viewing links – to be advised

Video: https://youtu.be/Gbe0ly1Xkn8  

The 2021 FDC awards ceremony -the 56th edition of the annual FDC – will take place sometime in October. In the video, Africa Melane, judging panel chair, provides insights into the history of the FDC and pays tribute to some of the artists who have received awards and the impact that they have – not as performers but as activists, teachers and mentors. He reflects on the pandemic and how creatives and audiences are yearning to go back, into the ambit of live theatre. Melane explains about the importance of nurturing young artists and how students will be a focus at the awards this year, with the Most Promising Student category.  

In a moving and poignant video, Africa Melane, judging panel chair of the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, looks back at the genesis of the awards and at some of the creatives who been honoured over the years. The video is a tribute to artists – past and present – and very much about nurturing newcomers in the industry. With that in mind, the focus of #FDCTheatreAwards2021 will be on students who have made their mark, spectacularly, during the pandemic and lockdown. I was very moved by the video. As Melane says, during the pandemic, artists have innovated and embraced online modes of expression and presentation but the language of theatre and film- online – is very different to live performance. The “positioning of the audience” online versus online is also different. Watch the video. It is a treat and yes, I cannot wait for when live performance is back on stage, in full force. I also look forward to when the FDC ceremony will be able to take place again, live, with its red carpet, entertainment and fabulous celebration of theatre in Cape Town. Bravo to principal sponsor, Distell for its support and for keeping the awards alive during lockdown. Info as supplied:

Ways of Dying was presented at The Baxter by the Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies (CTDPS). Four of its students were nominated in the Most Promising Student category for #FDCTheatreAwards2021. Supplied.


The annual Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, which have been honouring theatre excellence, originality and the vibrancy of our many cultures since 1965, will be one of the biggest highlights on the Cape’s entertainment calendar in October.

The awards which are in their 56th year, will this year, focus exclusively on the Most Promising Student category. They will also be held virtually as a result of the constraints imposed by Covid-19 and the associated restrictions.

“The performing arts industry has been hit hard by Covid. There’s no denying this sad reality. Some venues such as The Fugard Theatre and former Alexander Bar Theatre in Cape Town have closed down permanently,” explains judging panel chair Africa Melane. 

“The obvious route would have been to dim the lights on the awards. That, however, would have been to negate the rich reservoir of creative talent that remains right here in the Western Cape. Covid-19 may have forced venues to close, but the virus has never stopped the burgeoning of ideas, abilities, energy and drive.”

Reflecting on the nine institutions whose graduate students were reviewed by the panel under the Most Promising Student category, Melane was full of praise for the more than 100 students whose work was reviewed: “When the students enrolled for their first year, we did not anticipate that there would be a pandemic that would be so disruptive to all our lives. And still, the students put in the hard work and produced outstanding results which deserves recognition.”

Theatre critic and arts journalist Tracey Saunders, who is convenor of the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards’ student panel, adds: “Describing the past 18 months as unprecedented and challenging seem somewhat redundant and, yes, those are the circumstances that faced the cohort of 2020 students. While for the majority of those involved in the creative sector, life came to an abrupt halt in March 2020 for students in tertiary institutions, the academic calendar marched on.

“In the face of lockdowns of varying severity, students and lecturers infected and affected by Covid and a litany of loss, learning continued using a hybrid of in-person and virtual teaching. Lecturers were called upon to hold space and hearts in ways never envisioned and Covid protocols became an accepted part of first night rituals. In the true spirit of thespian tradition, the show went on and students performed work where the panel were able to enjoy, even briefly, the magic of live performance.

“The student panel follows students throughout their academic careers and although there were limited performances in 2020 and 2021, the resilience and fortitude shown by the graduates were limitless. New kid on the block LAMTA (Luitingh Alexander Musical Theatre Academy), staged a showcase for graduates and a production featuring all students. Both the CTDPS (Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies) and AFDA productions were presented on stage and online. No matter the medium, the magic was still there.”

Speaking on behalf of sponsor Distell, André Opperman, the company’s Human Resources, and Corporate Affairs Director said: “Over many years, we have come to realise the contribution of the arts to the success of our business, in particular, the role arts play, as a catalyst for social transformation. The arts have always given us an opportunity to connect with one another and to transcend the boundaries and obstacles of our everyday lives where we so often become consumed by differences of history, culture, and language, among many others.”

Opperman added: “The creative talent that we have seen is testimony of what is possible when we nurture the most original minds, that’s why as Distell, we remain committed to supporting and helping the arts to flourish.”

Another exciting addition to this year’s event is a video production that looks reflects on the history of the awards and their impact over nearly six decades. The video features some of South Africa’s biggest names in acting, directing and stagecraft. To watch go to: https://youtu.be/Gbe0ly1Xkn8

Concludes Melane: “The video is also a wonderful tribute to some of the biggest names in 20th century local theatre, from Sandra Kotze and Bill Flynn to Pieter-Dirk Uys. The work of writers such as Adam Small and Athol Fugard are featured, along with highly influential directors Robert Mohr and Mavis Taylor. Then it fast-forwards to the 21st century, to the digital impact on theatre, its new voices, new energy and new ideas. What an exceptional insight it offers viewers!” 

Most Promising Student category -short-listed candidates, in alphabetical order #FDCTheatreAwards2021:  

Chad Langenhoven (AFDA)
Liné Koen (LAMTA)
Mpumelelo Maxell Phanginxiwa (CTDPS)
Nikho Tsotsi (AFDA)
Nomakhosi Khosi Meveni (CTDPS)
Robert Hindley (University of Stellenbosch)
Tebatso Denilson Molapo (CTDPS)
Tafara Nyatsanza (CTDPS)
Thulani Nzonzo (AFDA)  

The Most Promising Student award winner will be announced in late October 2021, as will those who will be recipients of the Lifetime Achievement; the Innovation in Theatre, and the Encore awards.   

Follow the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards on social media
Facebook @FleurduCap
Twitter @FDCTheatreAward

#FDCTheatreAwards2021 #distell #distellarts  

Follow Distell  

Twitter @DistellGroup
Facebook @DistellGroup
YouTube @DistellGroup https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO2wd3kXWJ1YU1wTY4J6pqw

Share in the magic of the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards for the #PerformingArts, now in its 56th year, and go back in history. Watch the history of the awards spanning more than five decades: https://youtu.be/Gbe0ly1Xkn8

About the The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards

The Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards is sponsored by Distell, Africa’s leading producer and marketer of a selection of top-quality spirits, wines, ciders and other ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, sold across the world. At 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.  

Go to www.distell.co.za for more information about its various arts and culture projects.    

Sponsored feature. Featured image – screenshot of the video – announcing the #FDCTheatreAwards2021; a look at the history of the awards and the focus this year on student talent.