Insight: Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards- is your production eligible for nomination? Read this

58th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards – ceremony taking place on March 26, 2023

Tickets: Invitation only but there will be a live stream going out on FDC platforms- more info to be advised
Competition: Win tickets to attend the 58th FDC awards – see the FDC Instagram page – competition ends March 22, 2023 noon

Join the conversation and use the hashtags: 

#FDCTheatreAwards2023 and #DistellArts  

Follow Distell on:


For enquiries to see if a production qualifies for the criteria for nomination:

The awards ceremony for the 58th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards is taking place next Sunday, March 26, 2023 at Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch. The 2020 and 2021 FDC awards went out virtually (online), during the Covid hard lockdown in South Africa. The FDC ceremony was back live in 2022, with a glorious awards ceremony held on March 27, 2022 at Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl. The 2023 awards ceremony is particularly poignant as South Africa went into hard lockdown on March 26, 2020. The pandemic throttled the live performance sector but the FDC panel continued to attend performances when lockdown regulations allowed for attendance, albeit with reduced audience capacity, masking and other requirements. The 2022 FDC ceremony took place, while lockdown regulations were still in place so the FDC ceremony on March 26, 2023 is the first back to “normal” awards ceremony. If 2022 was celebratory, then one can imagine the level of joy that is heralding the 2023 ceremony: The 58th Awards recognises productions staged in 2022 which meet the criteria for nomination in the FDC categories.  Here is the list of nominees:

I have said it before and will re-iterate that I think that the FDC panel has excelled in the nomination list for the 58th FDC awards, in terms of the scope and diversity of its choices. Getting a nomination, is recognition for a production and its team. Yes, awards are always subjective and inevitably there will be disappointment in not getting the nod. But and this why this article is going out: Many productions did not qualify for nomination, for a variety of reasons. Wth the comments and questions that I have been getting, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to address what it is required, in order for a production to be eligible for consideration for nomination for a FDC.  I am not on the panel and urge producers to please contact the panel for updated information, before planning a season. The email address for info, in the box, at the beginning of this article. I will share with you, what I do know and will also share some of the questions coming my way. As the industry awakes fully, after the pandemic, with a spurt of productions, as an arts writer, I encourage producers to check the criteria. Yes, T&Cs are subject change and may be amended at any point- so best to check with the panel.

This is what I have gathered, March 2023. In order to be considered for a FDC nomination, there must have been eight performances, staged within a three week period. This is the intel that I received, via, FDC publicist Christine Skinner:   “Criteria: The qualifying productions had a minimum of eight performances within a three week period on one or more stages in Cape Town and surrounds. These are professional productions performed on the recognised stages and theatre centres. For the student prize, all registered students studying theatre and theatre-making qualify for consideration, and are judged over their many years of studying. Student shows are not required to have a minimum number of performances. Also, the awards for opera are only for singing and performance as the shows generally have a run which is almost always shorter than eight performances.”   

It is wonderful that a season may take place at more than one venue- as long as it is within the three week period. With transport issues in Cape Town, this extends access for audiences, enabling more people to see shows. It also provides an opportunity for collaboration between venues and for emerging theatre makers to spread risk. We are seeing extensive use of multiple venues for one season- for instance, between The Drama Factory in the Strand, Theatre Arts in Observatory and the Baxter Theatre. Yes, tech set up for a show takes work and it is not easy to park productions at multiple venues but with the support from venues such as Theatre Arts (the incredible Caroline Calburn), The Drama Factory (incredible Sue Diepeveen) and The Baxter’s Masambe (the incredible Faniswa Yisa- recently appointed to programme this venue), it can happen. The Galloway theatre at the Waterfront Theatre School is also flexible and accommodating. Artscape has its Arena and is another wonderful space for independent theatre productions- if you can get a booking. Artscape’s CEO Dr Marlene le Roux is another incredible woman doing everything she can to facilitate independent theatre. Note – these are all women –fast tracking independent theatre and that is why I use the tag ‘incredible’ as I sing their praises. The Homecoming Centre with its two theatres, the Avalon and The Star (this was where the Fugard theatre was) is a receiving house, ie its theatres are for hire but the venues are heavily booked. There are other venues to consider such as The Kalk Bay Theatre and Theatre on the Bay. Both are producing and receiving houses.

Now we get to what constitutes “recognised stages and theatre centres” by the FDC. For this year, the 58th FDC awards, Sue Pam-Grant’s Curl Up & Dye received a nomination for Lauren Snyders as best supporting actress in a play. The production was staged in the Olympia Bakery (behind the Olympia Cafe) and is clearly designated as a recognised stage/theatre. I have been asked whether community theatres qualify- such as the Masque in Muizenberg. I have seen professional productions staged there in the past, but that is a question for the FDC panel. How about the Joseph Stone Auditorium in Athlone? How about Die Koelkamers in Paternoster? If a play is staged in a foyer at Artscape, does it qualify? And a pop-up outdoor theatre or a pop-up in a shopping mall? Does a site responsive play, in a courtyard at Hiddingh Campus, meet the FDC requirements? Please ask the FDC to advise. The feedback that I am getting from producers is that demand is high and that it is not easy to book venues as they booked up. Bottom line – if you do want to be in the running for a FDC, please check to see that you tick all the boxes in terms of the number of performances, staged within the designated time frame and if the venue is on the list or recognised spaces and if not, what is required for the space to qualify.

Do not be deterred if you can only get a few openings at one venue. Bundle your season with performances at another venue.  If there are eight performances, within a three week period, you qualify for consideration for the FDC nominations. This is March 2023. Things may change. It also makes sense when one venue may be costly in terms of rental and another venue may offer to split the door which can ease the strain on the production spread sheet. To reiterate, the above pertains to general productions: Opera and student work does not have to have a season of eight, to be considered for nomination.

It is understandably distressing to find out that your production did not qualify because you find out, after the season, that you presented seven performances and not eight. Other questions to consider:  If a production is staged again, for example, a year after first iteration and there are changes in cast and creatives, is the production eligible for FDC nominations? We are in exciting theatre times in the Cape. Producers – please find out from the FDC panel- before you sign off on your sign and ensure that you have all the rules at hand.

Glittering: Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards- The 57th awards, March 27, 2022, Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl.© TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen
Festive: After the awards at the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards- The 57th awards, March 27, 2022, Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl.© TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen

✳ Featured image – Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, panel chair, Africa Melane at the 57th awards, Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl. Images © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, March 27, 2022.