Winning this year’s Fleur du Cap Lifetime Achievement Award was not the only triumph for multi-talented theatre doyenne Sandra Prinsloo at tonight’s (27 March) prestige gala ceremony at Nederburg in Paarl.
The much-loved and widely awarded actress of the stage as well as the big and small screen, also took the 2022 award for best performer in a one-person show. This was for her depiction of Elsa Joubert in Spertyd, the stage adaptation of the famous South African writer’s memoir on ageing, loss and acceptance.
Prinsloo (74) had excelled on stage, in local and international film and on TV over many years, said Lizelle Malan of Distell, the sponsors of the annual Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards. “During the course of her rich and varied career, Ms Prinsloo has played an extensive array of characters, imbuing them all with individuality, humanity, nuance and depth. She has been a mentor and inspiration to generations of actors and has contributed readily and generously to South African theatre. She has played no small part in the international recognition it enjoys.
“Her re-imagining of author Elsa Joubert with such steely grace, humour and courage in Spertyd is just one example of her immense talent. We are proud to be associated with her well-deserved achievement and hope she continues to bring her talents to audiences long into the future.”
Africa Melane, chairperson of the panel of judges said: “Sandra Prinsloo delivers in equal measure an exceptional intellect, astounding talent and an impeccable work ethic, performing great female roles in Shakespeare, Chekov, Williams and Strindberg. Her work in plays by P G du Plessis, Bartho Smit, Rachelle Greeff and Nico Scheepers has been equally memorable.”
Prinsloo already holds the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre, given in 2013. In 2014, she received the Order of Ikhamanga (silver) from Government. Melane noted that at the time she was lauded not only for her excellent contribution to the performing arts but also for her use of the creative arts to take a stand against racism. She was hailed as “the pride of the country’s cultural community”.
In 2018, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naledi Theatre Awards.
Hers was not the only multi-win of the gala presentation night, dubbed a bittersweet occasion by Malan.
“For the theatrical fraternity to gather in person after two years, is an experience of joy. Yes, it is suffused with sadness after so much suffering. But it comes as a signal of hope, a mark of return to vitality of an industry severely battered by Covid, venue closures, loss of life and income. We know there is still a long road to recovery, but the greatest tribute we can pay to the courage of those who belong to the South African stage is to continue the fight until theatre is back in full force.
“What gives us optimism is not just the depth of local talent but also its thrilling range. Many new names join the ranks of the country’s foremost artists. Young and experienced players performing mainstream and experimental, classical and new works of both international and indigenous origin show an industry rich in opportunity and mentorship, ensuring its longevity.”
Valsrivier, adapted from the novel by Dominique Botha, was the most highly awarded production of the night. Anna-Mart van der Merwe won the award for best actress, Peggy Tunyiswa, for best supporting actress and Wolf Britz, for best lighting design.
Amongst the double-award winners was A Howl in Makhanda, a semi-autobiographical play about safety and surveillance, written and directed by Qondiswa James, who also won the award for best new South African script. Composer Jannous Aukema won for the play’s best sound design and original composition.
The Lady Aoi, presented by Abrahamse & Meyer Productions won for both best set design and best costume design in the local mounting of Yukio Mishima’s modern Noh masterpiece.
Presented by Eric Abraham and the now defunct Fugard Theatre, the staging of Athol Fugard’s Master Harold… and the Boys also produced two wins, with Desmond Dube taking the title for best lead actor and Siya Mayola, for best supporting actor.
Malan said the sponsors were especially proud to be involved in the showcasing and advancing of local new talent in Sipenathi Siqwayi, who directed Ganga Nyoko! Inzima Nyoko! (Catch, Brother! It’s Hard, Brother!), a two-hander in isiXhosa and English.
“Makudupanyane Senaoana’s win as best male singer in Curlew River and Siphokazi Molteno’s as best female singer in the opera Così fan tutte, highlight yet another generation of voices coming into their own as they give expression to international classics.”
Malan also commended the Magnet Theatre that won this year’s Award for Innovation in Theatre for its Early Years Theatre Incubator Project. Since 2014, Magnet Theatre has been developing African theatre for pre-school audiences. It not only creates and incubates new uniquely South African and African work for staging locally and abroad but also provides training in acting and stagecraft.
Melane stressed that developing and nurturing audiences for the future was essential to the sustainability of the industry. “The creation of new work for children ranging from zero to seven years of age can only be lauded. Often it is this work that provides audiences with their very first encounter with live performance. Can you imagine a greater honour as a performer?”
Magnet Theatre has toured extensively on the continent as well as abroad with productions incubated in the project, exposing their full-time trainees to collaborations with trainee participants from Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Winners were announced in 19 categories this year. Musical performances in plays were merged with those in musicals and music shows, given the limited number of musical events staged in 2020 and 2021.
For the full list of 2022 winners, see below.
BEST NEW SOUTH AFRICAN SCRIPT
Qondiswa James | A Howl in Makhanda
BEST NEW DIRECTOR
Sipenathi Siqwayi | Ganga Nyoko! Inzima Nyoko!
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE
Wessel Pretorius & David Viviers | The Waterworks Anthology | Various roles
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A REVUE, CABARET OR ONE-PERSON SHOW
Sandra Prinsloo | Spertyd | Elsa Joubert
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Wolf Britz | Valsrivier
BEST SET DESIGN
Fred Abrahamse & Marcel Meyer | The Lady Aoi
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST SOUND DESIGN, ORIGINAL MUSIC, SOUNDSCAPE OR LIVE PERFORMANCE
Jannous Aukema | A Howl in Makhanda | Sound design and original composition
BEST PERFORMANCE IN AN OPERA – MALE
Makudupanyane Senaoana | Curlew River | Madwoman
BEST PERFORMANCE IN AN OPERA – FEMALE
Siphokazi Molteno | Così fan tutte | Dorabella
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY, MUSICAL OR MUSIC THEATRE PRODUCTION
Siya Mayola | Master Harold… and the Boys | Willie
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY, MUSICAL OR MUSICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION
Peggy Tunyiswa | Valsrivier | Mary Dlamini
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY, MUSICAL OR MUSIC THEATRE PRODUCTION
Anna-Mart van der Merwe | Valsrivier | Sandra Botha
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY, MUSICAL OR MUSIC THEATRE PRODUCTION
Desmond Dube | Master Harold… and the Boys | Sam
Paul du Toit | The Unlikely Secret Agent
Pieter Toerien Productions | The Producers
AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING STUDENT
Byron McKeith | Northlink College
AWARD FOR INNOVATION IN THEATRE
The Magnet Theatre’s Early Years Programme
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Winners each receive R15 000 and a silver medallion.
The 2022 Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards were audited by The Finance Man, with legal services provided by Cluver Markotter.