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NEW “NOT” AWARD (article first published : 1999-07-21)

The third Not the Grahamstown Festival, held at the Durban High School last month was acknowledged a resounding success and a project worth pursuing by all involved. This ambitious fledgling festival, co-ordinated by Durban actor Aldo Brincat, saw a bigger event this year with 14 productions run over seven days. Attendances came just short of the 1,000 mark which represents a steady increase on previous years' figures.

In opening the festival, change management consultant and one-time theatre critic and theatre manager, Ketan Lakhani spoke of the need for "human-ness" in an industry whose original raison d'etre has been negated over the years. It's original role to entertain has been challenged by the film industry and its role of communicating important events taken over by TV news networks and media giants. Needing to find a new reason for existence, the industry should refocus on the interpersonal communication - the human-ness of what we are doing. He sponsored a cash award of R500 to the person/s whose contribution to the festival displays real humanness and inspiration. The award will be known as The NOT Award.

Oganisers Aldo Brincat and Illa Thompson chose to split the award among two festival die-hards who have been an integral part in all three NOT the Grahamstown Festivals to date: Michael Broderick and Catherine Mace. Technical advisor Michael Broderick has sponsored and provided the staging, setting up the lighting rig himself and running the lights for every show without asking for public gratitude or acknowledgement. Quiet and unassuming, Catherine Mace constantly delivers challenging, thought-provoking and high-quality productions, which tackle relevant and contemporary issues. Both Michael and Catherine were considering leaving Durban to travel but have chosen to stay in Durban and cement their commitment to the future of the performing arts in this province. They become the joint first recipients of the NOT the Grahamstown Festival Inspiring Person Award.

The organisers also acknowledged Bongani Pillai Ngwenya for crossing cultural barriers and creating the festival's first Zulu/English -medium puppet show for children as well as Gear House and Production Projects for sponsoring the technical infrastructure.


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