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ACT AWARDS (article first published : 2005-11-14)

Now in its seventh year, the Annual Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Awards is an established event on the arts and culture calendar. Since 1998 the ACT Awards have recognised more than 70 winners and 250 finalists - all outstanding individuals, organisations and agencies who support, sustain, promote and develop artistic creativity. Among the contenders are KZNs nominees, arts administrator Nicky du Plessis and Pheduka Dance Theatre.

The ACT Awards for 2005 are presented in association with Nedbank and Tonight with YFM as the official radio partner in Gauteng and Fine Music Radio 101.3 as the official radio partner in Cape Town.

"There are no other awards like these in South Africa, says ACT Events Co-ordinator Justine Alston. They recognise people who have an important supportive role to play in the development of arts and culture, rather than the more obvious producers of the arts.

The judging panel who scored nominations submitted by the public are award-winning author Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane; Yasmine Colley of the Company Gardens in Cape Town; Raeesa Mohammed of Lotus FM; poet and playwright Kobus Moolman from Pietermaritzburg and Adrienne Sichel, senior performing arts critic at The Star Tonight. Judges' scores were independently audited by Quartermaster Financial Services and the finalists in alphabetical order for each category are:

ACT ADMINISTRATOR AWARD 2005: Nicolette du Plessis (Durban), a freelance consultant in arts and culture, who has a sound knowledge and appreciation of most arts disciplines and has managed a range of different cultural projects both in South Africa and abroad; Dawn Lindberg (Gauteng) who is a theatre producer, director, entertainer, artist and administrator with 40 years of experience as a theatre practitioner and who has been secretary and treasurer of the Theatre Managements of South Africa (TMSA) for 11 years and convenor of the Naledi Awards for three years, and Noel McDonald (Gauteng) who is an experienced actor, director and administrator as well as a skilled public relations officer and fund-raiser who has won numerous awards and been associated with the South African National Community Theatre Association (SANCTA) for ten years.

ACT PUBLICIST AWARD 2005 sponsored by the Transnet Foundation: Gilly Hemphill (Stellenbosch) for the Famous Idea Trading Company which has been involved in promoting and publicising the arts and community arts projects for a number of years including the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown for four years where the level of publicity for the festival has increased substantially during this time and Vanessa Perumal (Gauteng) for JT Communication Solutions whose excellent quality and delivery have seen her projects take centre stage in all mediums from billboards to front page articles and breaking news on radio and television. All projects undertaken have demonstrated national significance to the development of South Africa's arts and culture environments.

ACT JOURNALIST AWARD 2005 sponsored by Sun International: Janine Erasmus (Gauteng) who is a skilled writer well-informed about her target market who has contributed to the reputation, growth and standing of CLASSICfeel Magazine and Desklink Media by producing appealing, informative and accurate articles and Robyn Sassen (Gauteng) who is a freelance writer for a range of online and print publications including the SA Jewish Report, Artslink, Artthrob and Art SA whose body of work demonstrates competence, skills and knowledge of her chosen subjects.

ACT MEDIA AWARD 2005: SA Fusion (Gauteng), a fresh and stylish magazine which also serves as an informative educational tool and believes in creating a platform for the South African entertainment and arts industry, while showcasing emerging South African artists in the entertainment, art and film industries; CLASSICfeel (Gauteng) magazine which has maintained a consistent level of quality in both content and design, growing in content, look and feel to conform to the ever-changing developments and to retain its relevance as the local arts and culture scene has grown and evolved; Supastage (Gauteng) promotes arts and culture on both professional and amateur levels, covering all aspects of the performing arts including music, opera, ballet, dance, pop and rock music, theatre, cabaret and children's theatre.

ACT ARTS EDUCATION PROJECT AWARD 2005 sponsored by the MTN Foundation: Drama School at the Market Theatre Laboratory (Gauteng) which caters for historically disadvantaged youth by offering a two-year course in theatre skills. It has a high success-rate with 80% of> graduates obtaining employment in the industry upon graduation; National Children's Theatre Trust (NCTT or formerly Johannesburg Youth Theatre Trust - Gauteng) which harnesses quality, interactive children's theatre to stimulate the growth of literacy, life skills, arts and culture and communication among South African youth audiences placing strong emphasis on enriching children in economically disadvantaged areas through free access to theatre arts experiences and the South African Schools Festivals of English, Drama and the Arts (Grahamstown) which stimulate self-awareness, creativity, critical thinking, positive attitudes and host of other important life skills thus developing support for the South African arts industry by encouraging young people to become enthusiastic arts supporters.

ACT CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT 2005 sponsored by the Distell Foundation: Dance for All (DFA - Cape Town) which runs an outreach programme of daily dance classes in ballet, African, contemporary, musical theatre, tap and jazz for 500 children in Gugulethu, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Athlone and Barrydale and, more than just teaching dance the classes help each child develop and grow beyond a physical level; from the hip: Khulumakahle (FTH:K - Cape Town) prepares deaf and hearing learners for entrance into both the professional industry and the company itself through the ground-breaking "Tell-Tale Signs Project" which includes schools training programmes as well as programmes that are designed to facilitate the integration of deaf learners into the South African performing arts, and Total Sibikwa Community Theatre Play Competition (Gauteng) which develops local talent in dance and drama by working with existing performance groups and moulding their work to raise the overall standard. In doing so they heighten cultural awareness in Ekurhuleni.

MOST SUCCESSFUL ACT-FUNDED PROJECT AWARD 2005: Dance Factory Youth Training Programme (Gauteng) which runs for 20 hours a week, offers free dance training dance to 46 young people aged between 7 and twenty who receive technical training across a variety of dance disciplines from leading dance educators and choreographers resulting in a training programme at the cutting edge of contemporary international trends and methods; Phenduka Dance Theatre (PDT - Durban) offers creative aspects such as choreographic workshops to stimulate exchanges of opinions and ideas drawn from the wide range of participants and facilitators and members of the training programme are predominantly from economically disadvantaged communities and serve as role-models for other young people regardless of their socio-economic background; UCT Drama Residency (Cape Town) provides an opportunity for highly skilled black theatre practitioners to provide role models for the student body; to influence the aesthetic of the work produced by the department and to bring a strong black African perspective to current debate and working methods.

The ACT Lifetime Achievement Award 2005 sponsored by the Vodacom Foundation will be announced at the official awards ceremony will take place at the Forum at the Campus in Bryanston on November 17. The ceremony will be directed by Neville Engelbrecht with performance poet Lebohang Mashile as MC supported by David April of Moving Into Dance who will be performing at the event and Chan Marti of Isidingo fame.




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