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DURBAN THEATRE AWARDS WINNERS (article first published : 2007-11-27)

At a glitzy glamorous evening last night, the 5th annual theatre awards ceremony of The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre honoured top achievements for the last judging year.

My Fair Lady from The Playhouse Company swept the boards with no less than 12 awards including Best Musical Theatre Production. Design awards went to Artwork Communications (Poster); Gail Muir (Sound); Mike Broderick (Lighting), and Neil Stuart-Harris (Costume). In the Musical Theatre & Music Revue category, the choreography award went to Mark Hawkins while Frank Graham and Themi Venturas jointly won Supporting Actor. Vera Clare won Supporting Actress. Carol Trench and Ralph Lawson took the Lead Actress and Lead Actor honours and Graham Scott won the Musical Director award. Steven Stead won the Best Musical Theatre Director’s award.

Also from The Playhouse Company came Master Class which won best Drama/Comedy Director for Ralph Lawson. For her performance in Master Class , Clare Mortimer won the award for Drama/Comedy Lead Actress jointly presented to Alison Cassels (The Road to Mecca).

All in all, it was an sweeping success for Steven Stead both in his personal capacity as an actor and director as well as joint-owner of the KickstArt theatre company. KickstArt also had The Mystery of Irma Vep and The Road to Mecca vying for awards in the Drama/Comedy category with Sleeping Beauty and The Jungle Book in the Children’s Theatre category.

In The Road to Mecca; Alison Cassels won Drama/Comedy Lead Actress jointly with Clare Mortimer ( Master Class). The Supporting Actor award was presented to Thomie Holtzhausen.

The Mystery of Irma Vep won Best Drama/Comedy Production and garnered Soundtrack Design for Tim Pullen and Steven Stead with Set Design for Greg King. For their virtuoso performances in this production, Michael Gritten and Steven Stead jointly won Performance in a Comedy by a Male as well as Lead Actor.

In the Children’s Theatre category Jungle Book received Supporting Actress and Actor respectively for Belinda Henwood and Michael Gritten while Steven Stead received the Children’s Theatre Director award. KickstArt’s Sleeping Beauty won the Children’s Theatre Production award as well as the Actress Award for Clare Mortimer and the Actor Award for Darren King.

Other awards included New Performer – Female to Samantha Govender for Bad Girls do go to Heaven; and New Performer – Male to Iain Ewok Robinson for Spitfire – The Return of the Red-I. Upasana Beharee won the Supporting Actress Award for Spice ‘n Stuff. There were no nominations for the award for Performance in a Comedy by a Female.

Neil Coppen was presented with the award for New South African Script for Tin Bucket Drum and Ntando Cele won the newly-created Solo Performance award for her role in this production.

The award for Music Revue Production went to Book Club from Gary McKenzie.

The Mercury Personality of the Year Award went to Aaron McIlroy. The Judges Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at the discretion of the judges, was presented to veteran director and actor Garth Anderson.

The Durban Theatre Awards gratefully acknowledges the support of The Mercury, Bartel Arts Trust, The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, RoyalSechaba Food Services, Business and Arts South Africa, Essenwood Craft Market, Troubadour Productions, DarkHorse Productions, Stuart Edwards & Co, Annarosa's Dress Up, Black Coffee, All That Glitters, ClaviTech, Going Places, Distell, Durban Theatre Diary, Publicity Matters, Sunshine Factory. Booking through Computicket.




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