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FOOLS AWARDS 2005 (article first published : 2005-04-2)

The annual Fools Awards were held last night at the Catalina Theatre. This is the third year that the Durban-based publicity company, Copy Dog, has presented these awards which provide an opportunity for the public to go online and vote for their favourite KwaZulu-Natal artists. A wide selection of people from the arts community are invited to submit their choices in each category. These lists are then whittled down to those with the most votes and are loaded on to the Fools Award webpage at artslink/copydog. The voting is then thrown open to the public for three weeks. The number of votes this year almost quadrupled those of the previous two years and came not only from Durban but from around South Africa - and from as far afield as Managua, Nicaragua.

The award ceremony is held on April 1 to coincide with April Fool’s Day, as the Fools Awards are given in a spirit of light hearted celebration. While April Fools Day is a time for pranks and jokes, historically, in the world of courtly entertainment the “fool” is the purveyor of wise or penetrating comment, contained in the sophisticated guise of wit, a tradition echoed by today’s satirists.

The Fools Award trophy is a beautifully detailed jester’s stick, or Ninny Stick, designed by gifted Durban artist Wendy Nell. Wendy crafted each ninny stick in 2003 and 2004 by hand. This year Wendy Nell’s ninny sticks have been transformed and cast in bronze at Goodwin Foundry, making her previous design a collector’s item.

The General Section included Fashion Designer won by Terrence Bray; Visual Artist won by Andrew Verster- for the third year running; Radio Personality won by Devi Sankaree Govender who attracted the second highest number of votes overall; and Writer won by Daily News Tonight Arts Editor, Sally Scott.

In the Music Section, the awards went to Christopher Duigan (Classical Musician); Thekweni String Quartet (Classical Musical Group); Music Revival Durban Concert Series (Classical Music Production); Evan Roberts (Contemporary Musician – for the third year running); Burlesque Super Group (Contemporary Musical Group); The Playhouse Festive Season Extravaganza (Contemporary Music Production); Carol Trench (Female Singer), and Anthony Stonier (winning Male Singer by a vast majority of votes for the third time).

In the Dance Section, winners in the various categories were Quinton Ribbonaar (Male Dancer); MaryAnn de Wet (Female Dancer); David Gouldie (Choreography - for the third time running!); Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company (Dance Company) and Off Axis by the Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company (Dance Production).

The Theatre Section saw Lucy Wallace winning Breakthrough Actress for Hello & Goodbye and Bryan Hiles winning Breakthrough Actor for Cinderella. Costume design went to Terrence Bray (his second award of the evening) for Dangerous Liaisons; Set design to Greg King for Cinderella and Dangerous Liaisons and Lighting Design to Peter Court. Aladdin Trouble won best Poster Design. The Children’s Production award went to Boy Called Rubbish & Squawk. The award for Student Production went to Oliver! and Best Script to Aaron McIlroy & Sue Monteregge for Defending the Planet.

The Actress award went to Clare Mortimer for Aladdin Trouble, Dangerous Liaisons and Proof which marked Clare’s third win. She also scored the most votes of any nominee in any category this year: The Actor Award went to Greig Coetzee for Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny. Peter Court won the Director award for Compleat wrks of Wilm Shakspr (abridged) and Aladdin Trouble. The award for Theatre Production went to Nunsense.

Many voters submit their nominations along with comments about their favourite artist. The Charisma Award is given to an artist who has inspired the most upbeat responses and clearly enjoys the special support of enthusiastic fans. Winners of the Charisma Award were Josette Eales; Aaron McIlroy and Amra-Fay Wright. (As she is not based in South Africa, Amra-Fay is not eligible to be judged in the main award system)

The Impact Awards are not open to public vote and the winners are acknowledged for their role through the arts in helping to develop and sustain a whole society: Winners included Koos & Hantie Kruger for keeping alive the tradition of Afrikaans theatre with the Kollig Fees; The Playhouse Company for its annual Women’s Arts Festival and the spirit of liberation it embodies; well-known trumpeter Brian Thusi for a lifetime of devotion to fostering musical talent in the context of youth upliftment and community empowerment, and Jomba! – the contemporary dance festival - for providing an annual platform for a breathtaking cavalcade of creative dance.

An award known as The Smart Award created in honour of well-known Durban theatre personality, Caroline Smart, is given to an individual who has made and continues to make an outstanding contribution to the arts community. When identifying the recipient, the organisers look for people who have “made a difference” or who have “gone that extra mile” in their support of the arts. The recipient of this year’s award is Eben Otto from the Department of Arts and Culture KZN for his continued and pro-active support of the arts.

More information about the Fools Awards from Copy Dog on e-mail: copydog@artslink.co.za




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