The 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Awards for performances at the National Arts Festival have been announced. With more than 100 productions premiering on the Fringe at the 2018 National Arts Festival, this year’s winners of the Standard Bank Ovation Awards have emerged as being among the best of the best. The awards recognise stand out performances, innovation as well as successful challenges to the boundaries of creativity and were announced at a ceremony at the National Arts Festival on Saturday night, 7 July 2018.
“From the solo performers, carrying their set in a hold-all, to the epic four-dozen strong cast of the Amandla Danca Teatro ZA company for EMATHONGENI, with their van laden with instruments and costumes, the Fringe had it all and continues to be the largest platform in South Africa for artists to share their wealth of talent and audiences to bask in the magic and wonder of it all,” says Tracey Saunders, convenor of this year’s awards.
Saunders works with a panel who, between them, see almost every new production on the Festival Fringe. “As has been evident in recent years, the Fringe reflects the zeitgeist of the nation and one was left with very little doubt that we are a country reeling under the tyranny of male violence and sexual assault. Theatre and even dance productions addressed these themes, some more successfully than others. There were those who simply mirrored our society back at us, an uncomfortable experience for 60 minutes in a darkened theatre. Others presented causes, motives and possible solutions and one walked out of the venue with a faint glimmer of hope.”
Since the awards’ inception in 2010, there have been 167 Standard Bank Ovations awarded, with the majority of those – 105, in fact – being for theatre. A total of 57 Silver awards and only 17 Golds have been awarded.
2018 Standard Bank Ovation Awards – Gold
This year’s Gold Ovation Winners reflect the success of art forms that fall outside the traditional definitions of theatre, says Saunders.
In J BOBS LIVE, Jefferson Tshabalala presents “a game show style, interactive, hilarious and thought-provoking event, which encourages self-reflection and a deeper appreciation of the challenges that South Africans face”.
MEDUMO YA BORWA celebrated the history of the monarchy in a feast of song and dance with an aesthetic that made use of South African traditional attire, and SULLIED (pictured above left), which although primarily a dance piece, wove poetry and spoken word in between the carefully choreographed movements, stitched with pain and wrapped in kangas.
This year, the student work that was staged alongside other Fringe productions held its own and a number of works presented by recent alumni of tertiary institutions were deeply satisfying and highly entertaining.
“While awards are essentially a subjective measure of an art form which is essentially immeasurable, they are not infallible. But given the continued success of various award winners over the years, the Ovations are as a reliable predictor as any of who and what to watch,” said Saunders.
Gold Standard Bank Ovation Award winners
MEDUMO YA BORWA (The best African Song and Dance thriller)
J. BOBS LIVE: OFF THE RECORD – Jefferson Tshabalala (pictured right)
SULLIED – Kirsti-Leigh Gresse
Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award winners
BLUE PERIOD OF MILTON VAN DER SPUY – Hexagon Theatre
THE REVLON GIRL – Search for Productions
EMATHONGENI – Amandla Dança Teatro ZA
MARENE – Marene
Standard Bank Ovation Winners
DECEPTIVE DELIGHTS WITH STUART LIGHTBODY – Stuart Lightbody
GARY THOMAS: MOODSHIP – Gary Thomas
GASLIGHT – Laine Butler
I’M HIV AND LIVING – Thando Mbulelo Mbanjwa
LETTERS WITH MA’SISULU – FMA-Neo Motsatse
MEDUSA INCARNATE – Kate Pinchuck in collaboration with The Furies
PHOKWANE CHRONICLES – Galeshewe Theatre Organisation
SAINTHOOD – Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni
SILKWORM – Contagious
THE DEAD CHANT IN DEATH – Tshwane University of Technology
THE ISLAND – Paxinos Productions & CYBTT
TSWALO – Theatreduo
UNONO OBUYILE – Lumunyano Dance Group
Standard Bank Ovation Encore Awards recognise merit and potential in works that can be developed.
BEST FRIENDS/WORST ENEMIES
LOVE IN THE TIME OF REVOLUTION
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
SATANIC DAGGA ORGY
DEVILS AT A DEAD END
2018 Standard Bank Ovation Awards Panel
Tracey Saunders (convenor), Alon Nashman, Amelda Brand, Andrew Mulenga, Gopala Davies, Greg MacArthur, Hugo Theart, Kiroshan Naidoo, Lesego Chauke, Luvuyo Yanta, Marcus Desando, Motlatji Ditodi, Namisa Mdlalose, Octavian Siau, Phemelo Helleman, Rafiek Mammon, Reggie Danster, Temba Ncetani and Thulani Nongogo.
What: 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Awards
Where and when: National Arts Festival 2018 in Grahamstown from 28 June to 8 July 2018
Visit: National Arts Festival