Fleur du Cap for Tamboerskloof resident

Kinky Boots won best costume design.

Tamboerskloof resident, Birrie le Roux, scooped the award for best costume design at the 55th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.

A digital announcement of winners in all award categories was made on Monday May 18 through the Facebook and Twitter pages of sponsor, Distell.

Ms Le Roux won the coveted award for her work on the Fugard Theatre’s South African premiere production of Kinky Boots.

She is a costume and production designer in both film and theatre, and was resident costume designer at the Fugard Theatre from 2016 to 2019.

Although she has a few awards under her belt, she said she’s grateful for the recognition of her work on Kinky Boots.

The production follows the story of Charlie Price who has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, Price & Son, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos.

Ms Le Roux said she had fun creating the wonderful bright-coloured costumes for the show, which also won five other Fleur du Cap awards last week, including best performance by a supporting actor in a musical or music theatre show for Tshepo Ncokoane; best performance by a supporting actress in a musical or music theatre show for Namisa Mdlalose; best performance by a lead actor in a musical or music theatre show for Earl Gregory; best set design for Paul Wills; and best production for Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for me and I had so much fun creating costumes for each character. One of the characters I enjoyed creating costumes for was Lola and the actor told me the costumes designs helped him in developing his character,” she said.

She said she struggled creating “normal” costumes designs because she wanted all the characters to be different. “I had to create designs for the six angels and I enjoyed that because I don’t do normal costumes,” she said.

Panel judging chairman Africa Melane said this year’s winners reflected a dynamic, healthy mix of emergent and established local talent.

“The tough economic times of recent years did not rob theatre and opera lovers of an exceptional quality of productions mounted. The panel and I were once again blown away by what was on offer, especially the new South African works. It demonstrates that talent will flourish regardless of the circumstances.”

This year’s Lifetime Achievement award honoured veteran playwright, director, actor and educator Fatima (Fatts) Dike. Summing up the panel’s comments, Melane said: “She has been instrumental in opening the doors of theatre to all. She educated herself in exile during the struggle, she defied and challenged the laws of segregation and she exposed the abomination of apartheid. We thank her for never abandoning her roots in Langa. Long may she continue to paint with words”.

Organisers also decided to replace the Fleur du Cap medallion awarded to Taliep Petersen in 1999. Won for Kat and the Kings as best contribution to a musical or revue, it had been stolen from the late composer’s family home in December.

Of the total of 59 productions were in the running for top honours in this year’s awards.

Some of the winners include:

Best performance by a lead actor in a musical or music theatre show: Earl Gregory in Kinky Boots

Best performance by a lead actress in a musical or music theatre show: Zolani Mahola in The One Who Sings

Best performance in an opera – male: Bongani Kubheka in La Serva Padrona

Best performance in an opera – female: Siphokazi Molteno in I Capuleti e I Montecchio

Best performance by lead actress in a play: Fiona Ramsay in The Glass Menagerie

Best performance by lead actor in a play: Alan Committie in Richard III

Best director: Mandla Mbothwe for G7: Okwe Bokhwe (Like/Of a Goat)

The judging panel, all respected experts in their fields, from critics to journalists, writers and drama educators, included Dr Beverley Brommert, Maurice Carpede, Marina Griebenow, Thabo Makgolo, Mariana Malan, Roxy Marosa, Dr Wayne Muller, Tracey Saunders, Lwando Scott and Hadley Titus, with Africa Melane as non-voting chairman.

Winners each receive R15 000 and a silver medallion.

Visit the Distell Facebook and Twitter pagesto view the announcement video.