Convenor of the awards panel, Adrienne Sichel, described the work presented on the Fringe at this year’s festival as “refreshingly diverse”.
“I was impressed with the diversity, and aesthetics within the works”, Sichel said, but warned artists to keep their honesty and to beware of self-censorship.
“The Standard Bank Ovation awards provide a valuable incentive for artists on the festival’s fringe programme to strive for excellence, experiment with innovation and to challenge and shift the boundaries of creativity,” said Ismail Mahomed, the festival’s artistic director.
This year, two Gold Ovation awards were presented. Undone was described as “breathtakingly inventive”, while 2014 Sama award nominee Mogorosi performed his debut jazz album for the first time in Grahamstown. Silver Ovation Awards for theatre were presented to The Ballad of Dirk de Bruin, Whistle Stop, Miss Ever’s Boys, What the Water Gave Me and Siembamba.
In the music genre, Silver Ovations were awarded to Guy Buttery and Gareth Gale and Trio with a Twist. Comedian Sne Dladla scooped a Silver Ovation for his show The Joke’s on You.
In the performance art genre, Gavin Krastin’s provocative performance in #Omnomnom won him a Silver Ovation Award to add to his bouquet of Ovation Awards won in previous years.
Rat Western and Wesley Deintje also received a Silver Ovation for Machine for Living. Piet se Optelgoed received a Silver Ovation in the physical theatre genre.
In the family fare genre, introduced for the first time at the festival, a Silver Ovation was awarded to A Man Called Rolex.
Ovation Encore Awards which recognises merit and potential in works that can be developed were presented to Robbie Collins for That Bushman’s Crazy and to the Actors Unemployed Company for The Erl King.
A Special Merit Ovation award was awarded to Emsini. The Standard Bank New Voices Ovation Award introduced this year to recognise sparks of gems on the fringe was awarded to Giving Birth to my Father.
The Adelaide Tambo Award – a new award – for celebrating human rights through the arts was awarded jointly to The Bram Fischer Waltz and Cold Case: Revisiting Dulcie September.
The Standing Ovation Award was presented to Thembi Mtshali-Jones for her illustrious career at the festival and in recognition of a lifetime of creative energy in South Africa’s cultural life spanning over four decades.
The festival’s Short Sharp Stories competition has seen the publication of some of the best submissions in a book entitled Adults Only.
The winner of this year’s competition for the best story was awarded to Nick Mulgrew.