We did it!! Again!!

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Awards, Industry Thoughts, Special

At a time when so much has been going on in FTH:K’s life, when we are planning tours and performances and festivals and managing national/international expansion, we were gobsmacked to receive the 2011 Fleur du Cap Award for Innovation in Theatre! Literally, (forgive the deep irony) speechless!

We are all feeling so honoured today, if not a little woozy from the celebratory champers, for being recognised as a group who has brought “exceptional originality and creativity to theatre in the Western Cape”. When presenting us with the award, Fleur du Cap judge, Gillian Mitchell, said that FTH:K has “shifted notions of inclusivity and created works of imagination and emotional empathy that have charmed and exhilarated audiences both locally and internationally.” Wow. Just…wow.

We are seriously humbled to hear that. It’s hard not to think back on the past 7 years with an element of disbelief at times like this. So often we are so involved in our juggling act, from dreaming to planning to fundraising to implementing to touring…just focussing on keeping those balls in the air, that we forget to look around and see the broader effects of what we are achieving. Has it really been 7 years?? There are times when we still feel like that little company staggering to its feet, looking around wide-eyed at the very big SA arts environment; so when things like this happen, it takes us by surprise. We almost expect to blink and realise that we misheard, that the award was actually for someone else. But it wasn’t. It was for us. And as we stop and look back at how far we have come, we are reminded of Michael Kaiser’s words that state a hard truth: not in a day; not without failure; not without discipline. But if you can stomach these things, and if, consistently, you can make good art that is well-marketed, there is no end to what you can achieve. Even for a little Deaf and hearing theatre company on the deep south of the African continent.

Arts funding in SA is always a challenge and it is important to take the time to thank those organisations who continue to put their money where their mouth is in supporting the arts. We have so few platforms in SA on which to recognise artistic success and Distell, the FDC judges, and all the various organisations that come together to make this event happen annually should be commended for doing so. Sure, some people had issues with things at this year’s ceremony. I’m sure the organisers will be happy to hear those opinions voiced in a constructive way to help them make the ceremony better or more relevant next year; but these issues shouldn’t be managed in a way that makes the winners feel dirty for having won. That’s just uncool all round.

FTH:K knows it couldn’t have done any of what it does without a host of supporters. As CEO, Ana Lemmer, said on receiving the award: “We are honoured to have received this award and are tingling with pride. In the seven years of our existence, we have embarked on an incredible journey, having had the chance to work with stellar collaborators and gained the trust of Deaf communities in the Western Cape and South Africa. None of what we have achieved would have been possible without our supporters and we take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to our sponsors, to our creative co-conspirators, to our trainees and to the Deaf communities that have accepted us into their fold”.

So, to all our supporters, from the greater FTH:K Family, from Cape Town to Grahamstown to Washington DC, we salute you! This award is for us all.

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