Numerous awards for St Stithians College at dramatic arts festival

LYME PARK – The school entered four productions and won six awards in total.

St Stithians Boys’ College and Girls’ College walked away with numerous awards for their productions at the Festival of Excellence in Dramatic Arts (Feda), held annually in May.

The boys’ college received 10 nominations and took home awards for Best Set Design, Best Choice of Music (Connor Skinner), shared Best Actor (Vuyolwethu Khuluse and Brandon Ibeneme) and Best Production for their production of The Champion.

The Champion is a painful telling of a young man struggling with domestic violence at home, which complicates his desire to become a champion boxer. The play competed with 58 others and was selected as a finalist as the only published work; the other four finalists were originals Wors.

The other nominations included Best Supporting Actor (Qhawelihle Nyembe), Best Supporting Actor (Tumiso Mabetoa), Best Production Design (Andile Khuluse), Best Soundscape and Best Director. Ismail Mohamed, the adjudicator and CEO of The Market Theatre, said during the awards ceremony on 25 May, “Tonight’s winning production was slick and beautifully produced. It is ready to move into any of our theatres.”

The Girls’ College entered three original works into the festival this year. Anesu Mugadza, who wrote the play Why am I here? used the platform as an opportunity to better understand different xenophobic experiences and recreate them in a truthful way.

Mbali Gumbi and Remo Morwe perform in Why Am I Here? Photo: Supplied

Thobile Mthimkhulu began working on her play The Darker Side of Light in 2017 and said that the idea for the play came to her when a friend was discussing a story she had heard in the media. “It was about how women feel safer in prison than in their hostile domestic environments. This really impacted me and made me consider how dysfunctional our society is that women would rather stay in prison.” Thobile’s play received two nominations for Best Actress (Nikita Jacobs) and Best Supporting Actress (Niike Neervoort) and received one award for Best Male Cameo (Thato Bernardo).

Jemma Jenkins-Ferrett’s play I Am was a response to a topic that had been close to her heart since 2016. “Fezekile Kuzwayo’s story has stayed with me since I first read she passed away 3 years ago. Through Feda, I was able to devise a play from scratch with the help of an incredible cast, dedicated production designer Gabriella Jack, and the support of the most amazing drama teacher, Mrs Henning.”

The cast and crew of The Darker Side of Light prepare for their performance. Photo: Supplied

Jemma’s play received four nominations for Best Actress (Thando Zwane), Best Production Design, Most Inspirational Play and Best Chorus and won the award for Best Mask Work.

Taryn Henning, the head of dramatic arts at the Girls’ College, said, “This journey has been long and challenging, but the lessons learnt have been profound. We must never underestimate how extraordinary young people are today. We must celebrate their authenticity, courage and tenacity, and Feda is the best platform for such work.”

Details: St Stithians College 011 577 6000.

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