Lifetime Tony Award for Athol Fugard

6 June 2011

Celebrated South African playwright Athol Fugard will receive a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre at the 2011 Tony Awards in New York on Sunday.

Making the announcement earlier this year, the Tony Awards committee described Fugard as a playwright “whose art has always spoken out against racism and who continues to be an active voice for freedom and equality”.

Over the years, Fugard has received six Tony nominations, including four for Best Play, for Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island (1975), A Lesson from Aloes (1982), Master Harold and The Boys (1982) and Blood Knot (1986).

The presentation of the prestigious award comes a week after the finish of the run of Fugard’s latest play The Bird Watchers at Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre.

Fugard Classic Film Tribute

The Fugard Theatre is marking the Lifetime Achievement Tony Award for the man it is named after with a week of classic films based on the playwright’s works, from 7 to 11 June.

All screenings start at 8pm, and hot soup, garlic bread, wine and a warm atmosphere awaits patrons at The Fugard, which has recently been fitted out with new cinema-style seats and cinema-quality projection and surround sound systems. The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday 7 June: Boesman and Lena directed by Ross Devenish and starring Athol Fugard and Yvonne Bryceland (1974).

Wednesday 8 June: Marigolds in August directed by Ross Devenish and starring Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona (1979).

Thursday 9 June: The Guest directed by Ross Devenish and starring Athol Fugard (1976).

Friday 10 June: The Road to Mecca directed by Athol Fugard and Peter Goldsmid and starring Academy award-winner Kathy Bates, Athol Fugard and Yvonne Bryceland (1992).

Saturday 11 June: Tsotsi directed by Gavin Hood – 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

In celebration of Fugard’s 80th birthday in 2012, new productions of The Road to Mecca and Master Harold and the Boys will be performed at the Fugard Theatre before transferring to London’s West End.

Half a century of theatre

Born in Middelburg in 1932, Athol Fugard has been working in the theatre as a playwright, director and actor since the mid-fifties in South Africa, England and the United States.

His plays include The Train Driver, No-Good Friday, Non-Gogo, Blood Knot, Hello and Goodbye, People Are Living There, Boesman and Lena, Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, Dimetos, The Island, A Lesson From Aloes, Master Harold and the Boys, The Road to Mecca, A Place With the Pigs, My Children! My Africa!, Playland, Valley Song, The Captain’s Tiger, Sorrows & Rejoicings, Exits and Entrances, Victory and Coming Home.

He has been on stage in South Africa, London, Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatres in the US.

Film credits include The Road to Mecca, Gandhi, The Killing Fields, Meeting with Remarkable Men, Marigolds in August, Boesman and Lena and The Guest.

He has written one novel, Tsotsi, a film version of which was made in South Africa and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, as well as the Michael Powell Award and the Standard Life Audience Award at the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival, the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, and the Audience Award at the Los Angeles AFI Film Festival.

SAinfo reporter

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