A night of theatrical prowess aimed to celebrate stage excellence, the KENYA THEATRE AWARDS 2023 finally took place on Thursday the 23rd of February and it was nothing short of a success.
The ceremony’s 2nd Edition was held to honour outstanding Productions, Artists and the Legacy of practitioners who have become Icons while encouraging and celebrating a blend of Innovation and Excellence in theatre production.
Hosted by Brian Aseli and Kerry Kagiri, the event was attended by the Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts,Ababu Namwamba who has played a vital role in the recently formed Talanta Hela Institute.
As a way of keeping up to date with the theatrical progress in the country, this year’s Edition conducted a statistical analysis consisting of data which reflect the huge significance productions from the past year have had for the Theatre space. As announced by the Kenya Theatre Awards Chairman Fedari Oyagi, here are some of the statistics documented;
- 101 Theatre Companies present in Kenya
- 176 productions showcased last year
- The 176 productions were showcased 511 times last year and before the awards
- 85% of the productions showcased were watched by the jury
- 482 shows were done in Nairobi
- 80 productions created 2227 jobs
From a 1970’s inspired dance to a Fire and Ariel dance performance, the event was filled with electrifying performances from; Origins (1970’s inspired dance), Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Folk Song),Fire and Ariel dance by Misenda from KCA University and Ngaahika Ndeda inspired dance.
Celebrating stellar performances being the main goal,Ben Ngobia, the KTA Jury Chairperson clarified what is considered in making the nominees list, “Most of you ask, when we come to watch your shows what are we looking at? Basically, we’re looking at the stories you’re telling us, the scripting techniqui, the plots, the Acting, the Dialogues, Production Design. We’re looking at sound and lighting design, the spectacle on the stage that you’re presenting to us, we’re looking at the stage management and how the entire shows are produced because at the end of the day this is a professional award ceremony so we want to see the professionalism in these productions.”
The ceremony was defined by awarding the artists who left a mark in audiences hearts by their performances and also the brilliant work done by the crew members in their crucial departments. The winners of the Kenya Theatre Awards 2023 are as follows;
- Best Adaptation – The Manic Monologues
- Best Breakthrough Female Performer – Nyokabi Macharia
- Best Breakthrough Male Performer – Dadson Gakenga
- Best Children’s Play – Kesho Amahoro Youth Theatre Kenya
- Best Costume Design – Christina Baya and Philine Olesi (Mekatilili wa Menza)
- Best Dance Theatre Circus – Sarakasi Trust (Mother Nature)
- Best Director – Stuart Nash (I Will Marry When I Want/Ngahiika Ndeenda)
- Best Female Performance in a Solo Production – Dr. Zippy Okoth (Side Chic Wife)
- Best Kikwetu Production (Vernacular Shows) – Nairobi Performing Arts Studio (Ngahiika Ndeenda)
- Best Lighting Design – Alacoque Ntome (Mekatilili wa Menza)
- Best Male Performance in a Solo Production – Martin Kigondu (Supernova)
- Best Musical Score, Arrangement or Adaptation – Noah Akintade (I Will Marry When I Want/Ngahiika Ndeenda)
- Best Musical Theatre Production – Woodcreek School (Mekatilili wa Menza)
- Best Original Choreography in a Musical/Play – Sam Njenga Githongo (Mekatilili wa Menza)
- Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Play) – Clare Wahome (The Dying Need No Shoes)
- Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Monologue – Wakio Mzenge (The Manic Monologues)
- Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Play) – Nixsha Shah (Speak Their Names)
- Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Play) – Bilal Mwaura (I Will Marry When I Want/ Ngahiika Ndeenda)
- Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Monologue – Charles J Ouda (The Manic Monologues)
- Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Play) – Cyprian Osoro (Coast of Living)
- Best Playwright – Original Script – Martin Kigondu (Supernova)
- Best Producer – Stuart Nash (I Will Marry When I Want/Ngahiika Ndeenda)
- Best Production – Nairobi Performing Arts Studio
- Best Set Design – Lewis Kavoi Xavier and Jairo Obege (Mekatilili wa Menza)
- Best Sound Design – Ambrose Kimani (Supernova)
- Best Spoken Word Production – Mufasa For President- Mufasa Poet
- Best Stage Managed Production – Mercy Wangui (I Will Marry When I Want/Ngahiika Ndeenda)
- Best Stand Up Comedy Production – Astar Productions (Manmade Woman)
- Best Story – telling Production – Cmg Poshmedia (Something Must Kill A Man)
- Best Two-hander Production – Shorts From Africa (How to have an affair: A cheaters guide)
- Best University/ College Theatre Group – Kenyatta University
- Theatre Company of the Year – Heartsrings Entertainment
- Jury’s Special Award – Dance Into Space
- World Impact Award – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
- World Impact Award – Ogutu Muraya
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Annabel Maule
- Ushirika Award – Creative Arts Spaces in Kenya (CASiK)
Kenya Theatre Awards Winners 2023
In an effort to expand the Theatre space, the Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba gave a clear explanation of what the Talanta Hela Council stands for as far as art is concern which is to monetize the space so as to make Theatre a career worth pursuing for aspiring artists. The Cabinet Secretary also revisited the plan of renovating the Kenya National Theatre and reassured that it will commence soon.
The ceremony indeed accomplished it’s mission since Theatre has become a part of the conversation regarding Artistic growth.
Congratulations to all the winners and it’s all up to this year’s productions to take it up a notch so as to celebrate again next year for another 12 months of theatric excellence.
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