The organisers of the annual township-based Ibumba International Festival have unveiled awards to honour artists who would have performed exceptionally well throughout the festival for the first time in its 13th year history.
The festival runs from the December 15 to 22 under the theme “Live Out Loud”.
Simon Mambazo Phiri, the festival director, said they found it fit to give back to the community (of artists) that has supported the festival in the past editions.
“The original idea was to create the awards as a method to encourage premieres at the festival, but along the way after consultations with the festival team and some friends of the festival, the awards were dedicated to maintaining and, where necessary, raising the standard of performing arts in the country and beyond,” said Phiri.
He added that the awards were meant to support young artists and develop their creative leadership skills.
Phiri said the festival worked to establish a strong technical foundation combined with an understanding of professional theatrical presentation.
The awards have been put in three categories, Wild Card and Outstanding and Best New Production.
The Wild Card award is unique in that winners are determined by the audience, who then vote before vote verification by a panel of judges.
“This is meant to give the artist confidence as they (the winners) will then know that their product is well accepted by the consumer.
This award is open to unknown artists as well as established artists.
“The audience will vote at the gigs and also online,” said Phiri.
The Best New Production award will honour producers and directors of new work that is outstanding and shows talent and uniqueness.
“It is open to new acts that have not featured in previous editions of the festival.
The Outstanding Performer Award will go to an act that would have stood out and have been deemed worthy of recognition by the judges, who will be drawn from the media community.
The winners will walk away with certificates, hampers and cash.
“We also hope to use that platform to help sell the same winners to other festivals as Hifa, Grahamstown and Edinburgh as we are in the process of formulating strategic partnerships with those organisations,” said Phiri.