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The celebrated Athol Fugard has been awarded a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre by the American Theatre Wing.

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From the Press Release: “The ceremony takes place in New York on Sunday 12 June 2011. The presentation of this prestigious award happens a week after the finish of the run of Fugard’s latest play The Birdwatchers, premiering at the Fugard Theatre on 12 May, with previews from the 10th. Fugard will be in South Africa to direct the world premiere of his latest theatrical offering, running at the Fugard Theatre in District Six, Cape Town, from 10 May to 4 June. It is produced and presented by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre. “The Bird Watchers was suggested by and is indebted to two defining friendships from my early years in theatre in South Africa, namely those with Barney Simon and Yvonne Bryceland,” said Fugard, who will be traveling to South Africa from his home in the USA next week. “It celebrates the memorable hours we spent watching birds and talking in the shade of the umGwenya tree at my home in the Eastern Cape Although the characters in the play are a Playwright, a Director and an Actress, the work itself is entirely fictional,” he added. The characters in the play are the passionate Garth (a “rough-around the edges” playwright), gentle-mannered Lenny (a director) and flamboyant Rosalyn (an actress). The cast consists of three of South Africa’s most formidable talents, Sean Taylor (as Garth), Dorothy Ann Gould (as Rosalyn) and Guy De Lancey (as Lenny). The Bird Watchers will be managed by the same creative team that delivered The Train Driver in 2010, which also saw the evergreen 79-year old Fugard direct a world-première of his own work in the theatre that carries his name. Lighting design is again by Mannie Manim, who has lit every one of Fugard’s plays, and costume and set design by Saul Radomsky Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre are delighted to announce that in celebration of Athol Fugard’s 80th birthday in 2012, The Road to Mecca and Master Harold and the Boys will be performed at the Fugard Theatre before transferring to London’s West End. Dates to be announced for these runs in 2012. Bookings for The Bird Watchers can be made on www.computicket.com, or by phoning the Fugard Theatre Box Office on 021 461 4554. Reserved seating. About the Fugard Theatre: The 270-seater Fugard Theater is located within the historic Sacks Futeran building in Cape Town’s District Six, with the renovated Congregational Church Hall in Caledon Street as its entrance. Construction of The Fugard Theatre was underwritten by its founding producer Eric Abraham, and is named in honour of Athol Fugard, South Africa’s greatest playwright. All seating is now reserved and can be booked on line at www.computicket.com or the box office on 021 461 4554. Those interested in the theatre should contact the Fugard Theatre General Manager Daniel Galloway on or Production and Marketing Associate Alicia Vincent-Price on .”

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