While the local film sector has long had its own gala evening in the shape of the Lëtzebuerger Filmpräis, the theatre has been something of a poor relation in terms of national awards. Until now, that is. The first Lëtzebuerger Theaterpräisser ceremony took place on Friday 17 September. The awards were presented together with the Lëtzebuerger Danzpräis at a gala ceremony at the Théâtre des Capucins, attended by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and minister of culture Sam Tanson (déi Gréng). The evening was directed by Fábio Godinho and presented by storyteller Betsy Dentzer, who contributed to the euphoric atmosphere of the evening with familar panache, humour and efficiency.
The Theaterpräisser awards are intended to be biennial and are based on a recommendation of the Kulturentwécklungsplang 2018-2028 (the cultural development plan) to “establish an award system that highlights cultural and artistic creations”. This has been a long-standing demand of the sector, which is now finally being realised, as the president of the Theater Federatioun, Claude Mangen, and Sam Tanson enthusiastically pointed out.
In addition to the honorary recognition, the four prizes awarded on this occasion each carry a financial reward, and the honorees were also presented with a necklace of golden clapping hands designed by Anne-Marie Herckes.
The National Theaterpräis (€10,000) was awarded to playwright, director and theatre manager Frank Feitler in the form of a "Lifetime Achievement Award" that received rapturous applause. The Theaterpräis - Op der Bün (for on stage performance, worth €4,500) went to Marie Jung and François Camus for their work in La Peste. The Theaterpräis - Hannert der Bün (backstage, also worth €4,500) went to Anouk Schiltz, set and costume designer for a range of plays, including Truckstop, Ivanov, The Hothouse and Le Poisson Belge. Finally, the Theaterpräis - Nowuesstalent dedicated to emerging talent (€3,500) was awarded to Catherine Elsen, a versatile designer and actress who is currently on tour internationally...
In the field of dance, Elisabeth Schilling was honoured with the Lëtzebuerger Danzpräis (€10,000), also awarded every two years. In addition to her talents as a dancer and choreographer, Schilling was also awarded for her work as a curator, coordinator of several publications, teacher and educator.
The jury for the Lëtzebuerger Theaterpräisser consisted of Vesna Andonovic (critic), Nickel Bösenberg (actor), Josée Hansen (head of literature and theatre at the ministry of culture), Claude Mangen (president of the Theater Federatioun) and Sarah Rock (dramaturge).
The jury for the Lëtzebuerger Danzpräis included Jill Crovisier (winner of the Lëtzebuerger Danzpräis 2019), Anouk Wies (head of cultural programming at Cercle-Cité), Marie-Laure Rolland (freelance journalist), Ivan-Vincent Massey (director of the Grand Studio in Brussels) and Raymond Weber (former national and international culture official).
To close the ceremony with a humorous touch, Claude Mangen surprised the audience by declaring his belief in the acting potential of HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and then by giving her a Federation bag containing all the new programmes of its members.