MARIKANA – THE MUSICAL SWEEPS THE BOARDS AT NALEDI THEATRE AWARDS
Athol Fugard and Shaleen Surtie-Richards honoured while War Horse gets a special mention
Aubrey Sekhabi’s emotive production, Marikana – The Musical has swept the boards at the South African Naledi Theatre Awards.
For the first time since the inception of the prestigious awards, two performers – Jonathan Roxmouth and Brendan van Rhyn – shared the honours in the Best Performance Musical: Male category for their inspired roles in Call Me Lee and The Rocky Horror Show respectively.
Now in its 11th year, the Naledi Theatre Awards, sponsored by Auto & General and BASA, reflect the vibrant and diverse nature of the South African theatrical landscape and are the premier awards for theatre excellence in South Africa.
The big winner on the night was Marikana – The Musical, an emotive and heartfelt tribute to those who lost their lives during the mining strike at Lonmin. It took six awards in the categories Best Production of a Musical (the South African State Theatre), Best Director (Aubrey Sekhabi), Best Performance in a Musical: Female (Emma Mmekwa), Best Set Design (Wilhelm Disbergen), Best Score (McKenzie Matone, Zakhele Mabena and Aubrey Sekhabi) and Best Original Choreography (Thabo Rapoo).
At the glittering ceremony at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City, attended by the who’s who of the entertainment world, Paul Slabolepszy’s Pale Natives scooped three awards; Best Production of a Play (director Bobby Heaney), Best Supporting Actor (Antony Coleman) and Best Performance in a Play (Lionel Newton).
Awards were also given in the Best Musical Director category to Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and Stefan Lombard for their musical contribution to The Rocky Horror Show as the production also took awards in the Best Sound Design and Best Lighting Design categories for Akbar Khan and Daniel Galloway respectively.
Veteran playwright and actor Athol Fugard shone on the night with an award for Best New South African script for The Shadow of the Hummingbird, which he shared with co-writer Paula Fourie.
Neil Coppen’s inventive take on Animal Farm received the nod in the categories, Best Production for Young Audiences and Best Ensemble.
Shaleen Surtie-Richards was given a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to South African theatre in a career that has spanned more than 30 years.
There were stunning performances on the night from ShooWop Shop; the Vuyani Dance Company performed Full Moon and renowned performers Keith Smith, Timothy Moloi and Janelle Visagie (nominated for her role as Mother Superior) performed a moving rendition of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ from The Sound of Music.
PJ Powers (also a Naledi nominee) belted out ‘You are my World’ and Jonathan Roxmouth gave an impressive rendering of ‘Boogie Woogie’ from Call Me Lee. Up-and-coming star Michael Riff Themba performed the rollicking song ‘Happy’ from Peter Pan, and there was a spectacular segment from Swan Lake performed by the Joburg Ballet.
Masters of ceremonies on the night were popular TV presenter, poet and actress Lebo Mashile and South Africa’s most famous puppet Chester Missing. Newly crowned Miss South Africa 2015 Liesl Laurie also made an appearance while Mr South Africa Armand du Plessis and runner-up, Sibusiso Sibanda, brought on the trophies.
Celebrity presenters included Kgomotso Christopher and Jack Devnarain from Isidingo; Aubrey Poo, nominated for his performance in Marikana – the Musical; award winning director Sylvaine Strike; top TV celebrity Zuraida Jardine and Dali and Rachel Tambo.
The arrival of Topthorn from War Horse caused a sensation as he galloped onto the stage for his special World Impact Award, the first time that this has been given at the Naledi ceremony.
The gigantic horse puppet, operated by a team of talented puppeteers, was created by South Africa’s own Handspring Puppet Theatre who made all the puppets for the award-winning musical which has been a massive hit around the world.
The Naledi Awards are supported by Auto & General Insurance facilitated by Carolyn Steyn, BASA, Distell, DWR Lighting, DreamSets, the Market Theatre, the South African State Theatre and founder of Computicket, Percy Tucker.
Arts angel Carolyn Steyn said: “It is a privilege to be on the panel of judges and, to all of us, every nominee is a winner.”
Added Carl Louw, executive head of Auto & General Marketing: “Auto & General Insurance is delighted to be a part of the Naledi Theatre Awards and we applaud the outstanding home-grown talent for carrying the South African flag so proudly.”
The Naledi Awards will be shown on eKasi Open View Channel 105 on April 25 with a later transmission scheduled later in the year on SABC3.
The twitter handle is @naledi_official.
The full list of Naledi Award winners:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY/MUSICAL
Vanessa Cooke – Vigil
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY/MUSICAL
Antony Coleman – Pale Natives
BEST PRODUCTION FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES (Supported by Assitej SA):
Animal Farm – Directed by Neil Coppen
BEST NEWCOMER/BREAKTHROUGH (The Brett Goldin Award):
Zethu Dlomo – Have you seen Zandile?
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Floris Louw – Rainbow At Midnight
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Daniel Galloway – The Rocky Horror Show
BEST SET DESIGN
Wilhelm Disbergen – Marikana – The Musical
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Akbar Khan – The Rocky Horror Show
McKenzie Matome, Zakele Mabena and Aubrey Sekhabi – Marikana – The Musical
BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and Stefan Lombard – The Rocky Horror Show
THE SOPHIE MGCINA BEST EMERGING VOICE AWARD (Sponsored by the Market Theatre):
Khayelihle Dominique – Gumede
BEST PRODUCTION: CUTTING EDGE
A Human Being Died That Night – Directed by Jonathan Munby
BEST ENSEMBLE PRODUCTION
Animal Farm – Directed by Neil Coppen
BEST ORIGINAL CHOREOGRAPHY
Thabo Rapoo – Marikana – The Musical
Aubrey Sekhabi – Marikana – The Musical
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL: FEMALE
Emma Mmekwa – Marikana – The Musical
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL: MALE
Jonathan Roxmouth – Call Me Lee
Brendan van Rhyn – The Rocky Horror Show
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PLAY: FEMALE
Patricia Boyer – Cooking With Elisa
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PLAY: MALE
Lionel Newton – Pale Natives
BEST NEW SOUTH AFRICAN SCRIPT
The Shadow of The Hummingbird by Athol Fugard and Paula Fourie
BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
Pale Natives – Directed by Bobby Heaney
BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
Marikana – The Musical – Directed by Aubrey Sekhabi
LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT
WORLD IMPACT AWARD
War Horse and the puppet Joey – Handspring Puppet Company, RMB and Pieter Toerien