The 2016 Naledi Theatre Awards
Sister Act Set at Naledi Theatre Awards

Taking place at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City on Tuesday 19 April 2016

‘This year, we have the highest standard of excellence ever,’ says Executive Director, Dawn Lindberg. ‘So much so that we have introduced four new categories: Best Director of a Musical, Best Support/Featured Performance in a Musical and Best Performance in a Production for Children’s Theatre. The fourth new category is in keeping with the new technology involved in design of sets: Best AV/Animation.’ To help the judges to assess this new category, a ‘Techie Training’ session was held at the Market Theatre Laboratory last year, where experts in the fields of lighting, sound and set design as well as directing, were invited to share some of their techniques and vision. This will now become an annual event for judges and students of theatre design.

The judging panel has been expanded by six new judges, each chosen after extensive research following the highly successful forum held last year to ascertain suggestions and input from the industry as to how to improve and develop the awards’ modus operandi. The new judges started assessing productions from January 2015.

The panel now consists of:

The 2016 Naledi Awards
2016 Naledi Awards Nominee Sharon Spiegel-Wagner
  • Annelize Hicks;
  • Dorianne Alexander;
  • Ferosa Marais;
  • Fiona Gordon;
  • Gregory Goss;
  • Helen Heldenmuth;
  • Jenni Newman;
  • Johan van der Merwe;
  • Lance Maron;
  • Maishe Maponya;
  • Mandla Motau;
  • Matthew Counihan;
  • Peter Feldman;
  • Renos Spanoudes;
  • Rudi Sadler;
  • Sandile Mabaso;
  • Tiffany Courthenay Higgo; and
  • Welcome Msomi.

All are passionate and informed theatre goers and include drama teachers, theatre critics, practitioners, academics and producers. New sponsors for award categories include ROBE and DWR Lighting Distribution, who are sponsoring lighting and sound respectively. In addition, ROBE and DWR are offering an all-expenses-paid-trip to Prague for the winner of Best Lighting Design to visit the ROBE factory and attend special workshops.

Other category sponsors include Dreamsets (Best Set Design); Distell (Best Newcomer/Breakthrough); the Market Theatre, which sponsors the Best Emerging Voice Award for young directors and theatre makers of exceptional talent and ‘we are thrilled that our Arts Angel, Carolyn Steyn will sponsor the Joan Brickhill Award for Best Production of a Musical,’ adds Lindberg. Support funding from BASA and Mzansi Golden Economy has also been received, while funding from National Lottery Commission and the Gauteng DAC is still to be confirmed. The Naledi Theatre Awards will once again be shown on SABC3 on Thursday 5 May at 20:30 with a repeat on Friday 6 May at 14:00.

‘Our entertainment line-up is also very special,’ says Lindberg. ‘For the first time we have the full Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company, conducted by Eddie Clayton. All music has been specially arranged for the event and singers will perform to live music. Entertainment includes Candida Mosoma from Sister Act; Sharon Spiegel Wagner from I’m Playing Your Song; Lelo Ramasimong, Chantal Herman and Dionne Song from Little Shop of Horrors; and Somizi Mhlongo of Idols fame… Nominee and multiplewinner Jonathan Roxmouth will be performing a spoof from Sweeney Todd together with fellow nominee, Charon Williams-Ros and Timothy Moloi will perform “The Impossible Dream”.

The 2016 Naledi Theatre Awards
2016 Naledi Awards Nominees including Phillip M Dikotla, Thabo Rametsi, Kayelihle Dom Gumede, Atandwa Kani, Phillip Tindisa, Renos Spanoudes.

‘The host is Mark Banks and celebrity presenters include Nataniel; Tobie Cronje; Maps Maponyane; Tema Sebopedi and Motlatsi Mafatshe from Isidingo; Robert Whitehead; Terence Bridgett and other luminaries from stage and television. Expect sparks to fly!’ Fishers of Hope proves to have had a highly successful 2015 run, with nominations for Lesedi Job (Best Lead Performance in a Play – Female); Mncedisi Shabangu (Best Lead Performance in a Play – Male); Phillip M Dikotla, Phillip Tipo Tindisa and Shaun Oelf for Best Supporting Actor; The Baxter Theatre Centre and Mopo Productions in association with the State Theatre (Best Production of a Play); Lara Foot (Best New SA Script) and many more.

Atandwa Kani and Sylvaine Strike have received nominations for Black and Blue for Best Lead Performance in a Play – Male and Best Lead Performance in a Play – Female respectively. Respected actress Fiona Ramsay is nominated for Best Lead Performance in a Play for both Miss Dietich Regrets and Doubt. Hinterland too received multiple nominations: Caroline Smart for Best Director of a Play, Duncan Buwalda for Best New SA Script and Sipho Mahlatshana for Best Newcomer/Breakthrough. ‘We are truly proud that Naledi holds a shining mirror to excellence in SA theatre and that the nominations for productions staged in 2015 reflect the diversity of our industry and showcase the sort of productions that attract our burgeoning audiences who buy tickets, come to the theatre and applaud your work,’ says Lindberg.

‘In contrast to the recent controversy raging over the “All White Oscars” this year, we are proud that Naledi includes nominees from every culture, colour, gender and creed. ‘Without cow towing to quotas or affirmative anything, Naledi embraces ALL our people and celebrates our unique and very special stories through dance, song, music, acting and the spoken word.’

For the full list of nominations, click here.

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