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Nominees for the 14th annual Naledi Theatre Awards announced

The theatre world has been buzzing with anticipation and, as usual, the Naledi Theatre Awards are one of the highlights of the showbiz year.

Naledi Theatre Awards
Andile Gumbi, King Kong

      Ranging across all the disciplines of theatre, the Naledi Theatre Awards are coveted by performers, designers, production teams and staging crews. As the largest theatre awards in South Africa, a nomination by the Naledi judges is in itself an achievement. The main panel judges are obliged to see the majority of the productions that qualify, which, broadly speaking, are professional productions with more than ten concurrent performances. There is also a second panel of judges that looks at youth performances, known as the ASSITEJ Nominations.
     The Naledi Theatre Awards nominations announcement was slightly delayed this year, according to Naledi CEO, Dawn Lindberg. ‘As usual, funding has been an issue. However, in true showbiz fashion, the show must go on!’ Despite the nominations and awards being later in the year, The Naledi Team are happy to announce that the nominations were made public at the exciting new Ramolao Makhene Theatre at the Market Theatre Square on 14 May. The gala awards evening will take place on 18 June, and the events team is currently finalising the venue.
     2017 was a very busy year for theatre, with an extraordinary amount of new talent, works and sheer entertainment on display.
     Nominations for Best Musical include the revival of the famed South African musical classics King Kong (Prod. by Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre Productions) and Sarafina! (Prod. by Committed Artist Productions in ass. with The South African State Theatre). The iconic Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Prod. by Hazel Feldman, Showtime Management, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Nullarbor Productions in ass. with MGM On Stage), Evita (Prod. by Pieter Toerien and David Ian) and West Side Story (Prod. by Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre Productions), rounded off the musical year.
     Nominations for Best Director of a Musical or a Review go to, Elizma Badenhorst for Rock of Ages (Prod. by Gold Reef City, Exec prod. by VR Theatrical, written by Chris D’Arienzo), Jonathan Munby for King Kong and Dr Mbongeni Ngema for Sarafina!. Matthew Wild has been nominated for his direction of West Side Story.
     Best Lead Performance in a Musical or Review – Male nominations go to Andile Gumbi (as King Kong) in King Kong, David Dennis (as Bernadette) in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Jonathan Roxmouth (as Che) in Evita. Phillip Schnetler (as Adam/Felicia) in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Sne Dladla (as Pop) in King Kong.

West Side Story

     Nominations for Best Lead Performance in a Musical or Review – Female go to Claire Taylor (as Sherrie) in Rock of Ages, Emma Kingston (as Eva Perón) in Evita, Lynelle Kenned (as Maria) in West Side Story, Nondumiso Tembe (as Joyce) in King Kong and Noxolo Dlamini (as Sarafina) in Sarafina!.
     The Inconvenience of Wings (Lara Foot and The Baxter Theatre Centre in ass. with The Market Theatre), When Swallows Cry (The Market Theatre), Die Reuk van Appels (The South African State Theatre in assoc. with Theatrerocket), The Suitcase (The Market Theatre), Tamasha on Hope Street (The Market Theatre) and Molière’s Tartuffe (The Fortune Cookie Theatre Company in collaboration with the French Institute of South Africa and the Alliance Française in South Africa), amply supplied us with the nominations for the Best Play.
     Best Director of a Play nominations went to Andre Odendaal for Karel se Oupa (Prod. by The Market Theatre in ass. with Kosie Smit, written by Retief Scholtz), Lara Bye received a nomination for Die Reuk van Appels, and Lara Foot got the nod for The Inconvenience of Wings. Lesedi Job is nominated for her direction of When Swallows Cry and, finally, Sylvaine Strike has been nominated for Molière’s Tartuffe.
     Best Performer in a Play – Female nominations go to Ameera Patel for Tamasha on Hope Street, Carly Graeme for Betrayal (Prod. by Daphne Kuhn by arr. with Judy Daish Associates Ltd & F. Pinter Limited, written by Harold Pinter), Chi Mende for Chasing Chairs (Prod. by The Market Theatre, written by Sue Pam‐Grant and DJ Grant), Jennifer Steyn for The Inconvenience of Wings, Masasa Lindiwe Mbangeni for The Suitcase and Vanessa Cooke for Molière’s Tartuffe.

Naledi Theatre Awards
Vanessa Cooke and Vuyuyelwa Maluleke in Sylvaine Strike, Molières Tartuffe

     The nominations for Best Performer in a Play – Male go to Andrew Buckland for The Inconvenience of Wings, Christiaan Schoombie for When Swallows Cry, Craig Morris for Molière’s Tartuffe, Graham Hopkins for Freud’s Last Session (Prod. by Daphne Kuhn by arr. with DALRO, written by Mark St. Germain), Lindani Nkosi for Tamasha on Hope Street, Mpho Osei-Tutu for When Swallows Cry and Warren Masemola for When Swallows Cry.
     Forming part of the Naledi mandate to grow the industry and identify upcoming performers is the coveted Best Newcomer/Breakthrough Performance Award. This award is given to those new, rising stars in the Industry. This year Ian Roelofs (Karel se Oupa), Isabella Jane (Evita), Kanyi Nokwe (Pinocchio the Pantomime), Noxolo Dlamini (Sarafina!) and Phillip Schnetler (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) have been nominated.
     One of the most exciting awards given is the Best New South African Script, which encourages and fosters new and uniquely South African scripts and playwrights. This year, nominations go to Johann Smith for Die Reuk van Appels, Retief Scholtz for Karel se Oupa, Rajesh Gopie for Tamasha on Hope Street, Lara Foot for The Inconvenience of Wings and Mike van Graan for When Swallows Cry.
     ‘There are many strong contenders for the awards this year,’ says Dawn Lindberg. ‘And the nominations debate was a robust one, but it has reflected the quality of the productions presented and the true non-partisan nature of the board in their deliberations.’
     Naledi is proud to introduce the new Board of Directors for 2018:
     Patron: Dr John Kani; Chairman: Kgomotso Christopher; Deputy Chairmen: Sello Maake KaNcube and Maishe Maponya; Executive Director and Legal: Lihan Pretorius; Directors: Dr Mbongeni Ngema, Thuli Sithole, Hemant Vanmali, Des Lindberg; Founder and CEO: Dawn Lindberg.
     For the full list of the Naledi ASSITEJ nominations click here.
     For the full list of the Naledi nominations click here.

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