Naledi Theatre Awards Re-imagined for 2019
Now entering its 15th year, the Naledi Theatre Awards is the biggest and most prestigious Awards entity to recognise and reward excellence in SA Theatre.
With a new Board of Directors and an influx of almost 50 young, burgeoning and brilliant new judges, plus a new home for the Awards event, the 1000 seat Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, the Naledi team has been hard at work throughout the holiday season re-imagining and re-structuring its modus operandi. Here are some snippets from the Board and Executive:
Chairperson, Kgomotso Christopher. “We all share the same passion for the transformation of our country’s performing Arts landscape. Not only is it imperative to transform our industry but we also strive to recognise and celebrate the world class talent evident right here in South Africa.
Deputy Chairperson, Sello Maake ka Ncube: “New voices emerge every month telling our unique SA stories with energy and vision never seen on our stages hitherto”. I am particularly committed to mentoring new practioners of tomorrow.
Chairman of the Judging panel, Award winning actor, writer, radio presenter and drama teacher, Renos Spanoudes: “the Naledi Awards holds a mirror to what is happening in our multi-layered and multi-faceted society and reflects the best of writers, choreographers, sets, lighting and sound technicians, as well as fearless and inspired directors guiding performers out of their comfort zones to excite and stimulate audiences from all walks of life!”
Founder of Naledi and CEO, Dawn Lindberg, gave an overview of the re-structuring of the panel of judges:
“ over 100 professional shows are produced and staged throughout Gauteng each year. In recognition of an ever growing theatre industry, and our commitment to keep up with this growth, we are expanding our panels and demographics of the judges to ensure we see and adjudicate as much work as possible, produced in any given year. We have therefore created 6 new panels of judges specialising in each of the following genres. The panels are:
Plays, produced in Main Stream established Theatres; convenor: Neka da Costa
Musicals, also staged in Main Stream Theatres; convenor: Dr Lance Maron
Theatre for children and young audiences: age 0-13 as well as Theatre for that middle group of Young Teens, age 14-17, often left to fall through the cracks between kiddie theatre and theatre for adults, and sometimes including set works. This section is proudly supported by ASSITEJSA, an international organisation specially created to encourage young people to experience and enjoy theatre. They are the audiences of the future! Convenor: Thea Gafin
New, but we think vitally important new genres to cover are the highly creative and innovative: Dance and Physical Theatre, convenor: Ignatius (Iggy) van Heerden;
Independent/Fringe Theatre: specifically created to capture and assess smaller works by burgeoning, powerful young voices in venues such as PopArt in Maboneng, Olive Tree in Alex, the Table, and smaller venues at the Soweto Theatre complex, UJ and many others! Convenor: Khutjo Green
Tertiary Student/Incubator productions: for non professional artists who are committed to a career in the performing arts by attending Training Institutions such as Market Theatre Lab, Wits drama dept., Oakfields, State Theatre Incubator projects, and more. Convenor: Tiffany Higgo
Executive Director and Legal, Lihan Pretorius: “judges for each panel have been carefully selected, maintaining a good mix of age, genders and cultures. Each panel is led by a convenor and we will facilitate a special one day workshop for the Convenors of each panel, to explain and clarify any grey areas as well as creating liaison links with Theatre producers. Judges will be allocated 2 x tickets per performance, one of which they are encouraged to use to invite and mentor one of the new judges entering this arduous and committed role for the first time this year.
Deputy Chairman and Arts Activist, Maishe Maponya: Due to the fact that our Industry is relatively small, many of the judges are also practitioners. However, we do not see this as a contentious issue at all, as any judge associated with any production or performer will recuse themselves from debate or voting when that production or performer is assessed.
Board Member, Mbongeni Ngema: I feel very excited and humbled to be part of this passionate and dedicated team, who are totally committed to serving our fragile but immensely important performing Arts Industry in SA. I am fairly new on the board, but have attended many of the Awards Events, which are as good as any Tony’s or Oliviers elsewhere in the world!
Dr John Kani has been the Patron of Naledi for 13 years, and is the recipient of the World Impact Award for 2019 for his outstanding work on Black Panther, Lion King and “Kunene and the Kings” starring Anthony Sher, to be produced by the RSC and the Fugard theatre in Cape Town in April:
“our biggest challenge remains that of insufficient funding from Government sources, DAC (Mzansi Golden Economy), NAC (National Arts Council) and the NLDTF (Lotto), all of whom applaud the work done by Naledi to raise the profile of SA Theatre, and enhance the careers of nominees and winners, but don’t contribute in a meaningful way to help sustain the Awards.
The Executive Directors of Naledi and I will be meeting with stake holders in our Industry as well as top companies and banks to urge them to assist in making Naledi sustainable.
Hemant Vanmali, Finance and Audit, says: “Naledi is now registered as a Section 18A NPC (not for gain), which means that any major sponsorship is fully tax deductable.
We also have a 90 minute special broadcast on KykNet and Mzanzi Magic with features on all magazine programmes on SABC and M-Net so the brand exposure for sponsors is huge.
Des Lindberg, Technical director of Naledi and past Chairman of TMSA (Theatre Managements of SA) for 22 years, has the last word: “Naledi would not be possible without the immensely valuable sponsorship in kind we receive (in the past from the Lyric Theatre and Tsogo Sun, last year from the Teatro at Montecasion) and this year and for the next 3 years, the magnificent Joburg Theatre, centrally placed in Braamfontein with plenty of secure parking!
Heartfelt thanks to CEO Xoliswa Ngema, COO, Bridget Mashika, and their entire team!
Huge salaams to Alistair Kilby of Splitbeam technical, who sponsor all our state of the Art sound and lighting equipment and many more “electronic toys” to enable the Awards staging to look like a multi million dollar production! Other in kind support has come from Duncan Riley of DWR distribution, Distell for wine, Stately Design for assistance in re-branding of the web site, and sponsorship proposal, and every single human involved in Naledi with time, talent and love”…..
SAVE THESE DATES:
Nominations Reveal: Tuesday 12 March 2019 @ the Fringe Theatre @ the Joburg Theatre Complex
The 2019 NALEDI THEATRE AWARDS EVENT for productions staged during 2018: Monday 20 May 2019 on the Mandela Stage @ the Joburg Theatre
Via: CHRIS AVANT-SMITH: Straight2media@gmail.com
AUNTIE MERLE’S FIRST VISIT TO JOZI!
Popular comedian, Marc Lottering’s most beloved alter ego, Aunty Merle Abrahams sashays onto the stage for the first time in Johannesburg with Aunty Merle, The Musical from 1 February until 3 March 2019 on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre.
Written by comedian, Marc Lottering and directed by Lara Foot, the show has received four Fleur du Cap nominations and has already enjoyed two sell-out seasons in Cape Town to rave reviews.
“a musical with an international punch, a debut production that astonishes with its assuredness.” – Karen Rutter, WeekendSpecial
“…witty one-liners that are met with sassy comebacks.” – Kirsten Delcie, What’s On In Cape Town
High drama unfolds in Belgravia Road, Athlone, as Merle’s daughter, Abigail, announces her engagement to her boyfriend, Alan. As Merle puts it: “He’s a good looking white chap!” But it’s never smooth-sailing in the world of musicals when Abigail’s twisted and corrupt ex, Denver Paulse – who holds a dodgy top job with the SABC – is determined to get her back – and if not, threatens to reveal a very dark secret which is bound to tear the lovers apart.
Aunty Merle, The Musical boasts a talented South African cast including Marc Lottering as Aunty Merle, Tracey-Lee Oliver as Abigail, Paul du Toit as Alan, Loukmaan Adams as Denver Paulse, with a stellar support cast including Royston Stoffels, Tankiso Mamabolo, Gina Shmukler, Adrian Galley, Carmen Maarman, Zandile Madliwa, Sizwesandile Mnisi, Anzio September, Crystal Finck and Austin Rose – accompanied by a live 8-piece band.
Twenty-two original songs, with lyrics by Marc Lottering and Tarryn Lamb; musical direction by Alistair Izobel and choreography by Grant Van Ster, have earned the cast thunderous standing ovations.
Aunty Merle – The Musical is suitable for all ages (no under 3’s). Tickets from R145 are available through Webtickets and Pick ‘n Pay outlets. Performances are Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, with matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm. Visit www.joburgtheatre.com for more information.
Join in the conversation online with #MerleInJozi:
Facebook: @Marc-Lottering and @auntymerlethemusical
Isn’t it just ridiculous that in 2018, we adults have learned absolutely nothing … and that the more things change, the more they stay the same … and that the more progress we’ve made, the more backward we really are?!? Well, thank goodness for bright, bold, unapologetic children’s musical theatre! It says it like it is, without sugar coating or subtlety – kids just don’t buy into that nonsense.
Written by Melvin Tunstall III, composed by our very own SA boykie, Greg Borowsky together with Douglas Lyons, who also wrote the lyrics. The original idea of POLKADOTS was inspired by the Little Rock Nine who ended segregation in American schools in the late ’50’s. But before you start yawning, and wondering how on earth this relates to kids of today … sadly it does!
What’s it all about? Lily Polkadot (the gorgeously bubbly Gugu Dhlamini) has recently moved to the town of Rockaway and is apprehensive about her first day of school. She’s the only Polkadot in a school of Squares. And immediately she’s targeted by Mean Girl, Penelope Square (Kirsty Marillier, in fabulous, full-scale viciousness), purely because of the way she looks – she’s a ’round peg, in a square hole’ and isn’t wanted here! She’s misunderstood wherever she turns, and whatever she says (despite her determined optimism), and even confronted with a separate water fountain to drink from! All she needs is one friend so that she doesn’t feel alone. Surprisingly this comes in the form of Penelope’s shy brother Sky (wonderfully awkward and endearing Bonginkosi Jay Hlatshwayo), and also the sunny teacher Mrs Square (vivacious and highly accomplished
Andrea Shine – who also doubles up as Mama Square).
This small, but extremely skilled cast has no trouble keeping its audience enthralled, engaged and entertained and in just 55 colourful, vibrant minutes, our four main characters teach us all some fundamental life lessons!
There’s a very good reason why POLKADOTS recently won the Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show in New York. The entire show teaches us that what makes us different is what makes us awesome! Not one of us is the same, and why do we even want to be? But then why can’t we accept each other as we are – for after all, we’re all the same on the inside?
Kids of all ages will gain something from POLKADOTS, whether it’s just the fun element, the catchy songs that carry great messages, or the more in-depth meaning of the storyline. There’s really something for everyone here.
This is POLKADOTS’ first international production and it’s not surprising that it’s led by an award-winning local team. Making its debut at this year’s REDFEST, followed by a week of school holiday shows at Redhill, it’s produced by Joseph Gerassi for Redhill School, in association with producers Drew Bakker and Rowan Bakker for &CO, together with associate producer Matthew Counihan. Shelley Adriaanzen directs and choreographs, with musical supervisor by Rowan Bakker and production design by Sarah Roberts.
With its strong anti-bullying message, a tour schedule is in the pipeline. So keep a close eye on the POLKADOTS SA Facebook page for updates.
For info on shows this week, and to book, click here.
Don’t miss POLKADOTS. I can’t recommend it enough!
All cast photo credits: Ronel Hugo
ONE DAY ONLY … ONE STAGE … ALL STAR CAST … SA’S TOP PERFORMERS … JONATHAN ROXMOUTH … TIMOTHY MOLOI … BRYAN SCHIMMEL … ILSE KLINK … and many more!
“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”
― Shannon L. Alder
The Sakellarides/ Devar family are an integral part of the theatre community. Theatre makers, supporters and the like are familiar with this talented unit, and those who have had the fortune of personally becoming a part of their lives, or even briefly interacting with them, all agree unanimously that this family are the warmest, kindest, most generous bunch of people, in an industry that is often extremely cruel.
Over the past few years, the family were faced with the misfortune of Nik Sakellarides falling very ill and ending up in intensive care on two lengthy, different occasions.
This was a very dark time for Brenda Sakellarides who managed to pull through, and with Nik’s strong recovery finally saw the light of day, despite the emotional and financial strain.
But just when life started normalising, another devastating bit of news came to the fore: their 16 year old son Ziya Devar was diagnosed with aggressive Ulcerative Colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. It affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. It can be debilitating, sometimes leading to life-threatening complications. While it has no known cure, treatment can greatly reduce signs and symptoms of the disease, even bringing about long-term remission.
About two and a half months ago, Nik took to Facebook, asking the Theatre/ Entertainment Community and beyond to please assist Brenda and the family with any donations they could contribute towards the increasingly exhorbitant medical costs for Ziya’s recovery.
This sparked Owen Lonzar’s idea to produce a show with some of the biggest names in the theatre industry, to raise money so that young Ziya and his family can fight this illness without worrying about the financial burden placed on them.
Lonzar explains: “There are genuinely very few good people in the world, who are always willing to help others. Brenda and Nik are always willing to help others. They are very special people, so I thought I need to do this. It’s also great because the community are involved. We don’t always have the money to give in this industry, so at least if these artists can perform, other people can buy tickets. It’s also important to be actively involved. We have a small community and we need to be able to look after each other, and this is one way that we can.”
Caitlin Clerk came on board to assist with administrative detail, and a wonderful night of music, musical theatre, talent and of course, community and giving has been organised to entertain audiences, but more importantly to raise money for Ziya’s recovery.
Silver Linings Songbook takes place on Sunday, 24 June 2018 at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square at 18h30. As this show sold out so quickly, an additional matinee has been added at 15h30!
Tickets cost just R200 each!
Never again and nowhere else will you get the opportunity to see such a fabulous lineup of South Africa’s top theatre talent performing on one stage, for a bargain price like this!
Can’t make it but still want to participate? Call the theatre on (011) 883-8606 and ask for a ‘ghost ticket’ … they’ll know what you’re talking about!
Bookings through computicket.com or call (011) 883-8606. If you can, try and go to to a Computicket kiosk and pay cash – they’ve been tremendously awesome and waivered their fee for the show if you do this!!!
Not only will you be helping others in need, but the line up of performers boasts some of the best talent in the country. This includes Jonathan Roxmouth, Timothy Moloi, Angela Killian, Sylvaine Strike, Ilse Klink, Bryan Schimmel (piano solo), Itu Sings, Kiruna – Lind Devar, Noni Mkhonto, Judy Ditchfield, Dolly Louw, Andrea Shine, Natasha van der Merwe, Caitlin Clerk, Nqobile Sipamla, Tonya Koenderman, Hayley Christian Francis, Luciano Zuppa, Dennis East, Claire Taylor and Toni Morkel.
Special Appearance from Kate Monster (aka Ashleigh Harvey) from Avenue Q, and Malcolm Terrey will be MCing the event.
A huge thank you to Daphne Kuhn for the use of the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, and to all the artists and crew involved in the giving of their time for such an important cause.
Book now for Silver Linings Songbook on Sunday, 24 June 2018 at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square.
‘Visiting Mr Green’, currently onstage at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square has been getting such rave reviews that Daphne Kuhn has added an extra (final) show – Sunday 10 June, 3pm.
This exceptional production features superb performances from both Michael Richard and Roberto Pombo. It’s most ably directed by Alan Swerdlow with a set designed by Denis Hutchinson, that will instantly transport you into the typical realms of a Manhattan inhabited by those who still maintain their own little corner of Eastern Europe … in America.
Be prepared to run a gamut of emotions as you enter the home and heart of elderly Mr Green, struggling to come to terms with facing life without his beloved soulmate. He’s alone with his fading memories until young, sassy executive, Ross Gardiner unexpectedly shows up, tasked with spending time with Green as community service in return for almost knocking him over!
Together they manage to navigate the choppy waters of what it means to be alone in modern Manhattan, dealing with the judgment, intolerance and narrow-mindedness of others, about all manner of matters. And surprisingly they realise they have a lot to learn from each other, as well as a lot to share.
Visiting Mr Green is absolutely unmissable! It is heartwarming in a way that many modern scripts just aren’t. This year it celebrates its 20th anniversary!
Book through Computicket or by calling the theatre in 011 883 8606.
Back by popular demand, Joburg Theatre is proud to present Woza Albert! by Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon, on The Fringe Theatre stage from Friday 1 June – Sunday 17 June.
Woza Albert! will always remain as one of the most vibrant examples of satirical anti-apartheid South African Theatre, demonstrating innovation and creativity during one of the most pivotal and ground-breaking periods of theatre in this country.
Woza Albert! is still a relevant story today, which is why it’s a school set-work in the South African GDE school curriculum, and therefore essential viewing for learners. The theatre piece offers a great tool for audience development while assisting with the school curriculum. The play portrays so much truth and clarifies a simple approach to the human condition, therefore making it continually relevant to South Africa.
Segomotso Modise and Hamilton Dlamini play the roles of various black South Africans – a vendor, barber, domestic worker, manual labourer and soldier – each receiving the news that Christ (Morena) has arrived in South Africa, where they live under a Calvinist, white elite imposed apartheid.
2018 SAFTA award winner for Best Actor – TV Soap/Telenovela, Hamilton Dlamini, had a starring role as bumbling private investigator TT in the Mzansi Magic comedy series Boomba and TT, in 2012. In 2015 he had a starring role as Mnqobi Simelane, a self-made man in his 40s who is in a polygamous marriage with two wives and a possible third, in the e.tv drama series Umlilo.
Segomotso Modise started his theatre career in 2005 starring in a production titled ‘Question Mark’ which earned him the award best actor in the leading role in the stop crime drama festival. In 2014 he made his musical debut when he starred in MARIKANA – THE MUSICAL by Aubrey Sekhabi which walked away with 6 Naledi awards, and after a sensational performance in the musical he was called to star in the recent musical TAKING BACK THE FUTURE by Tshepo Ratona and Presley Chweneyagae. His television work includes an awareness ad for children and women abuse and a Guest appearance in a popular local sitcom Ga Re Dumele. His international tours include Germany, Amsterdam, Austria, Poland and the UK, with various acclaimed award winning plays like ‘Interracial’ & ‘Rocksburg’, to name just a couple.
These two theatre veterans make it easy for audiences to relate in the new South Africa, where people are desperate for a better life despite their political freedom. The parts played by Bheki and Hamilton show off their skills in acting, mime, singing and dance. They also have the unique ability to create images using a few words and actions.
The play is a political satire that imagines the second coming of Christ in apartheid-era South Africa. It looks at a wide range of characters in South Africa at the beginning of the 1980s and attacks the pass laws that prevented Black people from moving freely at the time. The production uses the metaphor of Morena (Jesus) to show what would happen if he came back to South Africa during apartheid. Would he like what he saw? And if he saw the atrocities of the time then why would he not do anything about them?
Woza Albert! will be on stage at The Fringe Theatre @ Joburg Theatre from 1 – 17 June 2018.
There are morning performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11h00.
Fridays and Saturdays at 20h00.
Sundays at 15h00.
Written by Mike Kenny
Directed by Francois Theron
Once again, director Francois Theron succeeds in bringing a production to life in such a way that it’s perfectly accessible to and understood by the youngest of theatre-goers. We are so used to productions that are big, bold and shiny – far too brash and sophisticated for the likes of younger minds who are just getting to grips with what theatre is all about and how they can relate to it. The National Children’s Theatre is the ideal space in which they can do that.
I’ll admit from the start, I’m a fan of anything that relates to Peter Pan, and this didn’t disappoint. Sarah Roberts has created costumes and a set that will delight young audiences, and will inspire them to go home and re-enact both in their own homes! She’s made use of everyday household items that children will be able to find around their homes and that of their friends: an umbrella (the big, magical moon), gardening rakes (crocodile teeth), sleeping bags (mermaid tails – assisted by braces) … they might have to look a bit further for a wheelbarrow (a boat)!
The animated cast are an absolute delight and interact energetically with their highly enthusiastic young audience. Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku as Wendy can be forgiven for her somewhat errant accent (slightly British … somewhat not-so-much) because she’s completely endearing and utterly lovely, and she sings beautifully. Daniel Kieth Geddes is Wendy’s younger brother John; he’s also a rather raffish Captain Hook, who’s actual quite wonderfully comical. Danny Meaker is the youngest, sleepiest brother Michael. He’s trying to show his older siblings how brave he is by sleeping out in the back garden with them. Meaker also plays Peter Pan, our well-known protagonist who never wants to grow up, leading Wendy to face her own fears about growing older and leaving childhood behind. Phiphi-Gu’mmy Moletsane is a charming and cheeky Tinkerbell who kids will immediately relate to. She’s mischievous and playful, willing to do anything for her hero Peter Pan.
Based on Mike Kenny’s adaptation of James Barrie’s original Peter Pan, this is a gentle and imaginative way of telling this popular and much-loved story to a far younger audience. The songs are catchy and enjoyable. I’m thinking they’re added in for maximum effect and to hold attention for as long as possible. It certainly works. Parts of the show are interactive and will enthral the young children who sit in front on cushions, and are virtually a part of the actual production. If your child is more sensitive, it might be better to keep them further back with you if you think they might feel slightly intimidated sitting near the front.
I highly recommend this if you have young children. (I’d say from age 4 to about age 12.) Productions at the National Children’s Theatre are of excellent quality, and are one of the best ways to introduce younger audiences to the magic of theatre and imagination.
The theatre is situated at 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown, Johannesburg
Underneath a Magical Moon is on until 15 April 2018.
BOOKINGS: Call the theatre on 011 484 1584/5 or email@example.com