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Sunday, April 26, 2015


The place of theatre in the family, and theatre for young audiences was a recurring strong theme at the 2014 Naledi Awards this year, and spoke to the rising power of theatre for young audiences in South Africa.

At the Naledi Awards which took place at the Lyric Theatre on April 14, 2015, theatre for young audiences was nominated for the first time in categories outside of “Best Production for Young Audiences”, and came away with several awards as testament to the cutting edge quality of theatre for young audiences in South Africa.

The Best Production of a Play of Musical for Young Audiences awards was scooped by Animal Farm by Nobulali Productions. This newly-conceived award was supported by ASSITEJ South Africa which created special showcases for theatre for young audiences to broaden the scope of the judging in this category. The production also walked away with Best Ensemble Production, against stiff competition. This production of Animal Farm was created especially for high school learners and was also nominated for Best Director (Neil Coppen), Best Cutting Edge Production and Best Lead Performance.

“We are immensely proud of Neil Coppen, Shakexperience and Nobulali Productions for the quality of work they have made for young audiences; the work is daring, contemporary, relevant and utterly engaging. Exciting growth is taking place in theatre for young audiences 0 – 20 and we challenge artists to push the frontiers of what is possible” says Yvette Hardie, director of ASSITEJ South Africa and President of the International ASSITEJ.

Green Goose Collective, now a lifetime member of ASSITEJ SA, staged the curriculum setwork piece Have you seen Zandile written by ASSITEJ SA patron Gcina Mhlope, which saw them nominated for numerous awards including Best Director, Best Female Lead Performance (Momo Matsunyane) and Best Breakthrough Performer, which was won by their actress Zethu Dlomu. Khutjo Green, director of Green Goose Collective was nominated for the Sophie Mgcina Best Emerging Voice Award which was ultimately awarded to Khayelilhle Dominique Gumede, who had won the Emerging Directors Bursary from ASSITEJ SA partner, Theatre Arts Admin Collective, in 2012.

The work of ASSITEJ SA was noted by the World Impact Award winners, Handspring Puppet Company, The National Theatre (UK), Pieter Toerien and RMB which brought the acclaimed production of War Horse to South Africa. ASSITEJ SA was responsible for ensuring that over 5,000 children saw the work and benefitted from immersive workshops that facilitated a greater understanding of War Horse and how it illuminated aspects of the CAPS curriculum and World War 1. This project gave many high school learners a magical introduction to theatre where they could understand the potential of what live performance has to offer.

The place of family and theatre in the arts community and its potential for society at large was joyfully celebrated when Des and Dawn Lindberg were acknowledged by the Naledi Board (John Kani, Dali Tambo, Welcome Msomi and Ismail Mahomed) for their incredible 50 years of marriage and 50 years of work in show business, which include many instances of challenging racial oppression during Apartheid.

This year’s Naledi Awards exemplified ASSITEJ South Africa’s belief that there is a firm connection between families (whether conventional, unconventional, or extended) growing up together through theatre, theatre for young audiences and transformation in our society.

The ASSITEJ SA judging panel is made up of Alison Green, Gerard Bester, Kgomotso Christopher, Tamara Guhrs and partners with the Naledi Judges for the ASSITEJ SA Naledi Showcase.

To take part in the upcoming Naledi Showcase visit or email