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Sunday, July 10, 2016


(Directed, written and choreographed by Musawenkosi and Bongumusa Shabalala, “10 Days in a Shebeen” won a Merit Award for Durban-based Umsindo Theatre Projects)

Artistic excellence was celebrated at the National Arts Festival this morning (July 10) when the winners of the 2016 Standard Bank Ovation Awards were revealed at a ceremony which also honoured outgoing National Arts Festival Artistic Director, Ismail Mahomed.

Commenting on the impact of the awards, Mahomed said, “The Ovation Awards have earned a significant gravitas in the arts sector. They have become a barometer for audiences and visiting arts managements about productions that should not be missed. Artists at the Festival have been bold and have used their talents and skills to engage with burning issues in the most creative ways.”


Standard Bank Standing Ovation Awards: The 2016 Standard Bank Standing Ovation Award was presented to the French Institute of South Africa and the Embassy of France for two decades of supporting visionary collaborations and exchanges between South African and French artists.

A Standard Bank Standing Ovation Award was also presented to Gary Gordon to honour his longstanding creative energy in South Africa’s cultural life and his enormously significant contributions to the vitality of the National Arts Festival’s Main, Fringe and Arena programmes.

A surprise Standing Ovation Award was presented to Ismail Mahomed who ends his tenure as Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival at the end of July. Speaking at the announcement, National Arts Festival CEO, Tony Lankester, recognised the nine-year commitment that Mahomed had made to the Festival, saying that he had “transformed the programme, filled it with richness and left a lasting legacy of excellence”.

The Adelaide Tambo Human Rights Award: The 2016 Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights is presented to Drama for Life, a global leader in the integrated approach to arts for social transformation and healing. Their performances and public engagement initiatives explore, serve and grow the role of arts for social change. At the 2016 National Arts Festival, Drama For Life presented Afri-Queer, a production that brought together artists from across South Africa’s borders to give a voice that humanises and gives dignity to those who continue to be oppressed. Drama for Life has also devised and executed the Festival’s 2016 Remix Laboratory programme.

Standard Bank Ovations Awards: The Standard Bank Ovations Awards are only given to new productions on the National Lottery Fringe. Once a production has been awarded an Ovation Award, the Company is invited to propose a new work to the following year’s Arena programme.

The National Lotteries Commission contributed R10 million to the Fringe this year, and assumed naming rights to the event. Says National Lotteries Commission media representative, Sershan Naidoo: “The National Lotteries Commission is honoured to have been the principal funder of the National Lottery Fringe and congratulates all the worthy Ovation winners. The NLC is proud to have been able to provide a platform for the talent that has been recognized at this year's National Arts Festival".

Of the more than 318 productions and performances submitted to the National Lottery Fringe this year, 232 were premiers and eligible for consideration for an Award. Says Standard Bank Ovations Awards Chairperson, Tracey Saunders: “The new productions on this year’s programme ranged from the staging of familiar South African texts to established international scripts, deeply personal monologues to epic family sagas and some ground-breaking new texts straddling the terrain in between.”

Saunders went on to say that despite economic constraints and the general feeling of malaise gripping the country, the National Lottery Fringe continues to excite and entertain and, more importantly, provoke conversations and ask questions of us as individuals and society.

Hazel Chimhandamba, Head of Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank commended all the 2016 winners, “Standard Bank applauds the efforts of all the individuals involved in the Festival and the organisations that contributed to its success. We are very proud to be associated with awarding those who represent South Africa’s artistic landscape.”

The winners for 2016 are as follows:

Rust Co-Operative for Sillage (Theatre)

Artscape for Ityala Lamawele (Theatre)
Alan Parker for Sacre for One (Dance)
Rust Co-Operative for The Graveyard (Theatre)
Artscape for Die Glas Ennie Draad (Theatre)
Explosiv Productions for Dangled (Theatre)

Kristin Hua NG-Yang for BIRD/FISH (Dance)
Matt Newman for Cock (Theatre)
Sibikwa Arts Centre for Chapter 2 Section 9 (Theatre)
Theatre for Africa for Ebola (Theatre)
Uyabona Ke for Falling Off the Horn (Physical Theatre)
Artscape for Henrietta with Love (Theatre)
One Shushu Day Artistry for Msaki and the Golden Circle (Music)
Nombasa for Nombasa (Music)
Hungry Minds Productions for Out of Bounds (Theatre)
Lebo Leisa for Paleho (Theatre)
Neo Motsatse for The Concert (Music)
Bloom & Stone for Tease! (Comedy)
Liquid Fusion for Burn (Dance)
Moving into Dance Mophatong for ...feathers... (Dance)
Klara van Wyk for You Suck: and Other Inescapable Truths (Comedy)
UJ Arts & Culture (a Division of FADA) for For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf (Theatre)
Lexi Meier for Fabric of the Universe (Performance Art)
ExploSIV Productions for Thenx Presents Aza-Nya is Five-To (Comedy)
Daneel van der Walt for Dani and the Lion (Cabaret)

Sibonele Dance Project for Abangawona (The Unseen) – (Dance)
Umsindo Theatre Projects for 10 Days in a Shebeen (Theatre) – this is a Durban-based production company
Slindile Mthembu for Milked Voice (Theatre)
Well Worn Theatre Co for Rat Race (Theatre) 
Outreach Foundation (Hillbrow Theatre) for Isaro (Theatre)

ExploSIV Productions for The Dark Ages (Comedy)

Awards for the best works by students at the National Arts Festival were decided by a panel, convened by Jacqueline Dommisse, which included Lee-Ann van Rooi and Bertina Johnson.

Nominated for the Most Promising Playwright of the Year Award:
Thembela Madliki of Rhodes University for Nyanga
The cast of Pharmakon by University of the Free State for a devised script

Winner of the Most Promising Playwright of the Year Award:
Namisa Mdlaloze & Pueng Stewart for University Of Cape Town’s Figs

Nominated for the Most Promising Director Award:
Sarah Nansubuga of Wits University for The Village
Dara Beth of University of Cape Town for Figs

Winner of the Most Promising Director Award
Thembela Madliki of Rhodes University for Nyanga

Nominated for Best Production Award:
University Of Cape Town for Figs

Winner of Best Production Award:
Rhodes University for Nyanga

The annual anthology of Short, Sharp Stories was launched at the National Arts Festival this week. Die Laughing “stories of wit, satire and humour” – was edited by Joanne Hichens, who is also the curator of the competition. The authors included in the collection were announced and awarded at the National Arts Festival:

BEST STORY: This Could Get Messy by Greg Lazarus. Runners up were This Is Not A Joke, Maureen by Gail Schimmel and Angel Heart by Kobus Moolman

EDITOR’S CHOICE: Learning a New Language by Fred Khumalo

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jim Goes to Durban by Anton Krueger and Pravasan Pillay; Number One With A Bullet by Christopher McMichael; The Derby by Ofentse Ribane; The Viewing Room by Diane Awerbuck; and The Seduction of Ozzie Stone by Stephen Symons

Earlier in the week, South African author, Lidudumalingani won the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story Memories We Lost, which featured in the 2015 Short, Sharp Stories anthology Incredible Journey: Stories that Move You.

The 2016 National Arts Festival which closes today (July 10) is grateful to the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Arts and Culture, Eastern Cape Provincial Government, M-Net and Standard Bank of South Africa.

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