national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


The Naledi Theatre awards nominations announcement was slightly delayed this year, according to the 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 nominations were made public at the new Ramolao Makhene Theatre at the Market Theatre precinct on May 14. The gala awards evening will take place on June 18, 2018, and the events team are currently busy finalising the venue.

The theatre world has been buzzing with anticipation, and as usual the Naledi Awards are one of the highlights of the showbiz year. Ranging across all the disciplines of theatre, the Naledis are coveted by performers, designers, the 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 2017 year was a very busy one for theatre with an extraordinary amount of new talent, works and sheer entertainment on display.

Nominations for Best Musical for the year include the revival of the famed South African musical classics King Kong (Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre Productions) and Sarafina (Committed Artist Productions in association with the South African State Theatre), the iconic Priscilla Queen of the Desert (produced by Hazel Feldman, Showtime Management, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions & Nullabor Productions in association with MGM ON STAGE), Evita (Pieter Toerien and David Ian) and West Side Story (Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre Productions).

The nominations for the “Best Director of a Musical or a Review” go to Elizma Badenhorst for Rock of Ages (produced by Gold Reef City, executive produced 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) for 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.

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 Peron) 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 association with the Market Theatre), When Swallows Cry (The Market Theatre), Die Reuk van Appels (The SA State Theatre in association with Theatrerocket), The Suitcase (The Market Theatre), Tamasha on Hope Street (The Market Theatre) and Moliere’s Tartuffe (The Fortune Cookie Theatre Company in collaboration with the French Institute of South Africa and the Alliance Francaise in South Africa, amply supplied us with the nominations for the Best Play.

Best Director of a play nominations: Andre Odendaal for Karel Se Oupa (produced by the Market Theatre in association with Kosie Smit, written by Retief Scholtz), Lara Bye for Die Reuk van Appels, and Lara Foot for The Inconvenience of Wings. Lesedi Job is nominated for her direction of When Swallows Cry and Sylvaine Strike has been nominated for Moliere’s Tartuffe.

“Best performer in a play/Female” nominations go to Ameera Patel for Tamasha on Hope Street, Carly Graeme for Betrayal (produced by Daphne Kuhn by arrangement with Judy Daish Associates Limited and F Pinter Limited, written by Harold Pinter), Chi Mende for Chasing Chairs (produced 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 Moliere’s Tartuffe.

The nominations for the “Best performer in a play/Male” go to Andrew Buckland for The Inconvenience of Wings, Christiaan Schoombie for When Swallows Cry, Craig Morris for Moliere’s Tartuffe, Graeme Hopkins for Freud’s last Session (produced by Daphne Kuhn by arrangement with DALRO, written by Mark St Germain), Lindani Nkosi for Tamasha on Hope Street and Mpho Osei-Tutu for When Swallows Cry.

As 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 is given to 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; Chairperson: Kgomotso Christopher; Deputy Chair: Sello Maake Ka Ncube and Maishe Maponya; Executive Director and Legal: Lihan Pretorius; Directors: Mbongeni Ngema, Thuli Sithole, Hemant Vanmali, Des Lindberg; Founder and CEO: Dawn Lindberg.

For a comprehensive list of all the nominations and news of the Naledis visit