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Thursday, August 6, 2020


The Virtual National Arts Festival has ended with an event to celebrate the winners of the 2020 Standard Bank Ovation Awards and recognise the artists who stepped onto the brand new vFringe online stage.

The vNAF2020, which took place from June 25 to July 31, 2020, showed the resilience and innovation of the arts community, who set aside the everyday difficulties of surviving the Coronavirus pandemic and created work that inspired, informed and entertained audiences across the globe.

Live streamed to Facebook, the Standard 2020 Ovation Awards ceremony was attended by fans and followers of the arts as the 45 winners of the Standard Bank Ovation award were honoured and overall winners of the Bronze, Silver and Gold were announced. In celebration of the winners, 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, Sisonke Xonti, and 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, Shane Cooper performed during the show.

Opening the event, Standard Bank’s Head of Sponsorship, Desiree Pooe, said: “In the ten years we have hosted the Standard Bank Ovation Awards, it has been a programme that allows us, and the Festival, to recognise and celebrate the talent that is displayed and shared with us on the Fringe. The Fringe is that part of the programme that is not curated but, in my opinion, is really shaped by artists and is a very special place where the artists are really able to show us what they are capable of.”

National Arts Festival’s Artistic Director, Rucera Seethal, said the Standard Bank Ovation awards are a staple part of the National Arts Festival, “Initiated in 2010, the awards speak specifically to the uncurated, fringe component of the festival.  Artistic innovation, excellence, the exploration of new performance styles and the courage to open new conversation through the arts underpin the motivation for the winners of the Standard Bank Ovation Awards.”

A panel of adjudicators spent countless hours reviewing work to find those productions that fully embraced performance for digital audiences and told stories that resonated with our current times and hopes for the future. They awarded 45 productions with the Standard Bank Ovation recognition, a badge that is placed on the show page as marker to audiences, but ten shows in particular stood out and were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze awards as follows  

Bronze Standard Bank Ovation Winners

Once Upon A Circus - presented by: Zip Zap Circus

Inyange Speaks - presented by: Simbone Inyange

Mnquma - presented by: Xolisile Bongwana

What Falling Feels Like - Nicola Pilkington, Joe Young and Jade Delmage


Silver Ovation

"Jazz in the theatre” featuring: Chadleigh Gowar - presented by: 44 on Long (Pty) Ltd.

Next! - presented by: Wela Kapela Productions

Beast In Him - Masifunde’s Academy of Creativity

Ouma Lilly & haar Klong - presented by: Vulture Productions


Gold Ovation

Women Hold Up The Sky - presented by: WoMin African Alliance

The King of Broken Things - presented by: Theatresmiths

Cash prizes are part of the Standard Bank Ovations Award package with the Standard Bank Bronze Ovation Awards recipients winning R3,000 each, Standard Bank Ovation Silver Awards recipients receive R6,000 each, and productions winning Gold Awards take home R10,000 each.

National Arts Festival’s Fringe Manager, Zikhona Monaheng, closed the event by reminding both artists and audiences that the National Arts Festival would continue to host the vFringe as a legacy of the vNAF2020, creating an ongoing digital home for the arts. She said that artists from all disciplines would be able to use the space without paying registration fees and would take home 90% of their ticket sales. The importance of artists marketing their own work was stressed as a critical way to encourage audiences to browse and view shows. The platform will remain in place as long as the Festival can facilitate it and for as long as there is a need for an online space for artists to present work to audiences online.

Artists wishing to submit work can visit

Audiences wanting to go and watch shows on demand, could visit



The adjudicators for the 2020 Standard Bank Ovation Awards were:

Ogutu Muraya is a writer and theatre maker whose work is embedded in the practice of He has been published in various anthologies and his performative works have been featured in several theatres and festivals within East Africa and internationally. He is based in Nairobi, where he continues his artistic practice and also teaches part time.

Chuma Sopotela is a multi-award-winning actor, director, choreographer and performance artist, as well as recipient of the 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist award for Performance Art. Most recently she directed Dikgaruru presented at the 2019 Spielart Festival Munich, and created and performed A short tribute to Zwelidumile Geelboi Mgxaji Mhlaba “Dumile” Feni at the vNAF2020. From Eastern Cape originally she is now based in Cape Town.

Mandla Mlangeni is a Johannesburg-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader. A member of the SAMA-nominated group Amandla Freedom Ensemble, he has toured extensively as a member of the Cape Town Opera. He was the 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz.


The Full List of Standard Bank Ovation Winners for 2020:

Amagents - Amagents in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation

A Star is Born: The rise and fall of Judy Garland - Wela Kapela Productions

Beast in Him - Masifunde’s Academy Of Creativity

Bonjour Monsieur Brel - Jannie Du Toit

Butlers and Billionaires: Till death do us part - Slick ‘N Sleeve

Certain Songs for Uncertain Times - Ariel & Juana

Corps/Body - Itrotra Art X Connection

Diamonds & Strings - Andrew Young

Domination - Is’thatha Dance Project

EOAH a Noah and Edgar - EOAH_ZA

For Rhino in Tandem with Roddy Fox and Harry Owen - Roddy Fox and Harry Owen

Fragmented Scribbles - Smangaliso Ngwenya

From Makhanda to Kofifi - Major Duo

Garry’s Retreat - VR Theatrical

girl. - Namisa Mdlalose

Hatchetman: (R)Evolution - Hatchetman

I Grandi Tenori in Concert - I Grandi Tenori

I Am Because You Are – A collaboration with visual artist Sonya Rademeyer and Baroque singer Chloe Lam (Hong Kong)

Inyange Speaks - Simbone Inyange

Jakob - Theatresmiths

“Jazz in the Theatre” featuring: Chadleigh Gowar - 44 ON LONG (PTY)

“Jazz in the Theatre” featuring: Muneeb Hermans - 44 ON LONG (PTY) LTD

Jon Shaban Live - Jon Shaban

Journey Beyond - Zip Zap Circus in collaboration with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra

Magic of Lata Mangeshkar Part One - Shashika Mooruth

Mnquma - Xolisile Bongwana

Next! - Wela Kapela Productions

Nowhere People - Kinsmen

Once Upon A Circus - Zip Zap Circus

Ouma Lilly & Haar Klong - Vulture Productions

Quantitative Teasing - MVG Productions

Resillience - Llewellyn Mnguni Productions

Sade in Hollandse Kombuise - Siphumeze Khundayi and Christine Van Hees

Sanan - Ghasedak Art Group

Sondela - Thesis ZA

The Art of experimental acapella – Then, Now and Always - Signature Sound A Capella

The Ballad Of Lucy & Alexander - Lipsmac Productions

The Hymns Of A Sparrow - Magentapro

The Joy of Classical Music - KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra

The King of Broken Things - Theatresmiths

The Tower & The Tree - Mixed Media

Veranda Panda – Panda Perspectives - Veranda Panda

What Falling Feels Like. - Nicola Pilkington, Joe Young and Jade Delmage

Women Hold Up The Sky - Womin African Alliance

Zoom Room - VR Theatrical

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