KZN well represented in the Naledi Award nominations

A Voice I Cannot Silence. Picture by Sithasolwazi Kentane (CuePix) 4

Clare Mortimer and Ralph Lawson in A Voice I Cannot Silence at the 2015 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The play, directed by Greg Homann, is based on the life, stories and poems of Alan Paton. (Photo: CuePix/Sithasolwazi Kentane)

THE nominees for the Naledi Awards 2016 – which will take place at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg on April 19 – have been revealed and according to executive director, Dawn Lindberg, the standard has never been higher.

Several Durbanites are in the running for this year’s awards including KickStArt Theatre Company’s Steven Stead for Sweeney Todd and Little Shop of Horrors, Greg King, Tina le Roux, Neil Stuart Harris, Charon Williams-Ros for Sweeney Todd, Caroline Smart for Hinterland and Clare Mortimer and Menzi Mkhwane for A Voice I Cannot Silence.

Short, Stories, Alive, the Nobulali Productions show, directed by former Durban resident, Neil Coppen, is also nominated; as is former Durban actress Janna Ramos-Violante, who gets a nomination for her work in Doubt.

Said Lindberg: “This year, we have the highest standard of excellence ever, so much so that we have introduced four new categories: best director of a musical, best support/featured performance in a musical, best performance in a production for children’s theatre and best AV/animation.

“To help the judges to assess this new category, we held a “techie training” session at the Market Theatre Lab last year, at which experts in the fields of lighting, sound and set design as well as directing, were invited to share some of their techniques and vision. This will now become an annual Event for students of theatre design and judges.

“We have also expanded the judging panel by 6 new judges, who were chosen after extensive research following the highly successful “forum” held last year to ascertain suggestions and input from the Industry as to how to improve and develop our modus operandi. The new judges started assessing productions from January 2016.”

The main panel consists of: Annelize Hicks, Dorianne Alexander, Ferosa Marais, Fiona Gordon, Gregory Goss, Helen Heldenmuth, Jenni Newman, Johan van der Merwe, Lance Maron, Maishe Maponya, Mandla Motau, Matthew Counihan, Peter Feldman, Renos Spanoudes, Rudi Sadler, Sandile Mabaso, Tiffany Courthenay Higgo, and Welcome Msomi.

The special panel for productions for children and young audiences and partnered with Assitej SA are: Alison Green, Dorianne Alexander, Ferosa Marais, Gerard Bester, Helen Heldenmuth, Kgomotso Christopher, Lakin Morgan, Omphile Molusi, Renos Spanoudes and Tamara Guhrs.

“We have 26 categories, as well as four special award categories,” said Lindberg, “the Life Time Achievement Award (for theatre stalwarts who have given more than 30 years to our Industry), the executive director’s award, for individuals or companies who have contributed to the advancement and development of SA theatre through their vision and commitment, the world impact award, for productions or individuals who have raised the bar of SA theatre Internationally, and “The Lesedi Spirit of Courage” Award, for individuals or companies who have transcended deep trauma or handicaps to make a life changing impact on SA Theatre.”

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The full list of nominees is set out below:

Best performance in a musical (female): Candice van Litsenborgh (Little Shop Of Horrors); Candida Mosoma (Sister Act); Charon Williams-Ros (Sweeney Todd); Kate Normington (Sister Act); Marlee van der Merwe (Aspoestertjie); Sharon Spiegel-Wagner (I’m Playing Your Song).

Best performance in a musical (male): Alan Committie (Little Shop Of Horrors); Jonathan Roxmouth (Sweeney Todd); Jonathan Roxmouth (I’m Playing Your Song); Keith Smith (Sister Act); Nataniël (After Animals); Tobie Cronjé (Sleeping Beauty).

Best support/featured performance in a musical: Adam Pelkowitz (Sweeney Todd); Clint Lesch (Aspoestertjie); Cobus Venter and Tiaan Rautenbach (Aspoestertjie); Michelle Levin (Sleeping Beauty); Phumi Mncayi (Sister Act); Soli Philander (Aspoestertjie);  Zak Hendrikz (Little Shop Of Horrors).

Best lead performance in a play (female): Anna-Mart van der Merwe (People Are Living There); Antoinette Kellerman (As Die Broek Pas); Clare Mortimer (A Voice I Cannot Silence); Fiona Ramsay (Miss Dietrich Regrets); Fiona Ramsay (Doubt);  Lesedi Job (Fishers of Hope);  Sylvaine Strike (Black and Blue);  Warona Seane (Tin Bucket Drum).

Best lead performance in a play (male):  Attandwa Kani (Black and Blue); Craig Morris (Johnny Boskak Is Feeling Funny); Craig Urbani (Morecambe); James Mac Ewan (Doubt);  Mncedisi Shabangu (Fishers of Hope);  Nicholas Pauling (Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles);  Ralph Lawson (A Voice I Cannot Silence);  Wessel Pretorius (Undone/Ont).

Best supporting actress: Ameera Patel (Cincinatti – Scenes from City Life); Dorothy Ann Gould (The Something Prince); Janna Ramos-Violante (Doubt); Liezl de Kock (Crazy in Love); Mwenya Kabwe (Doubt); Thami Ngoma (Crepuscule).

Best supporting actor: Carel Nel (People Are Living There); Conrad Kemp (Crepuscule); Phillip M Dikotla (Fishers of Hope); Phillip Tipo Tindisa (Fishers of Hope); Shaun Oelf (Fishers of Hope); Sven Ruygrok (Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles).

Best ensemble: Colour Me Human; Lepatata; Making Mandela; PYTHONesque; The Snow Goose; The Story I am about to Tell.

Best director of a musical or music revue: Alan Swerdlow (I’m Playing Your Song);  Janice Honeyman (Sister Act); Nataniël (After Animals);  Steven Stead (Sweeney Todd);  Steven Stead (Little Shop Of Horrors);  Weslee Lauder (Aspoestertjie).

Best director of a play: Caroline Smart (Hinterland); Greg Homann (A Voice I Cannot Silence);  James Cuningham (Doubt);  Jenine Collocott (The Snow Goose);  Khayelihle Dom Gumede (Crepuscule); Makhaola Ndebele (Lepatata);  Marthinus Basson (As Die Broek Pas);  Monageng “Vice” Motshabi (The Story I am about to Tell).

Best new SA script:  A Voice I Cannot Silence; Broken Plates; Crepuscule; Fishers of Hope; Hinterland;  Lepatata;  The Imagined Land.

Best production of a play: A Voice I Cannot Silence; Black and Blue; Doubt; Fishers of Hope; Hinterland; Lepatata; Miss Dietrich Regrets; The Snow Goose.

Best production of a musical (the Joan Brickhill Award): After Animals; Aspoestertjie; I’m Playing Your Song;  Little Shop Of Horrors;  Sister Act;  Sweeney Todd.

Best production: Cutting edge: Broken Plates; Crazy in Love; Johnny Boskak Is Feeling Funny;  Kafka’s Ape;  Masote’s Dream; Undone/Ont;  We Didn’t Come To Hell For The Croissants : Seven Deadly New Stories for Consenting Adults.

Best performance in a children’s Theatre Production: Shelley Simon (Disney’s The Little Mermaid); Andile Magxaki (Shrek The Musical); Sarah Malherbe (Disney’s The Little Mermaid); Jana Louw (Shrek The Musical); Devon Flemmer (A Year With Frog and Toad); Gamelihle Bovana (James And The Giant Peach).

Best production for children: A Year With Frog and Toad; Disney’s The Little Mermaid; Patchwork; Shrek’ The Musical; The Adventures of Oliver Twist.

Best production for young audiences: Making Mandela; Mis; Short, Stories, Alive; So Where To; Uhambo, The Journey.

Best newcomer/breakthrough (the Brett Goldin Award sponsored by Distell): Dionne Song (Sleeping Beauty); Francois Jacobs (People Are Living There); Menzi Mkhwane (A Voice I Cannot Silence); Nokuthula Ledwaba (Noise); Rowlen von Gericke (Noise); Sipho Mahlatshana (Hinterland); Thabo Rametsi (Noise).

Best emerging voice: Lidija Marelic (writer/director); Sonia Radebe (choreographer); Phala Phala (writer/director); Joanna Evans (writer/director).

Best original choreography:  Grant van Ster (Fishers of Hope);  Ian and Viv Von Memerty (Fantastic 50); Martin van Heerden (After Animals);  Nhlanhla Mahlangu (Crepuscule);  Nicol Sheraton (Sister Act);  Sonia Radebe and Nhlanhla Mahlangu (Colour Me Human).

Best costume design: Floris Louw (After Animals); Margo Fleisch (Miss Dietrich Regrets); Melissa van Eck (Aspoestertjie); Neil Stuart Harris (Sweeney Todd); Nthabiseng Makone (Lepatata); Thando Lobese (Crepuscule).

Best lighting design: Declan Randall (Sister Act); Denis Hutchinson (Miss Dietrich Regrets); Kevin Stannet (After Animals); Michael Broderick (A Voice I Cannot Silence); Nomvula Molepo (Crepuscule); Patrick Curtis (Fishers of Hope); Tina Le Roux (Sweeney Todd).

Best AV/Animation: Adam Pelkowitz (I’m Playing Your Song); Declan Randall (Sister Act); JanHendrik Burger (After Animals); Jurgen Meekel (Cincinatti – Scenes from City Life); Sue Pam-Grant (The Something Prince); Wilhelm Disbergen (Colour Me Human).

Best set design: Declan Randall (Sister Act); Denis Hutchinson (The Imagined Land); Greg King (Sweeney Todd); Nadya Cohen (A Voice I Cannot Silence); Nataniël (After Animals); Patrick Curtis (Fishers of Hope); Sue Pam-Grant (The Something Prince).

Best sound design: Ken Crossley and Larry Pullen (Aspoestertjie); Larry Pullen (After Animals); Mark Malherbe (Sweeney Todd); Paul Riekert (Noise); Mark Malherbe (Little Shop Of Horrors); Trevor Peters (Sister Act).

Best score/arrangement/adaptation: Jonathan Roxmouth and Alan Swerdlow (I’m Playing Your Song); Joseph Makhanza (Lepatata); Kutlwano Masote (Masote’s Dream); Nataniël (After Animals);

Nceba Gongxeka (Fishers of Hope); Steve Dyer (Colour Me Human).

Best musical director: Justin Southey (Little Shop Of Horrors); Machiel Roets (Aspoestertjie); Nataniël (After Animals); Rowan Bakker (Sweeney Todd); Rowan Bakker (Sister Act); Steve Dyer (Colour Me Human).


The Naledi Theatre Awards have been in existence for 11 years and are recognised as the premier awards event on the Gauteng Theatre Calendar. Its mission is to recognize and reward excellence in the performing arts, to raise the profile of Live Theatre and to create awareness of the abundant talent alive and well on our SA stages.

The Naledi Theatre Awards has honoured over 60 Lifetime Achievers: veteran artistes, technicians, and administrators who have dedicated their lives to SA Theatre, and also pays tribute to people in the Arts who have taken their final bows during the year under review.

The Naledi Theatre Awards covers all mainstream professional productions from the period 1 January – 1 December of the previous year and the Naledi Judges typically evaluate over 50 productions in approximately 21 categories. The Naledi Panel of Judges consists of informed and regular theatre goers, academics and members of the media covering the arts in Johannesburg.


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