Check out all the nominees in the 2016 The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards


The cast of KickStArt Theatre Company’s Into the Woods which is running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban. Photo: Val Adamson

KickStArt Theatre Company has been rewarded with 54 nominations in this year’s The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. The ceremony will be staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus at 7.30pm on Monday, November 21.

KickStArt Theatre’s cracking production of Stephen Sondheim’s dark musical, Into The Woods, which intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairytales, garnered 21 nods; while Winnie The Pooh, the Durban-based company’s delightful stage version of the adventures of AA Milne’s timeless characters, received 15.

KickStArt’s haul was rounded out by its fabulous froth of a panto, Puss in Boots, staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre last Christmas, which got 18 nominations.



Another multiple nominee was the thought-provoking  Ulwembu which received 13 nominations and Copy Dog Productions which was rewarded with 13 nods for the one-man shows, White Christmas and Sweetie Darling.

Ulwembu (isiZulu for spiderweb) offered theatre-goers a poignant and incisive look at drug addiction. Over the course of 2015, a team of storytellers, playwrights, theatre-makers, academics and researchers set about exploring the Whoonga (low-grade heroin) crisis currently plaguing KwaZulu-Natal communities.

The result was a powerful production from award-winning playwright and director Neil Coppen (Tin Bucket Drum, Abnormal Loads and Animal Farm), actress Mpume Mtombeni, KwaMashu-based community theatre group, The Big Brotherhood, and educational sociologist Dylan McGarry.

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Jonathan Cohen in Clinton Marius’s ‘White Christmas’. Photo: Val Adamson

The tragi-comedy, White Christmas, written and directed by Clinton Marius, and starring Durban actor, Jonathan Cohen, tackles issues of crime, loss and loneliness through one man’s traditional Christmas visit to a caravan park on the KZN South Coast.

In his other nominated work, Sweetie Darling, Clinton (the creator of the smash hit B!*ch Stole My Doek)  offers theatre fans a charmig romantic comedy about a young man, who sets up a picnic in the park for his sweetheart. As he does so, he recounts the ups and downs of his journey to happiness and finds his path to spiritual growth. Sweetie Darling stars the popular actor, Bongani Mbatha.

Another fan favourite, Cobus van Heerden, of Neon Anthems fame, has received eight Durban Theatre Awards nods for his satirical comedy, SuperChop, which parodies the famous, and those desperate to be famous.

If you would like to attend The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards ) book at Computicket outlets.Tickets cost R100 each.


Bongani Mbatha in Sweetie Darling

Check out the full list of nominees below:


  • Poster design: Shirley Berko – Into the Woods; Shirley Berko – Puss in Boots; Jason Bird – Comedy Masterclass; Vanessa Burger, AdDesigns101 – Sweetie Darling; Freshpress – Winnie The Pooh; Brad Purchase and Jacobus van Heerden – SuperChop
  • Sound design: Stephanie Pais – Puss in Boots; Ross van Wyk – Comedy Masterclass; Ross van Wyk – Into the Woods; Ross van Wyk – Winnie The Pooh
  • Lighting design: Michael Broderick – Comedy Masterclass; Michael Broderick – SuperChop; Tina le Roux – Into the Woods; Tina le Roux – Puss in Boots; Tina le Roux – Ulwembu; Tina le Roux – Winnie The Pooh  
  • Costume design: Greg King – Puss in Boots; Greg King – Winnie The Pooh; Neil Stuart Harris – Into the Woods
  • Set design: Michael Broderick – SuperChop; Greg King – Into the Woods; Greg King – Puss in Boots; Greg King – Winnie The Pooh
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Winnie the Pooh (Rowan Barlett) and Rabbit (Anthony Stonier) in KickStArt Theatre Company’s production. Photo: Val Adamson


  • New performer – male: Jonathan Cohen – White Christmas; Ngcebo Cele – Ulwembu; Zenzo Msomi – Ulwembu; Phumlani Ngubane – Ulwembu


  • Supporting actress: Liesl Coppin – Winnie The Pooh; Belinda Henwood – Puss in Boots; Caitlin Kilburn – Puss in Boots
  • Supporting actor: Lyle Buxton – Puss in Boots; Peter Court – Puss in Boots; Peter Court – Winnie The Pooh; Bryan Hiles – Winnie The Pooh; Nhlakanipho Manqele – Puss in Boots; Nhlakanipho Manqele – Winnie The Pooh; Anthony Stonier – Winnie The Pooh
  • Lead actress: Londiwe Dhlomo – Puss in Boots; Belinda Henwood – Winnie The Pooh
  • Lead actor: Rowan Bartlett – Winnie The Pooh; Rory Booth – Puss in Boots; Bryan Hiles – Puss in Boots; Darren King – Puss in Boots
  • Director: Peter Court – Winnie The Pooh; Bryan Hiles – A Froggy Fairytale; Clinton Small – Scrooge – A Christmas Carol; Steven Stead – Puss in Boots
  • Production: A Froggy Fairytale – Bryan Hiles in association with the Rhumbelow Theatre; Puss in Boots – KickstArt; Scrooge – A Christmas Carol – The Actors Unemployed Company in association with the Rhumbelow Theatre; Winnie The Pooh – KickstArt

Lyle Buxton, Rory Booth and Bryan Hiles in Puss in Boots. Photo: Val Adamson


  • Choreography: Janine Bennewith – Puss in Boots; David Gouldie – SuperChop; Leigh Meyer – Into The Woods; Daisy Spencer – Winnie The Pooh
  • Supporting actress, musical theatre: Liesl Coppin – Into the Woods; Haylea Hounsom – Into the Woods; Marion Loudon – Into the Woods; Katy Moore – Into the Woods
  • Supporting actor, musical theatre: Peter Court – Into the Woods; Nathan Kruger – Into the Woods; Graeme Wicks – Into the Woods
  • Lead actress, musical theatre: Lisa Bobbert – Into the Woods; Francis Currie – Into the Woods; Jessica Sole – Into the Woods
  • Lead actor, musical theatre: Lyle Buxton – Into the Woods; Bryan Hiles – Into the Woods; Jacobus van Heerden – SuperChop
  • Musical director: Jason Bird – Winnie The Pooh; Shelley McLean – Funny Father Christmas; Evan Roberts – Puss in Boots; Drew Reinstra – Into the Woods
  • Director: Liam Magner – SuperChop; Steven Stead – Into the Woods
  • Musical theatre production: Into the Woods – KickstArt; SuperChop – Neon Anthems

Cobus van Heerden in Superchop.


  • Script: Clinton Marius – Sweetie Darling; Clinton Marius- White Christmas; collaboration between Neil Coppen, Dylan McGarry, Mpume Mtombeni, Ngcebo Cele, Vumani Khumalo, Zenzo Msomi, Phumlani Ngubane, Sandile Nxumalo – Ulwembu; Aaron McIlroy and Patrick Kenny – Comedy Masterclass; Sboniso Msimango- Flipside; Jacobus van Heerden – SuperChop
  • Supporting actor: Vumani Khumalo – Ulwembu; Phumlani Ngubane – Ulwembu; Sandile Nxumalo – Ulwembu; Wanda Zuma – Flipside
  • Comedic performance by a male: Bongani Mbatha – Sweetie Darling; Aaron McIlroy – Comedy Masterclass
  • Strictly solo: Jonathan Cohen – White Christmas; Bongani Mbatha – Sweetie Darling; Aaron McIlroy – Comedy Masterclass 
  • Lead actress: Mpume Mthombeni – Ulwembu
  • Lead actor: Ngcebo Cele – Ulwembu; Jonathan Cohen – White Christmas; Bongani Mbatha – Sweetie Darling; Aaron McIlroy – Comedy Masterclass; Sboniso Msimango – Flipside; Zenzo Msomi – Ulwembu 
  • Director: Neil Coppen – Ulwembu; Patrick Kenny – Comedy Masterclass; Clinton Marius- Sweetie Darling; Clinton Marius – White Christmas; Sboniso Msimango – Flipside
  • Production: Comedy Masterclass – MacBob Productions; Flipside – WordPlay Company; Sweetie Darling – CopyDog Productions in association with The Playhouse Company; Ulwembu – Empatheatre, The Playhouse Company and Open Society Foundations; White Christmas – Copy Dog

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