It is awards season again – there are the Grammys, the Oscars and the Baftas. In Gauteng, the theatre world hands out its Naledis.
THEATRE productions and practitioners are vying for top spot in the ninth consecutive Naledi Theatre Awards, which celebrate local theatre and reward its artists for their excellence in the performing arts.
Naledi Theatre AwardsThe high-profile, glamorous event is scheduled for Monday, 5 March at the Lyric Theatre in Golf Reef City. There are over 20 categories in total and more than 50 finalists, including artists, groups, companies and theatre productions. Finalists are chosen from a list of nominations submitted by the public.
This year’s categories include: best production of a musical, best production of a play, best new South African script (musical or play), best performance by an actor in a lead role (play), best performance by an actress in a lead role (play), best performance in a musical (male), best performance in a musical (female), best director: play or musical, best performance by an actor in a supporting role / cameo, best performance by an actress in a supporting role / cameo, best comedy performance: play or musical, best ensemble production/cutting edge, best musical director / score / arrangement, best original choreography: play or musical, best community theatre, best performance by newcomer / breakthrough (male/female), best production of a play or musical for children, best theatre sound design / sound effects, best theatre lighting design, best costume design and best theatre set design.
Among nominees who either live in or cut their teeth in Joburg are Pieter Toerien, whose works are leading with about 10 nominations, and Nataniël, with six nominations.
Nominated for best production of a play for Play Me, produced by the Market Theatre, is the television actor and playwright, Mpho Molepo. The play is also nominated for best new South African script (musical or play).
Daphne Kuhn is nominated for best new South African script (musical or play) for London Road and for best production of a musical for Pirates of Penzance. Fana Mokoena, Graham Hopkins and Sello Maake ka Ncube are vying for best performance by an actor in a lead role (play).
Fana Mokoena is nominated forFana Mokoena is nominated for best performance by an actor in a lead roleThe Joburg nominee for best performance by an actress in a lead role (play) is Lerato Mvelase for Play Me.
The television actor and presenter, Aubrey Poo, has been nominated for best performance in a musical (male) for his performances in Dreamgirls and the Mandela Trilogy. The nominees from Joburg for best performance in a musical (female) include jazz musician Gloria Bosman.
Other Joburg nominees are Thuli Thabethe and Xolile Tshabalala.
“While the cream of the theatrical crop may be represented in this year’s categories, it will certainly be a battle of the best in each category,” says Christabel Zulu, of Buz publicity, the event’s publicists.
Dawn Lindberg, the executive director of the awards, says the Naledis are designed to raise the profile of South African theatre.
They are proudly South African and only South African-born actors, directors, producers and designers may enter. They cover all mainstream professional productions staged in Gauteng between 1 January and 31 December each year.
“Once again, top celebrities from our stages will don their glam gowns to present the awards and each winner will receive a newly designed trophy by Chris Drake of Cubed Models as well as a cash cheque,” says Lindberg.
Judges of the awards include well-known academics, performers and media personalities. Judging is verified by an independent auditor.
The DreamgirlsAubrey Poo nominated for best performance in The Dreamgirls“The judges for this year’s awards are certainly going have a gruelling task ahead of them, but all will be revealed in a glittering awards ceremony, with Alan Committie as emcee,” says Lindberg.
Bosman will provide the entertainment on the night, as will Bryan Schimmel. Other performances will feature pop singer Nádine, singing I Don’t Know How to Love Him and Lindiwe Bungane, Tracey-Lee Oliver and Schimmel doing a rendition of Listen, the original soundtrack of Dreamgirls, The Movie.
“The evening will not only be filled with suspense, but with fun too,” says Zulu.
Lifetime achievement awards will be presented to people who have contributed significantly to the performing arts industry. “We also honour those who have passed on to the great stage in the sky over the past year, community theatre, children’s theatre and two lifetime achievement awards will be given to legendary veterans of our stages,” Lindberg says.
Winners of the 2011 Naledi Theatre Awards will be announced at a cocktail event open to the public on Monday, 5 March at the Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City. The ceremony will start at 7pm. Tickets are R150 per person and can be bought at the theatre.
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