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A host of nominations have been given to the many exceptional offerings that have trod the Market Theatre’s boards in the past year, including all four nominations for best new South African play or musical.
THE Market Theatre, Joburg’s legendary theatre complex, is in the spotlight again after a host of productions on its stages received 35 Naledi Award nominations and three Fleur du Cap Theatre Award nominations.

 

Hugh Masekela in Songs of Migration (Photo: Ruphin Coudyzer)Hugh Masekela in Songs of Migration (Photo: Ruphin Coudyzer)No other venue in the performance industry has so many nominated productions.
 

The Naledis will take place at the Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City on 7 March and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards will take place two weeks later on 20 March at the Artscape Theatre, in Cape Town.

Held annually to promote local theatre, the Naledis are Gauteng’s major theatre awards. They recognise and reward theatre practitioners for their excellence and contribution to national theatre and the performing arts. The awards are proudly South African and only South African born producers, directors, actors and designers are eligible.

They cover all mainstream professional productions staged in Gauteng – mostly in Johannesburg – between 1 January and 31 December each year. At the Market Theatre, Songs of Migration was nominated for the best production of a musical, while Death of a Colonialist, The Girl in the Yellow Dress and The Pen were nominated for the best production of a play.

Other nominations include for best new South African play or musical, in which Market Theatre plays scooped all four nominations in the category. Nominations were also made for best performance by an actor in a lead role, best performance by an actress in a lead role, best performance in a musical (male) and best performance in a musical (female).

“The mix this year showed a balance between the veteran actors and the younger performers, who are the future. Also, the depth and quality of the productions show how much great talent there is out there on all creative levels,” says arts journalist Peter Feldman, who is one of the judges.

 

The cast of The cast of Womb Tide In a press statement, the Market Theatre Foundation says through its productions, it aspires to create an authentic South African cultural experience committed to providing the highest level of artistic excellence in all aspects of the performing and visual arts, in which the education and development of a diverse community of artists, audiences and technicians is assured.
 

“The National Arts Festival is delighted that the festival was the original platform for so many of the nominated productions and artists. We congratulate the nominees and regardless of who wins, South Africans can be assured that these are artists with a determination to strive for excellence,” says the festival director, Ismail Mohamed.

Best director
Market Theatre productions also got nominations for the best cutting-edge production for Between the Teeth, the Butcher Brothers, Quack, the Off-Side Rules and Womb Tide. Nominated for the best director of a play or musical are Craig Freimond, Malcolm Purkey and Mpho Molepo, whose shows have been seen at the Market.

There were also nominations for the best performance by an actress in a supporting role/cameo category, best musical director/score/arrangement, best original choreography, best theatre lighting design, best costume design, best theatre set design, and best theatre sound design.

“Without doubt, this year’s nomination list is an accurate reflection of what was indeed the very best in South Africa’s theatre industry of 2010. We continue to find new ways of raising the credibility of what is determined to be the premier accolade in South African theatre,” says Zingi Mkefa, an arts journalist and producer and one of the judges on the awards panel.

There are 25 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.

 

The Soweto Gospel Choir will perform perform the awardsThe Soweto Gospel Choir will perform at the awardsOther nominations include Nat Ramabulana in best performance by an actor, for his role in The Girl in the Yellow Dress; best director for Malcolm Purkey for the same production; and best new South African script for Craig Higginson also for the same production.
 

The Naledi Awards are judged by producers from the theatre and television fraternity, including Helen Heldenmuth and Welcome Msomi; arts journalists Feldman, Mkefa, Mandla Motau, Moira de Swardt and Khetha Mkhize; and drama teachers and academics Janet Bayliss, Kholu Nemungadi, Phillipa Sandilands, Renos Spanoudes and Dorianne Alexander.

The Soweto Gospel Choir, the Bala brothers, world champion exhibition dancers Craig and Natalie, and PJ powers are billed to perform. Comedian Nik Rabinowitz will MC the event.

Awards will be presented by a host of theatre and television personalities, including Robert Whitehead, Sello Maake ka Ncube, Ramabulana, Kgomotso Matsunyane, Sindi Mabe, Napo Masheane, Nkhensani and Zam Nkosi, and Loyiso Bala.

Mohamed says theatre awards are a vital part of growing an arts economy. “The awards help to profile high-achieving artists to managements but they also assist the artists to constantly break their own glass ceilings. The National Arts Festival congratulates all the nominees and winners, and applauds both the Fleur du Cap and Naledi Theatre awards for having the vision to give recognition to our country’s artistic leaders.”

A limited number of seats have been reserved for members of the public at a cost of R200 each. Book at Computicket.

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