Stars shine bright at theatre awards


Awards are always a controversial thing, simply because everyone has their own thoughts about who should win what and by this very nature, some of your favourites will be missing on the night.

The big surprise this year, however, is the time it has taken some productions to make their way to the Joburg stages, and many of them were richly rewarded.

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170314. Naledi Theatre Awards, Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City South of Johannesburg. Mara Louw welcome the winner for Best Score/ARR/ADAPT - Alistaire Izobell & David Kramer: Blood Brothers.
Picture: Dumisani Sibeko170314. Naledi Theatre Awards, Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City South of Johannesburg. Bianca la Grange walked away with Best Performance in a Musical(Female) - Blood Brothers.
Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Hayani was first performed when the two actors were still studying and it made a big splash at Grahamstown in 2009 before it had a short run at the Wits Theatre with its big Joburg run last year. Ellen Pakkies has been touring the country and festivals starting in 2011. Even Mies Julie took a long, walk to Gauteng, which on one hand means that at least, slowly but surely, the best work makes their way to our stages, but on the other, does that take away from plays that might have more immediate things to say?

Afrikaans theatre is again starting to show face in Gauteng – where it had completely disappeared off the radar – with an empowering performance by Vinette Ebrahim as Ellen Pakkies and the glorious ensemble of Balbesit given the nod. Surprisingly, Sunset Boulevard was rewarded for its look and style, rather than performances, music or direction with Blood Brothers’ Bianca le Grange pipping Angela Killian to the post and the Jersey Boys a more popular choice for the big awards. Two of last year’s weightier shows, Nongogo and The Mountaintop (apart from Desmond Dube’s supporting reward) were mostly ignored.

It’s glorious though, that theatre, in all its vibrant colour, is celebrated and feted, and with some special awards going to deserving artists like Lizz Meiring and Mbongeni Ngema, the stage gods must be smiling.


Best Costumes: Penny Simpson: Sunset Boulevard

Best Set: Denis Hutchinson: Sunset Boulevard

Best Lighting: Denis Hutchinson: Sunset Boulevard

Best Production for Young Audiences: Secret Garden: National Childrens’ Theatre

Best Community Theatre Ishashalazi Award: Nomzamo: directed by Gcebili Dlamini for Hillbrow Theatre Project

Best Newcomer/Breakthrough (Brett Goldin Award): Khayalethu Anthony: Solomon and Marion

Best Score/ARR/Adapt: Alistair Izobell & David Kramer: Blood Brothers

Best Musical Director: Bryan Schimmel and Rowan Bakker: Jersey Boys

Best Ensemble/Cutting Edge: Balbesit: State Theatre

Best Supporting Actress in a Play/ Musical: Nondumiso Tembe: Race

Best Supporting Actor in a Play/ Musical: Desmond Dube: Nongogo

Best Director: Yael Farber: Mies Julie

Best Performance in a Musical (Female): Bianca la Grange: Blood Brothers

Best Performance in a Musical (Male): Grant Almirall: Jersey Boys

Best Performance in a Play in a Leading Role (Female): Vinette Ebrahim: My Naam/Name is Ellen Pakkies

Best Performance in a Play in a Leading Role (Male): Bongile Mantsai: Mies Julie

Best New SA Script: Hayani: written and directed by Atandwa Kani and Nat Ramabulana

Best Production of a Play: Mies Julie: written and directed by Yael Farber

Best Production of a Musical: Jersey Boys: produced by Showtime International

Sophie Mgcina Best New Emerging Voice Award: Lulu Mlangeni – dancer/ choreographer

Executive Director’s Award: Lizz Meiring

Lifetime Achievement Award: Mbongeni Ngema

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