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The Naledi Theatre Awards are back

Kgomotso Christopher. Picture: Supplied

Kgomotso Christopher. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 4, 2022


The Naledi Theatre Awards are back after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Naledis are Mzansi's longest-standing national awards, dedicated to celebrating excellence in theatre.

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“It is with great excitement that we can now announce that the Naledi Theatre Awards for the years in review will take place on Monday, May 16, on the Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre” says Naledi Board Chairperson Kgomotso Christopher.

“The nominations reveal will take place on Tuesday, April 12, at the Lesedi Theatre at the Joburg Theatre,” she said.

The Naledi judges in the past have reviewed over 90 productions a year, whereas in 2020 and 2021 this number has reduced substantially.

The Naledis themselves have gone through tough times when the organisation tragically lost its founder and CEO, Dawn Lindberg, to Covid in 2020.

“However, we subscribe to the old theatre adage ’The Show Must Go On!’,” said the new CEO, Lihan Pretorius.

In conjunction with the board and management team of the Naledis, she’s held fast to Dawn’s dream of an awards system that celebrates excellence in theatre.

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“We needed to think out of the box, and while Dawn was still with us, we decided that we would review the years 2020 and 2021 together, in order to have a sufficient number of productions to consider,” Pretorius said.

Renos Spanoudes, chair of judges, said: “In addition to the productions that could be staged, we also needed to consider those productions that took place during the lockdown and that were filmed solely for streaming purposes, as they did not or could not have a live audience.

“To facilitate this, we created a new category only applicable for this year’s awards event. This category is called Volt,” he said.

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Working through the productions across all genres, the Naledi judges have once again been struck by the quality, range and exceptional professionalism that the South African performing arts practitioners have displayed in their works performed and created during the Covid pandemic.

The Naledis acknowledge that for many actors and producers, two years is a long time to wait to hear about possible nominations and, of course, the excitement and prestige of the award ceremony itself.

“However, if the past two years have taught us nothing else, we have learnt to have patience, held onto our stamina and have shown the unique staying power and resilience that people in the performing arts sphere have in abundance,” read the press statement.

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