Naledi Theatre Awards Re-imagined for 2019

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Now entering its 15th year, the Naledi Theatre Awards is the biggest and most prestigious Awards entity to recognise and reward excellence in SA Theatre.

With a new Board of Directors and an influx of almost 50 young, burgeoning and brilliant new judges, plus a new home for the Awards event, the 1000 seat Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, the Naledi team has been hard at work throughout the holiday season re-imagining and re-structuring its modus operandi.  Here are some snippets from the Board and Executive:

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Chairperson, Kgomotso Christopher. “We all share the same passion for the transformation of our country’s performing Arts landscape.  Not only is it imperative to transform our industry but we also strive to recognise and celebrate the world class talent evident right here in South Africa.

Deputy Chairperson, Sello Maake ka Ncube:   “New voices emerge every month telling our unique SA stories with energy and vision never seen on our stages hitherto”.  I am particularly committed to mentoring new practioners of tomorrow.

Chairman of the Judging panel, Award winning actor, writer, radio presenter and drama teacher,  Renos Spanoudes:    “the Naledi Awards holds a mirror to what is happening in our multi-layered and multi-faceted society and reflects the best of writers, choreographers, sets, lighting and sound technicians, as well as fearless and inspired directors guiding performers out of their comfort zones to excite and stimulate audiences from all walks of life!”

Founder of Naledi and CEO, Dawn Lindberg,  gave an overview of the re-structuring of the panel of judges: “over 100 professional shows are produced and staged throughout Gauteng each year.  In recognition of an ever growing theatre industry, and our commitment to keep up with this growth, we are expanding our panels and demographics of the judges to ensure we see and adjudicate as much work as possible, produced in any given year. We have therefore created 6 new panels of judges specialising in each of the following genres. The panels are:

Plays, produced in Main Stream established Theatres; convenor: Neka da Costa

Musicals, also staged in Main Stream Theatres; convenor: Dr Lance Maron

Theatre for children and young audiences: age 0-13 as well as Theatre for that middle group of Young Teens, age 14-17, often left to fall through the cracks between kiddie theatre and theatre for adults, and sometimes including set works.  This section is proudly supported by ASSITEJSA, an international organisation specially created to encourage young people to experience and enjoy theatre. They are the audiences of the future!  Convenor: Thea Gafin

New, but we think vitally important new genres to cover are the highly creative and innovative: Dance and Physical Theatre, convenor: Ignatius (Iggy) van Heerden;

Independent/Fringe Theatre: specifically created to capture and assess smaller works by burgeoning, powerful young voices in venues such as PopArt in Maboneng, Olive Tree in Alex, the Table, and smaller venues at the Soweto Theatre complex, UJ and many others! Convenor: Khutjo Green

Tertiary Student/Incubator productions: for non professional artists who are committed to a career in the performing arts by attending Training Institutions such as Market Theatre Lab, Wits drama dept., Oakfields, State Theatre Incubator projects, and more. Convenor: Tiffany Higgo

Executive Director and Legal, Lihan Pretorius:  “judges for each panel have been carefully selected, maintaining a good mix of age, genders and cultures.  Each panel is led by a convenor and we will facilitate a special one day workshop for the Convenors of each panel, to explain and clarify any grey areas as well as creating liaison links with Theatre producers.  Judges will be allocated 2 x tickets per performance, one of which they are encouraged to use to invite and mentor one of the new judges entering this arduous and committed role for the first time this year.

Deputy Chairman and Arts Activist, Maishe Maponya: Due to the fact that our Industry is relatively small, many of the judges are also practitioners.  However, we do not see this as a contentious issue at all, as any judge associated with any production or performer will recuse themselves from debate or voting when that production or performer is assessed.

Board Member, Mbongeni Ngema:  I feel very excited and humbled to be part of this passionate and dedicated team, who are totally committed to serving our fragile but immensely important performing Arts Industry in SA.  I am fairly new on the board, but have attended many of the Awards Events, which are as good as any Tony’s or Oliviers elsewhere in the world!

Dr John Kani has been the Patron of Naledi for 13 years, and is the recipient of the World Impact Award for 2019 for his outstanding work on Black Panther, Lion King and “Kunene and the Kings” starring Anthony Sher, to be produced by the RSC and the Fugard theatre in Cape Town in April:

“our biggest challenge remains that of insufficient funding from Government sources, DAC (Mzansi Golden Economy), NAC (National Arts Council) and the NLDTF (Lotto),  all of whom applaud the work done by Naledi to raise the profile of SA Theatre, and enhance the careers of nominees and winners, but don’t contribute in a meaningful way to help sustain the Awards.

The Executive Directors of Naledi and I will be meeting with stake holders in our Industry as well as top companies and banks to urge them to assist in making Naledi sustainable.

Hemant Vanmali, Finance and Audit, says: “Naledi is now registered as a Section 18A NPC (not for gain), which means that any major sponsorship is fully tax deductable.

We also have a 90 minute special broadcast on KykNet and Mzanzi Magic with features on all magazine programmes on SABC and M-Net so the brand exposure for sponsors is huge.

Des Lindberg, Technical director of Naledi and past Chairman of TMSA (Theatre Managements of SA) for 22 years, has the last word:  “Naledi would not be possible without the immensely valuable sponsorship in kind we receive (in the past from the Lyric Theatre and Tsogo Sun, last year from the Teatro at Montecasion) and this year and for the next 3 years, the magnificent Joburg Theatre, centrally placed in Braamfontein with plenty of secure parking!

Heartfelt thanks to CEO Xoliswa Ngema, COO, Bridget Mashika, and their entire team!

Huge salaams to Alistair Kilby of Splitbeam technical, who sponsor all our state of the Art sound and lighting equipment and many more “electronic toys” to enable the Awards staging to look like a multi million dollar production!  Other in kind support has come from Duncan Riley of DWR distribution, Distell for wine, Stately Design for assistance in re-branding of the web site, and sponsorship proposal, and every single human involved in Naledi with time, talent and love”…..

SAVE THESE DATES!

Nominations Reveal: Tuesday 12 April 2019 @ the Fringe Theatre @ the Joburg Theatre Complex

The 2019 NALEDI THEATRE AWARDS EVENT for productions staged during 2018:  Monday 20 May 2019 on the Mandela Stage @ the Joburg Theatre.

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