Dawn Lindberg: Out of sight is NOT out of mind

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Founder and CEO of the Naledi Awards, Dawn Lindberg will be moving to Plettenberg Bay this month with Des, her husband and technical director of the Naledis.

Dawn Lindberg at the 2016 Naledi Theatre Awards
Dawn LindbergDawn Lindberg, the Executive Director of the Awards, at the 2016 Naledi Theatre Awards

However, this doesn’t mean that Dawn is stepping down from her pivotal role as the CEO of the Naledis.

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“Far from it.” says Dawn “The work of the Naledis never stops, in fact, what most people don’t realise is that it is a full time and mammoth task to bring the awards to life annually, and as the Naledis has been my baby for the past two decades, I am certainly not leaving it behind!”

In anticipation of the move, Lindberg and the Board of the Naledis have been actively working out a strategy to ensure the smooth transition for Dawn to remain at the helm, albeit from a remote office in their beautiful new home in Plettenberg Bay, where she and Des are determined to finish writing their book celebrating 54 years of partnership in marriage, show business and theatre.

The strategy has included both Chairperson Kgomotso Christopher and Executive Director/ Legal of Naledi, Lihan Pretorius, taking a far more active role in the day to day running of the organisation, together with Admin Manager Kealeboga Tshenye. Christopher has also taken on a more public role as the face of the Naledis and will represent the Naledis where necessary in the media. Dawn will continue to oversee all aspects of the Naledis and guide and mentor the Executive and judges.

Another aspect of this strategy has been to streamline the primary work of the Naledis, namely the adjudication of up to 100 wonderful theatre productions SA Theatre-goers are privileged to see each year.

Renos Spanoudes, an award-winning Drama teacher at King David Victory Park, actor and writer, is the head of the Judging Panels, and he has the process firmly in his grasp.

“We have almost 50 judges spread over six different panels, with each judge bringing their own expertise in the field and genre they are part of.” says Spanoudes “Each panel is headed up by a convenor: Neka da Costa, Wits Drama lecturer and producer is head of the Plays panel; Ignatius van Heerden, head of Dance at Oakfields College and also an award-winning choreographer and dancer convenes the Ballet and Contemporary Dance panel; Thea Gavin, a drama teacher for children heads up the panel for Children and Young Audiences; Khutjo Green, award-winning actor, director and producer heads up a new panel for Independent/Fringe productions, and Tiffany Higgo who has a Doctorate in writing and education in the Arts is the convenor of the development panel, including Incubator and Tertiary Students.”

Dawn, Lihan, Kgomotso and new Board Member, Chris Avant-Smith, will continue to drive the hardest aspect of all, the funding and Sponsorship, essential to a Non-Profit Company (NPC).

“Over the past few years funding has all but dried up,” says Kgomotso Christopher “Naledi has regularly put in funding proposals especially to the DAC and the Lottery, who are facing their own challenges with huge sums of money being stolen (R100m from DAC, R8m from the Living Legends Trust Fund, as well as haemorrhaging from Lotto funds) which has left many arts projects, organisations and productions in the lurch.”

Ever positive and pragmatic, Dawn Lindberg continues: “The Naledis are very fortunate to have some wonderful long term Sponsorships in Kind, namely The Joburg Theatre as our home base, with CEO Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema and COO, Bridget Mashika, making all aspects of this wonderful Theatre available for our Annual Awards Event. Splitbeam, led by Alistair Kilbee and his team, and Visual Frontier, headed up by genius lighting experts, Josh Cutts and Oliver Hauser (of Splitbeam), provide all the technical expertise to make the Naledis a world-class production. Without them, we would not be able to function, and we are profoundly grateful for their support and belief in the importance of recognising and rewarding excellence in SA Live Theatre! Splitbeam was awarded a BASA award for Best Sponsorship in Kind in October this year!” she says, beaming with pride.

“Unfortunately these sponsorships, along with numerous smaller ones, do not cover the hard costs of the Naledis and for years we have been self-funded.” says Avant-Smith “ We are on a major sponsorship drive to ensure that 2020 and beyond happens, and bearing in mind the current economic challenges, we have created several tiers of Sponsorship which makes sponsoring the Naledis easier for the cash strapped donor and corporate communities, and combined should ensure the financial future of these prestigious awards.”

“The administrative hub will move from the current Naledi offices in Parktown North to Tshwane in the interim, until we find a permanent home for them once we have funding.” says Lihan Pretorius.

“In the meantime, we wish the Lindbergs all the best with their move and we know that the airlines are going to be busy with all the flights between George and Joburg. Dawn has already booked flights (and board meetings) to coincide with major theatre openings in January 2020.”

“We are celebrating our move (together with two boisterous rescue “spoodles”, Jessie and Jacques, and a large tabby cat called “Silver-Moon-flumph”) with a Farewell Garden Soiree,” says Dawn Lindberg:

“Des and Dawn will not leave quietly, and out of sight is definitely NOT out of mind!”

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