Eighty NEA Young Performers reach semi-finals

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The semi-finals of the 14th National Eisteddfod Academy Young Performers Awards Competition will be held at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria from May 9-12.

Eighty participants, including groups, nominated by the various adjudicators’ panels, were invited to compete in the semi-finals in the categories of classical, crossover and contemporary music, dance and speech and drama.

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The junior and senior semi-final winners will compete in the final round at the Brooklyn Theatre on May 20. The total amount of prize money at stake in this competition is R50 000, as well as gold, silver and bronze medals for the winner and runner-ups.

A total of 3 885 individuals participated in this year’s National Eisteddfod Academy Young Performers Awards Competition, making up 1361 entries including groups.

The first two rounds of the competition were presented at the Roodepoort Theatre from February 20 until March 30. All events were assessed by three adjudicators with a mix of educational and arts industry backgrounds.

Proof of the standard and integrity of this competition are the many top achievers who have gone on to greater success. Henno William, Isabella Jane (Snyman) and Julian Hepburn were finalists in e.tv’s SA’s Got Talent competition. Singer-songwriter Henno (silver medallist in the NEA Awards 2015) has been signed by New York-based music executive Kevin Liles, who will launch him internationally.

Dancers Andile Ndlovu and Camille Bracher were top achievers at the 2007 International Ballet Competition. Ndlovu, also a finalist in KykNet s Dance, Dance, Dance, is currently with the Washington Ballet, while Camille Bracher dances with the London Ballet Company.

Former National Arts Festival director Ismail Mahomed, now CEO of the Market Theatre Foundation, a previous adjudicator, said: “If the NEA Award -winners represent the next generation of artists, I am filled with great hope for the creative industries.”

The panels of adjudicators of the various semi-final rounds will include among others, Gavin van den Berg, Nobuhle Mahlasela, Rouel Beukes, Gerben Grooten, Elna Spoelstra, Michale Dingaan, Helene Bester, Nthabiseng Motsepe, Jayesperi Moopen and Joy Cooper.

The adjudicators’ panel for the final round will include Petronel Malan, a South African concert pianist based in the United States, Patrick Shai, KB Motsilanyane and Harold van Buuren.

These events, offering performances by talented young artists, are open to the public. Bookings can be done on the Brooklyn Theatre website, www.brooklyntheatre.co.za or via a link on the NEA website www.eisteddfod.co.za.

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