Sophie Mgcina’s spirit soars as winners take the industry by storm


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The Sophie Mgcina Winners
The Sophie Mgcina Winners

The Market Theatre Foundation’s Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award is barely five years old and already all its winners are taking the South African industry by storm as they continue to celebrate the indominatable spirit of the late artist, teacher and cultural activist, Sophie Mgcina.

The Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award is presented each year by the Market Theatre Foundation at a ceremony on 19th July to mark the anniversary of the opening of this historic and iconic South African institution. The Award affirms the Market Theatre’s commitment to unearth and support leading young creatives who are breaking boundaries and are determined to excel in their professions.

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Vuyani's Lulu Mlangeni flies SA flag high at US Dance Fest
Vuyani’s Lulu Mlangeni flies SA flag high at US Dance Fest

The inaugural winner of the Award in 2014, Lulu Mlangeni is currently choreographing her new production CONFINED at the Market Theatre. Also performing in it as a principal dancer alongside dancer and choreographer extraordinaire Sunnyboy Motau and supported by dancers from South Africa’s leading dance company Vuyani Dance Theatre CONFINED will be at the Market Theatre from 26 January – 4 February 2018.

Khayelihle "Dom" Gumede
Khayelihle “Dom” Gumede

Khayelihle Dominique Gumede, winner of the 2015 Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award is currently working in Cape Town as co-director with Neil Coppen in his first opera, Tsotsi, based on Athol Fugard’s work of the same title. Tsotsi will premiere at the Artscape Theatre from 8 – 17 February 2018.

Thandazile Radebe
Thandazile Radebe

The 2016 winner Thandazile Sonia Radebe, is also part of the hugely talented creative team of Tsotsi. Working as the choreographer on the production, she has joined the creative team at the Cape Town Opera to revive the raw, yet moving story of David, a violent, nihilistic gangster whose life changes after he accidentally steals a baby.

Lesedi Job. Photo by Brett Rubin.
Lesedi Job. Photo by Brett Rubin.

The latest winner, Lesedi Job who made her directorial debut with Mike van Graan’s When Swallows Cry at the Market Theatre in 2017, is currently reviving a new production of the acclaimed work at the Baxter Theatre. Cape Town audiences will remember her from Lara Foot’s Fishers of Hope, for which she received a Naledi Theatre Award nomination. Lesedi Job was the 2017 winner of the Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award.

The Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award is the brainchild of the Market Theatre’s Artistic Director James Ngcobo. The Award was introduced to recognise young upcoming artists and to provide them with the invaluable opportunity to present a work on one of the Market Theatre’s stages.

“The continued success of these Award winners speaks to the quality of young artists who have risen to the challenge and are taking the baton forward. This really raises the stakes for this year’s announcement”, says James Ngcobo, the Artistic Director of the Market Theatre.

The 5th annual Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award which will be announced at the Market Theatre on 19 July will continue to acknowledge and produce the work of young artists who are ready to write their name in the limelight.

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