Thursday, March 7, 2013

South Africa's premier theatre awards celebrate a remarkable milestone this year – a decade of theatre excellence. The Naledi Theatre Awards have grown from their humble beginnings at the Sound Stage in Midrand into one of the biggest awards events for live theatre in South Africa. The brand has over the last decade recognised more than 2,000 nominees and 250 winners, has raised the profile of South African theatre and has established a brand that is respected and valued by the industry, both internationally and locally. This year, the Board of the Naledi Theatre Awards is pleased to announce that Auto & General Insurance have come on board to support the Naledi Theatre Awards for a three-year period.

“Auto & General Insurance is thrilled to be part of this prestigious event which recognises and rewards our abundant theatre talent for their excellent work and achievements,” says Leon Vermaak, chief executive of Auto & General Insurance.

“Naledi is pleased and excited to welcome sponsorship from the private sector,” said executive director, Dawn Lindberg. “Auto & General Insurance is one of the most respected insurance companies in South Africa, and we are honoured to be the first arts project that they are supporting.”

Business and Arts South Africa’s chief executive Michelle Constant said: “The partnership with Auto & General Insurance is an exciting one, not just for the Naledi Theatre Awards, but for the theatre and performance sector nationwide. Business and Arts South Africa looks forward to supporting both partners, as they grow the relationship from seed to strength.”

Business and Arts South Africa has once again supported the Naledi Theatre Awards with a supporting grant.

Each year, the winners are honoured in a spectacular awards ceremony, which brings all the stars out to play and also pays tribute to the achievers who make the South African stage such an energetic and passionate part of a country's culture.

The Naledis have recognised 55 lifetime achievers over the past decade, all of whom have left an indelible mark on the industry:

  • 2003: Anthony Farmer, Ken Gampu, Eghard van der Hoven, Gibson Kente, Joan Brickhill, Patrick Mynhardt, Percy Tucker, Norman Coombes, Michal Grobbelaar, Gordon Mulholland
  • 2004: Hermien Dommisse, Athol Fugard, Rex Garner, Alan Joseph (Posthumous), Abigail Kubeka, Miriam Makeba, Ramolao Makhene (Posthumous), Mannie Manim and Pieter Dirk Uys
  • 2005: Lillian Dube, Fiona Fraser, Neels Hansen, John Kani, Phyllis Klotz, Joyce Levinsohn, Joe Mafela, Michael McCabe, Zakes Mokae, Smal Ndaba, Nomhla Nkonyeni, Winston
  • Ntshona, Dolly Rathebe (posthumous) and Wilma Snyman
  • 2006: Queenith Ndaba, Whinney Isiah Setimo, Cocky Thlothlalemaje, Mary Twala, Louis Van Niekerk and Frantz Dobrowsky (posthumous)
  • 2007: David Phetoe, Doris Sehula, Michael Lovegrove (posthumous), Moira Lister and Selaelo Maredi
  • 2008: Welcome Msomi, Miriam Makeba and Bill Flynn (posthumous)
  • 2009: Lynette Marais, John Matshikiza (posthumous) and Es'kia Mphahlele (posthumous)
  • 2010: Hugh Masekela, Richard Loring and Tobie Cronje
  • 2011: Evita Bezuidenhout
  • 2012: Judy Page and Thandi Klaasen

In 2012, an Executive Directors Award was given to Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company for Warhorse

Community theatre and children's theatre – both of which form the foundation of a country's successful theatre future – have been recognised by the Naledis. Emerging directors and performers have been given a platform to not only stage their work but be exposed to the vibrant South African theatre industry.

Together, the executive director and driving force behind the Naledis, Dawn Lindberg, Patron Dr John Kani, Chairman Dali Tambo and board members, Welcome Msomi and Ismail Mahomed, have ensured the success of the Naledi Awards. Naledi is grateful to have received funding from National Lottery Distribution Trust fund for the past two years and we await the outcome of their recent call for applications for Arts and Culture. Extensive TV exposure has raised the profile of South African theatre excellence over the years.

The Naledis have also been supported by the Lyric Theatre over the past three years (the theatre and all facilities have amounted to more than R250, 000) and private business – in particular, Wharfedale, Chauvet Lighting, Audiosure and Distell, who have supported the Naledis for many years. The Arts Angels, people in their private capacity who have supported the Naledi Theatre Awards since its existence include Christopher Seabrooke (for nine years), Percy Tucker (for 10 years) and the latest Angel, Carolyn Steyn..

The Naledi Theatre Awards, supported by Auto & General Insurance, takes place on March 18 2013 at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City. Entertainment at this year's awards ceremony includes Jonathan Roxmouth from The Phantom of the Opera, Samantha Peo from Cabaret, Tamara Dey and Flash Republic, and Ian von Memerty's Handful of Keys.

Tickets are R200 and R50 for students. Tickets are available at

The Naledi Theatre Award twitter handle is @NalediAwardsSA

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