The Marikana: The Musical team has much reason to celebrate. They walked off with six Naledi Theatre awards on Tuesday night, including best production of a musical, best director (Aubrey Sekhabi) and best performance in a musical, female (Emma Mmekwa).
Poet and actress Lebo Mashile and puppet Chester Missing hosted the awards ceremony at Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg. The annual awards recognise creative and technical excellence in theatre productions staged in Gauteng.
Marikana, a South African State Theatre production, was nominated for awards in 13 categories.
Actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to local theatre. Surtie-Richards’s acting career dates back to the early 1980s. She is known for her roles in local soapies Generations, 7de Laan and Egoli: Place of Gold. She said the awards evening was a “proud moment” for her.
Actors Jonathan Roxmouth (Call Me Lee) and Brendan van Rhyn (The Rocky Horror Show) shared the best performance in a musical, male award, which is a first for the Naledi awards.
Van Rhyn, who played Dr Frank-N-Furter in the iconic rock musical, first portrayed the “sweet transvestite” at the Victory Theatre in 2008 before reprising the role in the recent Fugard Theatre production, which played to sold-out houses at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg.
In an interview with Top Billing, he described his role as “probably the most sought-after part in male musical theatre [that] every guy wants to play”.
The newly created world impact award went to the National Theatre’s production of War Horse and the horse puppet Joey, designed and crafted by Cape Town’s Handspring Puppet Company.
The 2015 Naledi Theatre award-winners:
- Best supporting actress in a play/musical: Vanessa Cooke – Vigil
- Best supporting actor in a play/musical: Antony Coleman – Pale Natives
- Best production for young audiences (supported by Assitej South Africa): Animal Farm – directed by Neil Coppen
- Best newcomer/breakthrough (Brett Goldin award): Zethu Dlomo – Have You Seen Zandile?
- Best costume design: Floris Louw – Rainbow at Midnight
- Best lighting design: Daniel Galloway – The Rocky Horror Show
- Best set design: Wilhelm Disbergen – Marikana: The Musical
- Best sound design: Akbar Khan – The Rocky Horror Show
- Best score/arrangement/adaptation: McKenzie Matome, Zakhele Mabena and Aubrey Sekhabi – Marikana: The Musical
- Best musical director: Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and Stefan Lombard – The Rocky Horror Show
- Sophie Mgcina best emerging voice award (sponsored by the Market Theatre): Khayelihle Dominique “Dom” Gumede
- Best production, cutting edge: A Human Being Died That Night – directed by Jonathan Munby
- Best ensemble production: Animal Farm – directed by Neil Coppen
- Best original choreography: Thabo Rapoo – Marikana: The Musical
- Best director: Aubrey Sekhabi – Marikana: The Musical
- Best performance in a musical, female: Emma Mmekwa – Marikana: The Musical
- Best performance in a musical, male: Jonathan Roxmouth – Call Me Lee and Brendan van Rhyn – The Rocky Horror Show
- Best performance in a play, female: Patricia Boyer – Cooking with Elisa
- Best performance in a play, male: Lionel Newton – Pale Natives
- Best new South African script: The Shadow of the Hummingbird by Athol Fugard and Paula Fourie
- Best production of a play: Pale Natives – directed by Bobby Heaney
- Best production of a musical: Marikana: The Musical – directed by Aubrey Sekhabi
- Lifetime achievement award: Shaleen Surtie-Richards
- World impact award: War Horse and the puppet Joey – Handspring Puppet Company, RMB and Pieter Toerien