NALEDI STARS TAKE A BOW
South African theatre genius Lara Foot Newton was the biggest winner at the Naledi Awards at the State Theatre in Pretoria on Sunday.
Her show Karoo Moose made a clean sweep of the awards, winning 12 of the more than 20 awards at stake.
The play also took the prestigious Best New South African Play produced, Best Director of a Play or Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Production Cutting Edge/Ensemble.
Notably, this was the biggest number of black winners since the awards started five years ago.
Among the black nominees who won were Mdu Kweyama who walked away with Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role (play), and Sibu Radebe (Lefou) Best Comedy Performance (male) (play, musical or revue); and a tie between Beauty and the Beast's Jonathan Roxmouth (Gaston) and Nomvula Molepo who won the Best Theatre Lighting Design.
Once again staged and directed by Naledi's executive director Dawn Lindberg, the entertainment featured highlights from local hit shows The Magic Flute, Beauty and the Beast, The Fat Black Women Sing, Chess, Rocky Horror Show, Umoja and the internationally-renowned African Children's Choir.
Programme directors for the ceremony were popular comedian Mark Banks and the perfect foil to his witticisms, the vivacious Rosie Motene.
Popular comedian Marc Lottering presented the award for Best Community Theatre.
A warm moment came when the doyenne of musical theatre, Joan Brickhill, came on stage in her wheelchair to present the Best Production of a Musical.
The Naledi Theatre Awards covered all South African mainstream professional live theatre productions that took place last year.