Show Must Go on for Naledi Theatre Awards

Caption: Hlomohang Mothetho receives the Lifetime Achievement Award

As the Naledi Award winners of the night thanked their mothers, their fathers, their oumas (grandmothers) and life partners, as tears flowed, speeches were read and the audience cheered and rose to their feet, it was clear that the ceremony hosted at the beautiful Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg on 5th June 2017, held great substance to the victors of the night.

With sponsorship and finances bleak, an act of kindness and financial support saw various local and international companies rallying alongside founders Dawn and Des Lindberg, to ensure the 13th Naledi Awards would take place. To top it off, Haccius Mokopakasi, who has been in the industry for 40 years and works in the Market Technical Department, received the Lifetime Achievement Award while Hlomohang Mothetho and Wesley France were the winners in the Best Lighting Design category.

Many people are unaware that Des and Dawn had to take out a second bond on their home to pay for the Naledi Awards which took place in 2016. With perseverance, they continued to push forward against all odds to continue with the awards this year, which recognises excellence in the Performing Arts.

Sitting around a boardroom table with Des and Dawn at DWR Distribution earlier this year, Duncan Riley knew that it was up to like-minded companies to stand together to ensure the show could go on. He knew that the faithful companies assisted the awards in the past with the technical requirements, Dream Sets, MJ Event Gear and MGG Productions would jump at the opportunity to help again. He then approached Joshua Cutts from Visual Frontier to provide the lighting design, which he did at no cost. The last phone calls were from Duncan to DWR’s suppliers, who were generous in their monetary donation. Heartfelt thanks extend to Green Hippo, Le Maitre, MA Lighting, MDG, Robe, Prolyte, Philips Entertainment and VuePix.

“Thank you so much for your generous contribution to the sponsorships for the 2017 Naledi Theatre Awards,” said Dawn. “As we don’t yet have a Headline Sponsor and only scant funding from the Department of Arts and Culture, and being a non-profit company, the Naledi Awards is constantly battling to sustain itself and grow. By all accounts this was the best Naledi ever and your donations helped us enormously! Our special thanks of course, go to Duncan of DWR, who initiated this gentle form of crowdfunding and we hope to take it further next year!”

“I think we had to give something back and if we didn’t all get involved, the Naledi’s may not have happened. There would be no lighting designer, no lights on stage and so on. Joshua Cutts was very supportive of this project and he also brought in colleague Andre Siebrits and some of his crew. The companies who got involved were big-hearted and jumped on the band wagon straight away. We received an amazing response and I am very grateful.” said Riley.

DWR’s Kevin Stannett – Lighting Designer of the Year at Last Year’s Naledis – and JP De Vernon, were responsible for setting up the equipment for the event. The production incorporated 12 Robe Squares, 12 BMFL Spots, 8 Robe Spikies, 4 Philips Vari-Lite VL 4000BeamWash, 24 Robe ColorWash 700, 12 MAC Quantams Profiles.

“The Squares are amazing,” said Stannett. “You can pixel map them and you have endless pan and tilt, so they really look great on television.”

Programming was on a full grandMA system. Control was on a grandMA2 light and VPU at FOH with an NPU on stage. There were 2 grandMA Network Switches, a grandMA 4 Port Node and a grandMA 8 Port Node.

“The set up went up fairly easy,” added Kevin. “Lighting for a live audience is always for broadcast is a bit challenging but it all went smoothly. It’s a typical awards show and was based on the Naledi colours, with some nice looks for the awards and something a bit different for the entertainment pieces.”