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Department thrilled by Naledi nominations

by Gerrit Bester

Excitement is building at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Faculty of Arts and Design following the announcement of nominees for the upcoming Naledi Theatre Awards. A total of 15 nominations includes both permanent and part-time staff members, students, and several alumni of the Department of Performing Arts, at one of TUT's top faculties.

Dr Nicola Haskins, a Lecturer in the Department of Performing Arts (Dance) and accomplished dancer, is on the impressive list of 2023 nominees for what is typically considered one of the highlights of the showbiz calendar.

Dr Haskins has been nominated in the category Best Choreography in a Dance, Physical Theatre and Ballet Production for a production titled Rapture. The latter was performed at the South African State Theatre as part of the Kucheza Afrika Festival last year.

A thrilled Dr Haskins says she was over the moon when she was met with the news on Facebook. “I was so shocked and surprised to see the post with my name on it for the Naledi nominations. My phone went crazy, and I started getting a lot of messages from various people who had seen the post. I was so excited and felt honoured that the Naledi Theatre Awards had nominated Rapture.”


“I believe that no work is made in isolation and a dance theatre production is truly a collaborative encounter, so without Dr Bailey Snyman, Daniel Geddes and the incredible six dancers this nomination would not have been possible,” Dr Haskins adds.


Rapture is a creative research project produced by the South African State Theatre and created by Dr Haskins and Dr Snyman in collaboration with Geddes and the six dancers. It is a forty-minute collaborative dance and digital interplay that responds to prolific sculptor Anton Smit’s creations to create a live and projected landscape on stage. Performed by six dancers, the stage is populated with bodies in motion capturing the expression and movement of the sculptures, as the production aims to animate the inanimate.


Dr Haskins' work has been recognised before. A company, Matchbox Theatre Collective, of which she is a part, has won three Standard Bank Ovation awards in the past and was selected as the pick of the Amsterdam Fringe Festival. In 2019, the company's production, titled Lost and Found, was honoured with a Silver Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival.


“However, this is the first time there has been a Naledi nomination, and we are very excited,” says Dr Haskins.


Asked about the importance of recognition in the performing arts sector, Dr Haskins says it plays a crucial role in providing artists with the acknowledgement and encouragement to thrive in their careers and make meaningful contributions to the cultural landscape. "I am so humbled and grateful for this recognition as it acts as a form of motivation, inspiring myself and other artists to continue to push boundaries, hone my craft and strive for excellence in my collaborative work."


Part-time lecturer and Performing Arts alum, Pinto Ferreira, has been nominated for Ringmeester that was performed during the Kucheza Afrika Festival. Part-time lecturer and alum, Gifter Ngobeni, has been nominated in the category Best Supporting Performance in a Play: Male for Leina. Tswarelo Selolo, a current student, has been nominated for Best Male Lead for Leina. Leina was first performed for the TUT Arts Festival 2023. Postgraduate Diploma student, Zaza Cala, bagged a nomination in the category Best Performance in a Dance, Physical Theatre and Ballet Production for Imxinwa.


Several other alumni were also nominated for excellence in theatre, across the disciplines of acting, dance, costuming, directing, lighting, musical theatre, and performance.


The Naledi Theatre Awards will take place on 20 May 2024 at the Mandela Stage of the Joburg Theatre.


Dr Nicola Haskins, a lecturer at the Department of Performing Arts (Dance), has been nominated for a Naledi Theatre Award.

Scenes from Rapture, a dance production for which Dr Haskins has received a Naledi Theatre Award nomination.


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