DFL shines bright for the Naledi awards

DRAMA for Life (DFL) received eight Naledi Theatre Award nominations for two of its productions and one for a student who shined in her debut performance.

The Productions
Hayani and Through Positive Eyes were directed by Warren Nebe, the head of DFL. Nebe said a lot of hard work goes into producing work that is recognised by the prestigious theatre. He added “[there needs] to be a great deal of commitment and personal investment” to make the productions good.
Another element that makes the productions successful is that they deal with personal stories about real people.
Nebe said, “The challenge, then, is to be respectful to those who offer stories and present them in an honest and open way with integrity”.
Being nominated for the Naledi Theatre Awards has created many opportunities for DFL. Nebe said it’s easier to approach funders for productions and to improve on the “laboratory space for students to create art through performance”. He added that the department is taken more seriously in South Africa and internationally with this kind of recognition.

SHINING BRIGHT: Faith Busika, best newcomer nominee for the Naledi Theatre Awards, talks about the challenges with portraying true stories on stage. Photo by: Rofhiwa Madzena

Best Newcomer
Faith Busika, a masters student at Wits, was nominated for best newcomer for her role in Through Positive Eyes. Busika enjoyed the aspect of being able to perform real stories of people, which she said is different from playing a created character. She said, “What made the performance good was its human context and the endless rehearsals where your every emotions were watched to make sure you’re authentic on stage”. She also said, “The production opened me up as an individual [and also] opened other doors to act in this genre”.

The Competition

The other productions that DFL was up against included mainstream productions which include some of the best actors and directors in South Africa. Other nominations include best ensemble, cutting edge production, best male performer, best musical score, and best new South African script.
The award ceremony will be on March 17 at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City.

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