Various award-winning productions on stage at KKNK

Theatre enthusiasts can look forward to various award-winning theatre productions from festivals across South Africa, on stage at this year’s KKNK. 

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The 28th KKNK is presented in Oudtshoorn from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 March 2024.

Four productions that were awarded following the 2023 Toyota US Woordfees in Stellenbosch, are on their way to the Klein Karoo. 

Die vegetariër with Tinarie van Wyk Loots, Wilhelm van der Walt, Eben Genis and Melissa Myburgh, directed by Jaco Bouwer, is a translation and adaptation by Willem Anker of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian. This drama was crowned with the Woordtrofee for best performance: technical and best play at the Toyota US Woordfees in 2023. It is a Toyota US Woordfees production, supported by NATi and the run is made possible by the KKNK.

Sandra Prinsloo was awarded with best performance (female) for her role in Master Class, a role where she shines as opera diva Maria Callas during her swan song in the seventies, the closing act of her life. Joining her on stage are Siphamandla Moyake, Alida Scheepers, Tylor Lamani, Elisabeth Manduell and José Dias from Cape Town Opera. It is an adaptation of Terrence McNally’s Tony award-winning play and was performed in 2023 to coincide with the anniversary of Callas’ birth 100 years ago. The production was originally presented in collaboration with Pieter Toerien Productions.

Kim Blanche Adonis was awarded for best performance: solo for her performance in My Fellow South Africans, with script and directed by Mike van Graan. It is a collection of sketches in which satirical commentary is delivered in the tradition of the popular and award-winning Pay Back the Curry, Bafana Republic, and State Fracture with comedy, singing, poetry, physical theatre, and character sketches. The play was developed with the support of Artscape and the University of Johannesburg.

Byster with Lara Hattingh was awarded best performance: Fringe. Byster tells the story of an uninformed, naïve young woman struggling to get through the deep waters of 2023. In a collection of seemingly random stories, she bare-knuckles what she thinks.

Following Momentum Beleggings Aardklop in 2023, Goed wat wag om te gebeur was awarded as Best Newly Written Afrikaans Script. The script was written by Philip Rademeyer, who also directs, with Antoinette Kellermann, Gideon Lombard and Emma Kotze on stage. The drama tells the story of Hendrik who returns to his abandoned childhood home, where the family’s secret and history fills the air. Goed wat wag om te gebeur was also nominated for three Woordtrofees at the Toyota US Woordfees in 2023. It is a Momentum Beleggings Aardklop and Toyota US Woordfees co-production, supported by NATi. The run is made possible by the KKNK. Kellermann is also nominated for a kykNET Fiësta as Best Supporting Actress for her role.

In addition to these already award-winning productions and nominations, various nominees for kykNET Fiëstas are on stage in Oudtshoorn. The winners are announced in Cape Town on 7 March. 

Braam en die engel, produced by the KKNK for Momentum Beleggings Aardklop and supported by AK21 and NATi, received five nominations. This family production with Joanie Combrink, De Klerk Oelofse, Rehane Abrahams, Marelize Viljoen & Shaun Oelf, directed by Nico Scheepers, is nominated for Best Director (Scheepers), Best Theatre Design (Scheepers and Nell van der Merwe), Best Festival Production (debut at Momentum Beleggings Aardklop), Best Ensemble and Best Children’s or Educational Production. It is an adaptation of the beloved children’s book by Marietjie de Jongh, as a magical, multidisciplinary theatre experience for the whole family. Braam en die engel also received four nominations for Woordtrofees at the Toyota US Woordfees in 2023.

Die vegetariër received three kykNET Fiësta nominations: Best Director (Jaco Bouwer), Best Theatre Design (Bouwer) and Best Festival Production. 

Frank Opperman is nominated as Best Actor for his performance in Reünie and Dana Snyman is nominated for Best Newly Written Afrikaans Script, Adaptation or Translation for the same comedy. De Klerk Oelofse directs. Reünie is an Innibos production, supported by NATi and was a top seller at Innibos, Momentum Beleggings Aardklop and Toyota US Woordfees in 2023. 

Eldon van der Merwe is nominated as Best Actor for his performance in Fietsry vir dommies. It is a Suidoosterfees production, developed with the support of NATi, Artscape and the Jakes Gerwel Stigting, originally presented at the first Teksmark Oudtshoorn in 2021, written by Oudtshoorn resident Tiffany Saterdaght.  

Festivalgoers can also look forward to three top productions from the Stellenbosch University’s Première Theatre Festival in 2023. The tragic comedy The Old Man Who Thought He Had a Dog was crowned overall winner here. Merwe van Gent and Angelique Filter are on stage for a hilarious, absurd train ride with a grumpy old man on his search for liberation from his dull, melancholic existence. Also awarded as Best Script, Best Director, and Best Actor in a Leading Role. Su’walla Kassam is a farce with Abigail Cuyler, Abigail Jones, Angelo Bergh, Keagon Cochrane, Mikyall Harris, Matthew Dragner, Sharfa du Plessis and Shaneeq Meniers. In this story the audience enters the Bo-Kaap’s Romeo and Juliet and there are several twists and turns when a couple from different religions are getting married. This play was awarded for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Technical Performance (set and costumes). Incarnations of Sand is an absurd theatre experience that takes a unique look at mortality, connections and above all what it means to be a human. Alet Bruyns and Zara van der Westhuizen are on stage, with script and direction by Dhania Kara Schultz. These runs are supported by the Johann Brink Trust.

The children’s theatre programme, which has a brand-new home in the Feesmark’s Klein KKNK-teater, includes Die rooi ballon, which won a Silver Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in 2023. The award-winning Craig Morris and Casey Sewbaran are on stage, directed by Toni Morkel, for this movement theatre piece. Kosblik, a comedy developed by the Durbanville Primary School, with pupils from the school on stage, is a comedy that tells the story of what happens when the food items in lunchboxes find their voices. Christie van Niekerk wrote the script, and this play received several prizes and nominations at the Tygerberg Eisteddfod, the Parel Vallei Playhouse Drama Festival and the Montagu National Youth Festival, including for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor.

The complete festival programme is available online at www.kknk.co.za and tickets are available from Webtickets. For more information, visit the KKNK’s social media pages, the website or contact 044 203 8600, send an email to info@kknk.co.za or a WhatsApp to 065 285 2337. 

Foto’s: Various award-winning theatre productions are on stage at the 28th in Oudtshoorn.