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2023 Standard Bank Ovation Awards Winners

Published on 2 July 2023

Winners Of Standard Bank Ovations Awards 2023. Image sourced by Standard Bank Arts Twitter Page.

23 June 2023:

Standard Bank Ovation Awards were awarded daily throughout the Festival:

23 June 2023

On the Flip Side

Can of Worms SA

The energetic musical ensemble Can of Worms SA, performed breathtaking hits written and composed by them in their performance titled On the Flip Side. Using their drum kits, bass and electric guitar,  the multi – instrumentalists switch through their instruments playing World Music, Afro – Fusion and Folk Rock sounds. A real showstopper by the Can of Worms, bringing tribal rhythms into the ears of their audiences.


Iva Collective

Turning Tides

Another musical ensemble that caught our reviewers’ attention is the Iva Collective. They gave our reviewers and the rest of the audience an exquisite musical experience with their soulful performance titled Turning Tides.


Stirling High School

A group of teenagers from Stirling High School took to the stage as they showcased their theatre production titled Missing. Police officers, late-night scenes, and “an anniversary of the disappearance of several young women” created suspense, as a serial kidnapper attempts to claim their next victim. 


Can’t Stand Still

The Outlore

Portraying the possibilities of exploring our talents, the dance performance Can’t Stand Still by The Outlore illustrated how school learners struggling with academics and concentration in class can succeed with dancing and choreography. A great show that portrays how children should explore their various talents, and the positive results that come from following your dreams.


Trash Mouth

Kate Pinchuck

Comedian Kate Pinchuck finds it challenging to filter her mouth in her show Trash Mouth, but managed to trash talk her way into winning a Standard Bank Ovation Award.

Missing by Stirling High School. Image by Mark Wessels.
Can't Stand Still by The Outlore. Image by Mark Wessels.

24 June 2023

The Great Big Enormous Turnip


Inspired by a Russian folktale, a man and woman in their old age took to the stage in The Great Big Enormous Turnip. Through mime, mask, and commedia dell’arte, the Theatresmiths gave a great performance. 


Ripe ‘n Ready

Pichi Keane

Pichi Keane gave an astounding musical performance in Ripe ‘n Ready. A spicy but hilarious performance leaving you in love with the charming, flirtatious drag queen 


Amy Winehouse – The Diva and her Demons

Wella Kapela Productions

Commemorating the late Amy Winehouse, Wella Kapela Productions performed some timeless tunes at their musical performance, Amy Winehouse – The Diva and her Demons.

Pichi Keane in Ripe 'n Ready. Image sourced from Cue.
Pichi Keane in Ripe 'n Ready. Image sourced from Cue.

25 June 2023

Pen(t)s Down Haha!

Rhodes University Drama Department

The Rhodes University Drama Department portrayed how social media influence is not only about the glitz and glam in a play titled Pen(t)s Down Haha! A magnificent edutainment play relatable to most young people, it tells a story about a social media influencer who finds herself stuck in addiction due to her lust for societal affirmation.


A Vegan Killed My Marriage

MacBob Productions

In an attempt to save the world one vegetable at a time, MacBob Productions delivers amazing comedic theatre in this tale of how a “King of the Braai” transitions into being a vegan. A great show that portrays how the meat industry plays a role in the increasing climate catastrophe and why people choose to become vegans. 


The Kings of Broken Things


The multi-award-winning weaves through ancient Japanese traditions, mythology and dreams to remind us of the magic we so easily forget. Bringing our audiences immensely in touch with their past, present, and future.


Land of Nonesi

Isomi Creative Arts Space NPC

Taking over the reins of her late husband, the queen of Thembuland is challenged by white farmers who are determined to have her and her people leave their land in a theatre drama titled Land of Nonesi. A story intrinsic to the Eastern Cape and well performed by the Isomi Creative Arts Space NPC.




Bringing meaning into music, the musical ensemble PentaFusion performed the musical titled Wilderness. An adventure through different sounds, moods, and feelings, Wilderness tells multiple stories through music.

Image of The Wilderness sourced by Cue.

26 June 2023

Second Hands

Rhodes University Drama Department

The Rhodes University Drama Department portrays a shebeen tale titled Second Hands. Five drunkards struggle to keep up with a secret, and when they attempt to find out more about this secret they end up disclosing their most kept secrets.


Legendary Queer Sisters

Emmanuel “E’mma” Rattle

Emmanuel “E’mma” Rattle gave us an outstanding theatre performance that educates us about societal challenges such as rape, murder, and the day-to-day life of being part of the LGBTQI+ community in a beautiful musical and dance narrative titled Legendary Queer.



Sonwa Sakuba Institute for the Performing Arts

A meaningful journey is ahead of the abaNguni tribe seeking to reconnect with the “lost spirit of ubuntu” in a dance production titled Abangoni. The Sonwa Sakuba Institute for the Performing Arts portrayed a spiritual journey and a quest for their indigenous land, faced with tribulation and dark spirits.



Places and Faces Theatre Productions

Three hostel dwellers, who are also best friends, receive the shock of their lives when one of them gets a surprising update from their long-lost lover that has won the lottery. In a theatre production titled Amagrootman,  Places and Faces Theatre Productions portray how a man anticipating a visit from his long-lost lover is frustrated by his dysfunctional manhood.



Stuart Taylor

Taylor Made Productions helped clear away the gloom with Laughable. Stuart Taylor took us on a humorous journey through overcoming his childhood debacles and building his own family.



Keen Visuals

Pumla dwells on self-introspection, ancestry, the exploration of spirits, and a portrayal of love and betrayal.

Image of AmaGrootman sourced by Cue.

27 June 2023

Kwantu – in Concert

KWANTU Designs

Makhanda’s local choir, KWANTU Designs, displayed a sophisticated performance in their show Kwantu – in Concert. Melodic hymns from the choir left the reviewers impressed, thus landing them a position in the Standard Bank Ovation Awards.


The Agents

Robaby Productions

From greedy landlords to clueless homebuyers Robaby Productions displayed a humorous critique of the housing industry in The Agents.



The Market Theatre Laboratory 

The Market Theatre Laboratory’s take on growing up in modern-day South Africa with the challenges of social media, the sense of belonging in a group of friends, and the pressures of school. We witnessed how modern-day teenagers deal with societal pressures through the dance and musical performance Kidding




A little boy is despised by society due to his unusual characteristics. In this theatre performance, we see how society shatters people born with challenges. However, Jakob manages to overcome this exclusion by finding love and light and portrays it through indie theatre that consists of technical theatrics and lyrical prose.


Adventure of Who


In the Adventure of Who, a child embarks on a magical quest, and encounters the supernatural. This quest is meaningful to the child as she seeks to make a name for herself. However, she is exposed to some whimsical characters and hidden secrets.  

The Agents. Image by Mark Wessels.

28 June 2023

Ashes to Ashes 

Nobesuthu Jennifer Ndlovo

Ashes to Ashes is a heartfelt poem of a little child traumatized by domestic violence. A sensitive but important topic, this play aims to portray the impact domestic violence has on its victims, being insurgents to this horrible crime that keeps on increasing in our society. Magnificently performed by Nobesuthu Jennifer Ndlovu, this poem signifies how art raises awareness. 



Macbob Productions 

The KwaZulu-Natal guide to surviving pickpocketing, hijackings, and assassinations prone to this province. In a comedy play called Bulletproof, Macbob Productions gives us 101 of surviving this crime-infested province and the rest of South Africa. After attending this performance, the audience learned a thing or two about how to avoid South Africa’s transgressions. 



Khanyisa Bunu

Khanyisa Bunu saves the day in the comedy play, Superwoman, a guide to living safely in South Africa. Khanyisa Bunu uses her unfiltered wit to convey South Africa’s ups and downs.


As You Like It

Baked Shakespeare

In the theatre performance, As You Like It, Baked Shakespeare took to the stage and did just that, smoked weed and performed Shakespeare. Being highly interactive with their audience, everyone in the venue could pause the performers so that they can have a moment to smoke.


I Am Still Here 

Wela Kapela Productions

A group of friends try to figure out life together in I Am Still Here. Wela Kapela Productions portrayed how a group of four girls with different personalities managed to navigate through their first year. A tough but fabulous journey navigating numerous obstacles and debacles. 

As You Like It: Baked Shakespeare. Image by Mark Wessels.

29 June 2023

Stivovo The Puppeteer

Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation

Stivovo The Puppeteer is a theatre play about a man without a plan. Being an unemployed graduate and a father-to-be, Stivovo from Thembisa has to make ends meet for himself and his girlfriend who he is cohabiting with. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic makes it even harder for the unemployed father as the lockdown restrictions hinder his day-to-day hustle.


Red Balloon

National Childrens Theatre 

The National Childrens Theatre creatively portrayed how friendship is established, and loneliness is ceased in their performance, Red Balloon. Using his imagination, a lonely old man finds himself out of the depths of loneliness and finds a friend in a red balloon. A great production filled with comics, mime, and fascination.


2 Lovers

Fool’s Errand

2 Lovers is a tragi-comedy that will either make you laugh or leave you in tears. Fool’s Errand has conceived an exceptional play depicting a love-hate relationship between two lovers, Annabel and Dave. One moment they are in love, and the next, they are sworn enemies. Either way, they managed to give a great performance, leaving numerous thoughts and emotions running through the minds of their audience. 

01 July 2023


Conrad Koch & Chester Missing

Comedian and ventriloquist Conrad Koch tags along his mystical friend, Chester Missing, who happens to be a puppet in their comedy debut Baggage. Touching on multiple topics the two discuss Conrad Koch’s debacles and Chester Missing cannot help but to find humor in his master’s problems. This performance was a great way to find out about Conrad Koch’s baggage.

Namaste Bae: Blessings and Kombucha 

Rob van Vuuren 

Actor and comedian Rob van Vuuren gives us an insight into his life as seeks greener pastures and a better version of himself in Namaste Bae: Blessings and Kombucha. In the process of finding himself , Rob van Vuuren also invited his audience into a moment of healing and restoration.

Azania Was My Woman

Nyathela Works 

A troubled soldier finds it hard to come to terms with the loss of his loved one in the theatre performance Azania Was My Woman. Having to immigrate from his indigenous land, the soldier faces a moment of affliction and betrayal as he gave his heart and soul in serving this country. A sad and mentally frustrating moment for this soldier in mourning and the best way to portray is through performing.


Creative Arts Department Unizulu

Having to choose between comfort and safety, a lady leaves her luxurious home filled with constant  abuse and finds peace by residing at a bus stop. The theatre performance, Faces, by the Creative Arts Department Unizulu told a story of a lady who had the courage to escape the depths of abuse from her father even if it meant having to lose all the materialistic benefits that came with the abuse.

The Hymns Of A Sparrow


Having to protect his beautiful garden, a man is forced to confront cattle owners about their cattle who cannot stop picking from his garden. In the drama theatre The Hymns Of A Sparrow, an old man who is fond of his garden is challenged with letting go of his most precious memories.

The Stories We See

Run Completed 

In the spoken word theatre production, The Stories We See, we are exposed to communication that has no limitations. This production uses sound and objects to share communication techniques for the visually impaired. A great performance advocating for inclusivity amongst the disabled.

Dear Tata, What Makes A Man

Sonwa Sakuba Institute For The Performing Arts 

Exploring the journey of manhood, Dear Tata, What Makes A Man is the story of a black young man and the relationship he has with his father. Through music and dance, we see how a man seeks to liberate himself from societal standards and expectations of being a black man. Identity, self worth and sexual liberation is explored in this performance.

Conrad Koch & Chester Missing.
Azania Was My Woman by Nyathela Works.