The Color Purple wins 7 Naledi Theatre Awards

Theatre Producer Bernard Jay has been a theatre maker in the UK, the USA and South Africa for over 50 years.

In 2013, he left his position as Chief Executive Officer at Joburg Theatre and decided to venture out once again as an independent theatre producer.

Since then he has produced the top-selling musicals Sister Act, Saturday Night Fever and The Color Purple and continues to serve as executive producer of the Janice Honeyman written-and-directed pantomimes at Joburg Theatre, a staple annual tradition for generations of theatre supporters, including Snow White in 2018.

In 2012, it became Jay’s dream to produce the glorious musical The Color Purple with an all-South African creative team and cast in South Africa – a journey that has continued for over six years.  In 2017, Joburg Theatre agreed to join Bernard Jay in a partnership to present the show and after intense planning, audiences and critics were astounded by the premier of The Color Purple in South Africa on The Nelson Mandela Theatre stage at Joburg Theatre in February 2018.

To top off the successes of both The Color Purple and Snow White, the theatre community, through its annual Naledi Awards, honoured these two productions with The Color Purple receiving 13 award nominations and Snow White receiving 5 nominations for the 2018 season.  The Naledi Theatre Awards have been in existence for 15 years and are recognised as the Premier Awards Event on the Gauteng Theatre Calendar.

Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay were thrilled by this news and greatly appreciated such a prestigious acknowledgement of their work together.

On Monday May 20th 2019, the Annual Naledi Theatre Awards took place at the esteemed Joburg Theatre and what a night it was for Jay and his team!

The Color Purple walked away with 7 awards including:

Best Musical Director to Rowan Bakker, Best Original Choreography to Oscar Buthelezi, Best Director of a Musical to Janice Honeyman, Best Supporting Performance in a Musical: Female to Lelo Ramasimong as Shug Avery, Best Supporting Performance in a Musical: Male to Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri as Harpo, Best Lead Performance in a Musical: Female to Didintle Khunou as Celie and Best Production of a Musical.

“Joburg Theatre and director Janice Honeyman have brought me both pride and joy in the past twenty years,” says Bernard Jay. “We have created 23 major stage musical productions together in this period. I’m hugely grateful at this time for the continued support from the theatre’s Chief Executive Officer, Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, and its Board of Directors”.

Jay congratulates all those nominated and all the subsequent winners in the various categories at the Naledi Awards.

To keep informed about up-and-coming productions by producer Bernard Jay, follow the page on Facebook: or visit

The Giant of all Pantomimes, Janice Honeyman’s Jack and The Beanstalk, will be at Joburg Theatre from October 30th to December 22nd 2019.  The Color Purple will return to Joburg Theatre from April 2nd to 12th 2020, prior to touring Europe and Asia.

Tickets are available by phoning 0861 670 670, going online at or booking in person at the Joburg Theatre box office.  Theatre patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick N Pay stores.

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