Dr Z Pallo Jordan on Handspring Puppet Company on Winning the Evening Standard Theatre Award in London

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28 Nov 2007

The acclaimed producers of Handspring Puppet Company have, once again, been bestowed with an international recognition, The Evening Standard Theatre Award for the Best Design for “Warhorse.” They share this prestigious Award with Rae Smith.  

Of course, countless arts lovers, especially theater, are proud and happy for this splendid achievement. In fact, we deeply honour the founders and producers of Handspring for not only their vision and resilience but making an excellent contribution to indigenous cultural production that has captured the imagination of the world.

Their achievement has not only put this country on the global map but reveals the now obvious fact that South African talent is of world standard, if not above.

The winning of the Evening Standard Theatre Award for the Best Design marks a turning point in how indigenous creativity, especially cultural production and export, shall be perceived by the world.
Handspring Puppet Company was formed and launched in 1981. The best thing to say is simply, “Carry on!”

Ever since they first took global center stage in France, with “Episodes of an Easter Rising” in 1985, the whole world has been enthralled.

Both founding members, Adriaan Kohler and Basil Jones epitomize the unmistakable winning streak of indigenous South African work. Few would doubt that they are the toast of the world, especially since 1992 when they began collaboration with renowned artist William Kentridge.

Although they are spiritually and physically rooted in South Africa, they are cosmopolitan creative artists who, now, have the world eating out of their hands.

Of course, it is a great honor for our leading African cultural producers and creative artists to receive recognition and reward in London, United Kingdom.  They possess the intuitive connection that is not only inspired by the South African Story but fuses it with complex world trends and creative outputs.

Significantly, our own people and the international film community have, so far, voted with their feet, receiving their output with critical acclaim because its cultural offerings resonates in the hearts and soul of human kind.

Above all, Handspring is about the triumph of the human spirit, the resilience of highly gifted African intellectual to give the world and humanity the best of what they have to offer.

Thus, no single award in the whole world can reward artists of the caliber of Kohler, Jones or Kentridge. Instead, they have taken it upon themselves to give the world the best of their souls.

There is no doubt that Handspring’s winning The Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Design prize has truly raised the flag to the acknowledgement and recognition of South African imaginative talent and creative cultural production.

We are thankful to all the judges.

The prize opens up opportunities for South African talent to shine and draws international attention to our outstanding talent and what our beautiful country has to offer to the world.
It is a matter of great national pride to the Ministry of Arts & Culture to have our artists granted this prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Award which they now enjoy and share with some of the greatest theatre artists from around the world.

Most important, it must be made clear that this award cannot only belong to these three outstanding individuals in a personal way. The nameless and faceless millions who have inspired their stories are again witness to the fact that we must keep working and walking.

It is the outstanding vision and example of such caliber of artists that will breed a new generation of African world class creative artists who will take their rightful place on the world stage.

They reflect and affirm the government’s vision to build a non-racial society where our artists can nurture a spirit of national unity, transform our society and use cultural production and performance as a tool for economic self-sustenance and independence.

We congratulate Handspring for being nominated and winning The Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Design on 27th November 2007 in London, United Kingdom.

There is no stopping South African talented artists, now!


For further details call: Sandile Memela, Spokesman for the Minister of Arts & Culture at 082 800 3750 or Premi Appalraju, Media Liaison Officer at 082 903 6778.