Nicholas Spagnoletti wins Olive Schreiner Prize

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Robyn Scott and Ntomboxolo Makhutshi in London Road

Nicholas Spagnoletti has been awarded the Olive Schreiner Prize for Drama for his play London Road.

This prestigious award is presented to new writers by the English Academy of Southern Africa in recognition of outstanding original works in English. They must be written by a citizen of a Southern African country and published in Southern Africa and prizes are awarded for poetry, drama or prose. Previous winners include writers such as John Kani and Finuala Dowling. 

Professor Stanley Ridge, President of the English Academy of Southern Africa said “The Council of the English Academy of Southern Africa is delighted to award Mr Spagnoletti the Olive Schreiner Award for Drama. His text displays a sensitive and acute observation of the human condition and it comments on universal themes which unite us. We look forward to seeing many more plays from this rising voice in English-speaking theatre.” 

Since its première in 2010, London Road has received widespread praise and multiple awards. It was the top grossing Fringe production at the 2011 National Arts Festival and reviews have included comments such as, “memorable, mesmerising, magnificent” (Citizen); "... a little miracle." (The Next 48 Hours), and “….simply brilliant... radiates beauty and empathy” (Sunday Independent). 

The numerous accolades it has garnered include a 2010 Standard Bank Golden Ovation award for Theatre at the National Arts Festival; three 2010 Fleur du Cap Awards including Best New SA Script; a Naledi Theatre Award and the Audience Choice award at the PANSA new South African Playwriting competition in 2007 for the original script. In addition it has received two Kanna and four other Naledi Award nominations. 

Nicholas Spagnoletti

“I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the team that has brought London Road to life from the page to the stage. Simon, Lara, Robyn, Ntombi, Craig, Braam and Faheem – thank you,” says Spagnoletti. 

London Road tells the funny, poignant and inspiring story of an unlikely friendship between an elderly Jewish widow and a young Nigerian woman. Their lives collide in a block of flats in Sea Point when circumstances thrust them together, and they take comfort in discovering that common themes unite them. 

“On behalf of the team, I congratulate Nicholas for this award,” says Simon Cooper, producer at KBT Productions. 

The English Academy of Southern Africa was founded in 1961 and seeks to stimulate interest in the English language and its literatures. 

London Road is presented by KBT Productions, written by Nicholas Spagnoletti, directed by Lara Bye and performed by Robyn Scott and Ntomboxolo Makhutshi. Set, props and costume design are by Craig Leo and Lara Bye; lighting design is by Faheem Bardien and original sound by Braam Du Toit. 

It will be performed for the final time this year at the National Arts Festival at Glennie Hall. The schedule is: Thurs 28 at 18:00; Fri 29 June at 12 noon; Fri 29 June at 22:00; Sat 30 June at 18:00; Sun 1 July at 18:00; Mon 2 July at 1600; Monday 2 July at 22:00; Wed 4 July at 14:00; Thu 5 July at 10:00; Sat 7 July at 12 noon; Sun 8 July at 10:00. 

Tickets cost R85 /R70 / R75 PG Language 

Bookings can be made through Computicket. 

For a taste of the production, see the video below or visit


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