national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


(Phindile Dube from Pinetown Girls High School)

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) in association with DALRO and Nedbank will be awarding R315,000 in Scholarships to study performing arts.

This year’s programme is a one of firsts: The regional rounds attracted participation of more than 180 candidates, the highest number since inception of the programme in 2009 and for the first time regional auditions were held in Kimberley and Nelspruit, extending the already vigorous search for talent, annually taking place in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.

“To cope with the increased number of candidates in Port Elizabeth, an additional day was added to the Eastern Cape tour. Not surprising, it also reflects in the number of finalists selected from this area,” says Jade Bowers, Theatrical Administrator at the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), who served on the panel of judges for the regional rounds alongside Pieter Jacobs and Deidré Schoeman from ACT.

In search of the ultimate triple-threat, regional judges scoped more than 700 performance items, looking for learners with passion and talent in singing, dancing and acting.

Included in this year’s finalists is PhindileDube from KwaZulu-Natal. An ambitious 17-year-old from Pinetown Girls High School, she has appeared in the Young Performers Project’s productions Can You Feel It in 2013 and Footloose in 2014. She scooped first place in the senior category of the Gateway to Fame 2013 competition and went on to perform at the Dolphins by Starlight at UShaka Marine World.

The other five finalists are Katlego Nche from Kimberley; Mphumzi Nontshinga and Mbasa Soga both from East London; Usisipho Nteyi from Port Elizabeth and AnjaTaljaard from Cape Town.

The dedication of the learners is admirable, where judges acknowledged candidates who travelled from small towns and villages to urban areas to audition: “It’s wonderful to see that candidates from under-served areas have a serious appetite for the programme and demonstrated that talent can be found in the most unlikely of places,” says ACT Programmes Coordinator, DeidréSchoeman.

The finalists will undergo rehearsals and training by industry professionals in preparation for their major performance hosted by UJ Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg. An independent panel of judges will decide on three winners of grants to the value of R315,000 in total (R150,000, R105,000 and R60,000 respectively). Winners are at liberty to study any performing arts course at an accredited South African tertiary institution of their choice.

“As performing arts professionals in our own right, we grasp the challenges associated with a career in the performing arts and we took our responsibility as regional panel of judges very seriously,” says Pieter Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of ACT. “There are so many variables taken into account during the audition process. For this year’s panel it was vitally important that the finalists have exceptional talent in the area they wish to pursue further training. A level of competence in all three disciplines of acting, singing and dancing and the potential and ability to grow in these areas were considered. Finally, the marketability of a candidate does and should be a consideration,” he continues.

Maseda Ratshikuni, Head of Cause Marketing at Nedbank says, “The Scholarships Programme is one example of how Nedbank improves the lives of South Africans. We are proud to play a role in the development of the careers of young performers.”

The programme is made possible by funding from the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO) and Nedbank Arts Affinity. The final round is generously hosted by UJ Arts & Culture and is supported by the National School of the Arts, Talent Etc. and The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative. The regional rounds were hosted by Stable Theatre, The Stage Performing Arts School and Theatre, PE Opera House, Church Unlimited in Nelspruit, Mayibuye Arts Centre and the Scaena Theatre in Bloemfontein and was supported by Bay FM in the Eastern Cape.

For more information on the Scholarships programme, visit