The Arts Culture Trust (ACT) in association with DALRO and Nedbank will be awarding R 315,000 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. This year’s finalists are Phindile Dube from KwaZulu-Natal; Katlego Nche from Kimberley; Mphumzi Nontshinga and Mbasa Soga both from East London; Usisipho Nteyi from Port Elizabeth and Anja Taljaard 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, Deidré Schoeman.
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 R 315 000 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.
- Phindile Dube, an ambitious 17-year-old from Pinetown Girls High School in Durban, has played a principle role in the Young Performers Project’s ‘Can you feel it’ in 2013 and is portraying the role of Rusty in ‘Footloose’ in 2014. She scooped up 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.
- Katlego Nche completed grade twelve in 2013 and is currently an active member of the Mayibuye Arts Centre in Kimberley. Katlego was one of three dancers who won first place in the Kemoja Festival’s dance competition last year. In 2014, he was selected to perform at the ’20 Years of Democracy Reversing the History’ exhibition and had the privilege of working with Bheki Ndlovu. He also performed the role of Sir Albert Luthuli as well as Sipho Makhaya in Dr John Kani’s ‘Nothing but the truth’ and is a member of the local choir.
- Mphumzi Nontshinga is a Prefect, the Drama Club Chairperson, and the Deputy Head of the Choir and a member of the Debating Committee of Stirling High School in East London. Mphumzi was part of the chorus in ‘Fame’, appeared in ‘Rock on Broadway’ and performed the lead role of Rolf in the school’s 2014 production of ‘The Sound of Music’. He also portrayed the role of Lefou in The Guild Theatre’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ produced in collaboration with Link FM.
- Usisipho Nteyi won the Best Actress Award for the play ‘Mistaken’ at Alexander Road High School in Port Elizabeth in 2011. The following year she appeared in the musical ‘Evita’, directed by Robin Williams and choreographed by Candice Johnstone. She went on to dance in ‘To The Pointe’ and ‘Queen of Dance’ and also appeared in a number of musicals and plays, among others ‘Back to the 80’s’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Honk’ and ‘Noises off!’.
- Mbasa Soga has been nurturing his passion for dance by learning Hip Hop, Tap, Modern Dance and Ballet since the age of eight. He participated in numerous dance competitions and productions. He is an Advanced Modern Dance, Silver Higher Tap and Advanced 2 Ballet student through the Association of International Dance Teachers. Mbasa is currently completing grade eight at a practical level for flute through the Royal Schools of Music. He is a Grade 12 learner from Selborne College in East London.
- Anja Taljaard completed grade twelve at Stellenberg High School in Cape Town in 2013. She starred in five original works created and produced by The Stage Performing Arts School and Theatre in Bellville and appeared in a Coca Cola commercial screened in Turkey as well as in the second season of a television series for Canada and Britain entitled ‘Beaver Falls’. Anja also participated in numerous competitions. Recently, she was awarded as Best Actress, Best Vocals and Overall Best Performer in The Feather Boa Talent Search.
Author: Gilly Hemphill
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