Judges announced for the 2016 ACT scholarships


Usisipho Nteyi, 2014 winner of the R 105,000 scholarship. Pic: Gareth Jacobs

THE judging panel for the 2016 Scholarships Programme, presented by the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT), has been announced. Tasked with fast-tracking the lives of young performers, each of the five judges will bring expert guidance to the programme.

The panel encompasses all disciplines of the performing arts. This year, the Grade 12 triple-threat pupils will show off their singing, dancing and acting to: Talent-ETC director and award-winning producer, Jennis Williamson; multiple award-winning local and international star of the stage and screen, Terence Bridgett; actress, singer and cabaret artist, Kate Normington; South African Music Award-winning vocalist, producer and composer, Gloria Bosman; and creative catalyst and consultant, Brenda Sakellarides.

Supported by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Organisation (DALRO) and the Nedbank Arts Affinity, the 2016 Scholarships Programme will change the lives of dramatic arts, singing, dance and musical theatre scholars and students with scholarships to the value of R800 000.

This funding will be split, with R279 000 going towards the winning Grade 12 participants, and the balance being awarded to first and second year performing arts students.

ACT chief executive, Pieter Jacobs, says of the judges: “The Arts & Culture Trust is thrilled to announce this powerhouse-panel, especially at a time when ACT will award more scholarships in one year than ever before! With this phenomenal group of artists on board we have no doubt that the participants will gain a tremendous amount through the process.”

Jennis Williamson says the Grade 12 pupils, who will be auditioning for performing arts scholarships at an accredited South African tertiary institution of their choice, will have to bring something exceptional to the stage.

He added: “I see the X-factor as a combination of the following elements: marketability, discipline, talent, drive and vision.”

Williamson’s advice to the hopefuls? “Stand out,” he says. “Bring something to the table that is completely unique. Perform pieces that showcase your skills, push yourself to new limits and work hard to achieve this.”

Fellow judge, Gloria Bosman, also had some advice to share. She says full preparation is paramount so that there is “no jamming on stage”.

“If one has rehearsed properly, it’s visible,” she says. “A scholarship is not a handout, but it is meant to motivate and aid, so this is not a platform for people who have run out of options in life. It’s for people who believe in the arts and see it as a credible career.”

Kate Normington believes incredible opportunities like these are integral to the local arts and cultural landscape, adding: “Funding made available to industrious and deserving students will push our cultural potential into areas it might not have been able to go; the arts and its various tributaries.”



To ensure as many aspiring performers as possible receive the chance to make it to the final, auditions will be held nationally from June to August.

The judges will be selecting the winners of the six Grade 12 scholarships on Monday, October 10 at the final showcase of their talents at The Market Theatre, Johannesburg. On the afternoon of the 10th the judges will have the chance to sit down with all the finalists to get to know them, interview them and assess their academic potential, business savvy and marketability.

Registrations to apply for the programme close on May 31. For more information about the programme, as well audition dates and venues, please visit http://www.act.org.za/programmes/scholarships.html.



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