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.
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.
The panel of judges is an impressive one, encompassing all disciplines of the performing arts. This year, the Grade 12 triple-threat scholars will show off their singing, dancing and acting to the following judges: 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; SAMA winning vocalist, producer and composer, Gloria Bosman; and creative catalyst and consultant, Brenda Sakellarides.
ACT CEO 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 learners, 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. “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. “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.”
Generous sponsorship from the NLC, DALRO and the Nedbank Arts Affinity, with support from the iconic Market Theatre, ensures this.
“As a bank that is highly involved in the communities we serve, we believe that the development of the arts is vital for socioeconomic transformation,” explains Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank. “Working with these industry giants, we are confident that we will once again unearth the next generation of South Africa’s leading artistic minds.”
NLC Commissioner, Thabang Mampane, says of their association: “The NLC is humbled to be involved in this project that affords young talented South Africans the opportunity to study and achieve their goals. Support to our youth is support to our future.”
These sentiments are echoed by DALRO. “One of the most effective ways of keeping the arts alive is through this investment,” says Lazarus Serobe, Managing Director of DALRO. “DALRO is proud to be associated with this wonderful initiative by investing in our future stars. Through this, we are helping students shine brighter, like the stars they are meant to be.”
Zama Buthelezi, the Brand and Communications Manager at the Market Theatre Foundation says the Theatre has always believed in the development of performing artists. “This scholarship offers students and scholars a great foundation for their future careers and the Market Theatre is proud to be associated with, and supports, the ACT scholarships,” she says.
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, concludes Jacobs.
The judges will be selecting the winners of the six Grade 12 scholarships on Monday, 10 October 2016, 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 31 May 2016. For more information about the programme, as well audition dates and venues, please visit http://www.act.org.za/programmes/scholarships.html.
Author: Gilly Hemphill
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