The deadline to register for an ACT Scholarship is fast approaching. Matric scholars, as well as first and second-year tertiary education students, have until Tuesday, 31 May 2016 to submit their registration forms online.

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 by awarding 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.

To ensure as many aspiring performers as possible receive the chance to participate, auditions will be held nationally from June to August 2016, says ACT CEO, Pieter Jacobs. “Some of the previous winners who are from under-serviced areas is testament that those with less access to opportunities to hone their performing arts skills can indeed make it to the top. This is also indicative of what we are looking for. While well-rounded performances are appreciated, the major criteria are talent and potential for growth,” he continues.

Matric scholars auditioning for ACT Scholarships, which will afford them the chance to take up a performing arts course at any accredited South African tertiary institution, are required to demonstrate competence in three disciplines – acting, singing and dancing – with exceptional talent in at least one of the disciplines.

These triple-threat scholars will be competing to win one of six Scholarships; one worth R105,000, another one worth R54,000 and four more valued at R30,000 each.

Additionally, candidates who demonstrate outstanding potential in one of the performing arts disciplines stand a chance to win one of the following three discipline-specific Scholarships; one R60,000 Dramatic Arts Scholarship, one R60,000 Singing Scholarship, and one R60,000 Dance Scholarship.

The six finalists selected in this grouping will be required to validate their talents at the final round of the programme, which will culminate in a prestigious public showcase on Monday, 10 October 2016 at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.

Students in first and second year of their undergraduate studies at an accredited South African institution during 2016 are invited to apply for a number of ACT Scholarships.

First year students, to commence second year in 2017, will battle it out for the following funding; one R50,000 Dramatic Arts Scholarship, one R50,000 Singing Scholarship, one R50,000 Dance Scholarship, and one R50,000 Musical Theatre Scholarship.

Second year students, to commence third year in 2017, may apply for the following Scholarships; one R35,000 Dramatic Arts Scholarship, one R35,000 Singing Scholarship, one R35,000 Dance Scholarship, and one R35,000 Musical Theatre Scholarship.

Applicants for these Scholarships should be available for the final showcase on specified dates between Thursday, 1 September and Thursday, 22 September 2016.

The ACT Scholarship programme, thanks to the generous sponsorship from the NLC, DALRO and the Nedbank Arts Affinity, with support from the iconic Market Theatre, has the power to change the lives of young aspiring South African artists. Jacobs encourages scholars and students nationally to take up this incredible opportunity. “Many young professionals continue paying student fees for a number of years after completing their studies. Winning a scholarship is a valuable steppingstone that could fast track a young performer’s career and is a chance well worth taking!” concludes Jacobs.

The deadline for registrations to apply for the programme has been extended until Tuesday, 7 June 2016. For more information about the programme, as well audition dates and venues, and access to the various registration forms, please click here.

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the amount of funding available for arts and culture initiatives and to apply these funds to innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured funding programmes, ACT provides support for all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration. Follow ACT on Twitter or like the Trust’s Facebook page.

The National Lotteries Commission relies on funds from the proceeds of the National Lottery. The Lotteries Act guides the way in which NLC funding may be allocated. The intention of NLC funding is to make a difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially those more vulnerable and to improve the sustainability of the beneficiary organisations. Available funds are distributed to registered and qualifying non-profit organisations in the fields of charities; arts, culture and national heritage; and sport and recreation. By placing its emphasis on areas of greatest need and potential, the NLC contributes to South Africa’s development. For more information, click here.

The Nedbank Arts Affinity is a proud supporter of ACT. Since the inception of ACT in 1994, Nedbank has raised and distributed more than R16 million through its Arts Affinity Programme, in support of more than 800 South African arts, culture and heritage development projects, at no cost to its clients. To open a Nedbank Arts Affinity account please visit any Nedbank branch or call 0860 555 111, or visit nedbankarts.co.za for more information.

The Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO) is a multi-purpose copyright society that collects royalties for the use of copyright-protected works on behalf of authors and publishers, which it then distributes back to the correct copyright-owner. As a custodian of copyright and the protection of rightholders’ ’ works, DALRO’s main areas of administration are reprographic reproduction rights (photocopying from published editions), public performance rights (including stage rights for book musicals and dramas) and reproduction rights (whether for publishing or copying) in works of visual art. For more information, please click here.

The Market Theatre is renowned world-wide for brilliant anti-apartheid plays that have included Woza Albert, Asinamali, Bopha, Sophiatown, You Strike the Woman You Strike a Rock, Born in the RSA, Black Dog – Inj’emnyama, as well as the premieres of many of Athol Fugard’s award-winning dramas. The Market Theatre’s history is intertwined with the cultural, social and political struggle for freedom in South Africa. For more information, please click here.