Festival of the Arts – the country’s leading Youth Arts Festival

Winner of the 2014 BASA (Business & Arts SA) - Increasing Access to the Arts Award for its corporate sponsor, RMB!

A fabulous 5-day celebration of all forms of the arts presented by the National School of the Arts in partnership with ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children & Young People) at the NSA and The Joburg Theatre complex. The diverse and dynamic programme of NSA & award-winning professional productions offers something for everyone from 8 - 80!

Annually more than 5 000 learners from across Gauteng (even from Cape Town and Zimbabwe) spend a day at the Festival, entranced by the magical productions and being inspired in their own creativity. Festival of the Arts adds a vibrant and memorable dimension to the high school Creative Arts curriculum.

For Gauteng arts lovers the Festival offers top quality productions at low ticket prices and an enchanting glimpse into the talents of the young people who will go on to become the future leaders and luminaries of the South African arts landscape.

Festival of the Arts is a feast of family-friendly entertainment.

Press Releases

March 2016


Aphelele Chonco (Art 2011) - Fashion Designer
Aphelele Chonco is a qualified Fashion and Three Dimensional Designer and has established her brand Up_phelele. She has a design and overall artistic background, having completed her high school at The National School of Arts, before attaining her Fashion Design Diploma. Aphelele was also a semi-finalist in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer competition in 2015. She is an artistic and 'overly' passionate humanoid.

Arlene Murphy (Art 2001) - Portrait Painter and Teacher of Visual Arts - MA Painting (Wits University)
Arlene's art lessons are a guide for building effective visual arts. These lessons range from preschool to the university level. Her art lessons are planned as per age. These lessons are based on creating art and reflecting upon what they have made and discovering ways to use different mediums as well as the significance and value of art in their lives. (marlendyartscrafts@gmail.com)

Bruce Prins (Art 1989) - Independent Artist
Bruce is currently in the hotel management business in Nigeria as well as Operations Manager & Consultant.

When he was 13 his art teacher entered a lino print impression of the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci he had completed into the International Children's Art Exhibition, hosted that year in Santa Fe, Chile, where he was awarded first prize for his age group. The next year two works were entered into the National Art Competition for Children in South Africa and he was awarded first prize in design for his acrylic work titled "Egypt - The Bible Story".

Through all the years he did paintings ad hoc as mostly gifts or when commissioned by those who wanted to use his abilities. He even did some commercial and interior murals, one which can be seen at the Mercury Hotel in Randburg, Johannesburg.

Carin Olwagen (Art 1997) - Independent Artist
Managing Director at the OAK CROSSING WHOLENESS CENTRE with specializing in Pastoral Counselling

She finished her degree with specializing in Pastoral Counselling, as well as her Bth (Theology diploma). Her studies continued in BA (Psychology Hons degree) with specializing in Pastoral Counselling at UNISA. She is currently busy with her Masters in Psychology with specializing in Pastoral Counselling thesis: "Steering individuals to the discovery of their true, spiritual identity" at UNISA.

Gideon Schutte (Art 1985) - Independent Artist / Graphic Designer
Gideon initiated the whole idea behind the NSA Alumni Art Exhibition and is also the curator. Like any exhibition or venture of public nature, there are costs involved and Gideon is the sponsor to cover the costs by means of the on-line gallery www.artchom.com that exhibits hand-selected fine art from across Southern Africa. Artchom.com has also agreed to accommodate most of the works of art that was donated to the NSA, which could be viewed in the PRIVATE COLLECTION section. There are some amazing works of art and we are proud to present and would like to request each and every art lover and collector to take a look and consider supporting the NSA in a very honourable manner to help us sell these unique works of art. Artworks include names such as John Moore, Margaret Gradwell, Joan Abrahams, Roswitha von Glehn, Michael Canadas, Dingi Roos, Marlene Carpenter, Karen Laserre, Johan Marais and Willem Truter. A great thank you in advance. (www.artchom.com)

Ivy Grobler (Art 1978) - Independent Artist
Visual Arts and Strategic Management (Hons)

Ivy Grobler was born in Welkom, South Africa in 1961. She received a B. Comm and a B.Comm (Hons) degrees at the University of Johannesburg. She recently completed a Visual Arts degree (Hons) at UNISA. She has been active in the property industry for over 30 years as an independent operator.

Her muse is nature. She investigates belief systems. Her artwork reads as an autobiographical narrative that is rendered in a magical realism sensibility.

Linda Hodnett (Art 1981) - Managing Editor of SA Artist magazine

Linda has over 20 years' experience in graphic design, web design and print production. The magazine aims to encourage, instruct and inspire every artist, from beginners to full-time professionals. The SA Artist magazine deals specifically with the visual arts and content includes profiles on South African artists, both established and emerging. Practical demonstrations, 'how-to' articles, features on materials and equipment, and general information will be of interest to people of all ages who are involved in the visual arts.

Same Mdluli (Art 2001) - Art Historian and Independent Artist - PhD in Art History

Same Mdluli has been named one of Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans who makes a difference in their respective fields.

Art historian Same Mdluli is the person you need to accompany you around a local art gallery. Where you see just paintings, she sees the history of how black artists have evolved and their role in either shaping or reflecting the lives of South Africa's black people. Mdluli studied Fine Arts and Arts and Culture Management at Wits University, then earned a PhD in Art History. In between she worked as a primary school art teacher and an assistant at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. She is now a scholar in the arts, specifically in African Art.

She was recently appointed as an advisory member for Visual Art for the National Arts Council, placing upon her an enormous responsibility to contribute in a meaningful way toward the lives of many.

Shannin Antonopoulo (Art 1994) - Studio Operations Manager and Academic Education Manager at Artist Proof Studio

Past: Arts Education Lecturer at Wits Education School as well as course leader for Conceptual Studies and Video Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg. Masters in Visual Arts (University of Johannesburg)

Manage CSI/Funded projects including:

  • Manages the expanding Education Department at Artist Proof Studio
  • Mural projects, art and facilitation workshops with children, corporate clients or communities,
  • Portfolio development with third year students.
  • Partnerships with other NGO's.

Terrence Maluleke (Art 2013) - Student (Animation School)

Terrence received Half Colours for 3D Design during his years at The National School of the Arts. After matriculation he studied at the Digital Canvas Academy, which is affiliated with the Animation School, and currently he is a student at the Animation School.

DIGITAL CANVAS ACADEMY offers classes for any avid artist inspired to start a journey in Digital Art. Classes for scholars and individual artists who want to start nurturing their digital talents for possible careers in digital art.

Thandolwethu Mzomba (Art 2013) - Independent Artist

Currently Thandolwethu is working towards becoming an AFDA student, taking a gap year while saving funds to further his studies. During his years at The National School of the Arts he was the artist for the school's newspaper, NSA RAW.

Warren Louw (Art 2003) - Independent Illustrator / Computer Graphic Artist

Warren specializes in various styles and techniques, illustrating beautiful women, creating character designs, and taking on new and challenging subjects. His art is created on a 24" iMac using Photoshop CS6.

Festival of Fame celebrates up-and-coming arts talent - The Star - Tonight

NSA is ready to perform
JOBURG – Festival of Fame, the country’s leading Youth Arts festival, bursts onto the stage in March at the Joburg Theatre and throughout National School of the Arts in Braamfontein.

As the winner of the Basa Award (Business and Arts South Africa) for Increasing Access to the Arts, the Festival of Fame presents a spectacular line-up of almost 20 productions featuring leading professionals and the cream of South Africa’s future arts icons.

Topping the bill is the enchanting musical, Once On This Island, which received seven Tony Award nominations and won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical on London’s West End.

Directed by Joburg Theatre resident director, Timothy le Roux, and leading professional Tracy Human, this Calypso-flavoured musical is described by critics as 90 minutes of pure joy.

Tthis year, the renowned dance extravaganza, Dance Spectrum, offers dance lovers a special delight with the first-ever staging in the country with excerpts of the spectacular ballet, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, by revered choreographer Petipa, alongside a line-up of other ballet pieces, a foot-stomping new Spanish piece, contemporary dance and, excitingly, the premiere of a new piece choreographed by leading young South African choreographer, Sunnyboy Mandla Matau, of Moving Into Dance Mophathong.

Taking your breath away with magic and laughter is the shadow puppetry animated art exhibition of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes – Cinderella, a must for art lovers and Dahl fans.

Two of South Africa’s most acknowledged new poets, Phillippa Ya Ya de Villiers and Napho Masheane, will lead Weave Up Words, a poetry festival featuring their work, some school set work poems and original works by budding poets.

The daily Rhythm, Rap ‘n Rock lunch hour outdoor concerts will feature a line-up of fabulous award-winning musical talent including Vincent Bones, Tholwane Mohale, Asanda Mquiki, Kay Mosiane and Candice Barnwell.

Drama productions include After Dark in the Groot Marico, The Visit by playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt, the riveting Making Mandela, Last Cow Standing, Sex & Me (a rite of passage tale for our young teens) and a host of new original multi-genre plays.

Jazz, a cappella, classical, rock, hip-hop and a dynamic choral showcase are among the music offerings, and you can even meet the stars.

Festival of Fame is hosted by the National School of the Arts in association with ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children & Young People).

Festival of Fame - A feast of family entertainment
The award winning Festival of Fame will take to the stages of the Joburg Theatre and the National School of the Arts (NSA) from 9-13 March 2016.

A recipient of the BASA (Business & Arts South Africa) Award for Increasing Access to the Arts, Festival of Fame is considered to be South Africa's leading youth arts festival.

With a spectacular line-up of some twenty productions featuring leading professionals and exciting emerging talent, the programme is set to enthral audiences and arts lovers of all ages with an appealling program of dance, music, drama, poetry, puppetry and art exhibitions.

Topping the bill is the enchanting Broadway musical, Once On This Island, which received seven Tony Award nominations and won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical on London's West End. Directed by Joburg Theatre Resident Director, Timothy Le Roux, and Standard Bank Young Artist winner (Dance 2001) Tracey Human, this Calypso-flavoured musical is described by critics as '90 minutes of pure joy'. It is loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Little Mermaid' with echoes of Romeo & Juliet and gives the triple threat learners from the NSA a chance to shine.

The highly anticipated Dance Spectrum 2016 offers a line-up of diverse and exotically titled works with the headline ballet being excerpts from "The Pharaoh's Daughter" in its first performance on a South African stage. It is danced to an exquisite score by Pugni with choreography after the great Petipa. Vanessa Lamb's new work is titled Ballet Fiesta Española and promises to be a celebration. Taking us further into the authentic Spanish vocabulary is Gillian Bonegio's Baile Gitano which literally means "gypsey dancing" and is inspired by the Sacromonte Caves in Granada, Spain - the famed birthplace of Flamenco. Guest choreographer Sonnyboy Motau from Moving Into Dance Mophatong has titled his commissioned work Shall We Dance. The leading work from the NSA's choreographic showcase of 2015, Dance Celebration, is also on the Dance Spectrum 2016 programme and is certain to impress. At the helm of the learner choreographies are Jana Rau, Evelyn Mabikwa and Kamogelo Mofutsana.

Taking your breath away with magic and laughter is the shadow puppetry animated art exhibition of Roald Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes - Cinderella', a must for art lovers and Dahl fans. Two of South Africa's most acknowledged and respected female poets, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Napho Masheane, will lead 'Weave Up Words', which features not only their work, but some school set-work poems and original works by the NSA's student poets.

The daily 'Rhythm, Rap 'n Rock' lunch-hour outdoor concerts will feature a line-up of fabulous award-winning musical talent including Vincent Bones (Idols winner 2014) and Tholwane Mohale (SA's Got Talent winner 2014 and NSA Grade 11 learner)

Drama productions include Tara Notcutt's 'After Dark in the Groot Marico' a feast of Herman Charles Bosman stories set against a characteristic backdrop of love and the full moon, music and magic and just a hint of the Marico's dark and brooding side. The captiviating 'Making Mandela' from the pen of Jenine Colocutt and Nick Warren tells the story of what influenced the rural boy to become a global legend. The production is an imaginative journey through the childhood of Mandela and features colourful characters, evocative masks, colourful characters, emotive sound and exciting physical performances. 'Last Cow Standing' written by and featuring Menzi Mkhwane has been described by Durban critic Caroline Smart as a "Tour de force performance of 11 characters in a riveting one-man drama." It explores the importance and value of cattle in the livelihood of a people. While the allegorical work highlights the abuse of power, complacency and greed, it is ultimately a story of great poignancy, indestructible hope and perseverance. The work comes to Festival of Fame after successful seasons at the Catalina Theatre in Durban, The Cape Town Fringe and the National Arts Festival. 'Sex & Me' by popular theatre makers Clara Vaughan and Craig Morris deals with the subject of sexual awakening through the eyes of a group of high school students and includes a workshop and discussion after the performance.

'The Visit', a tragi-comedy by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, comes to the stage with inventive creative treatment from NSA drama educator Thoriso Rorisang Raphela and effectively poses perennial questions on the nature of justice versus corruption amidst general economic and societal decay.

In an impressive line-up of multi-genre presentations you will find jazz, a cappella, Classical, rock, hip-hop, a choral showcase in its line-up of music offerings. Visitors to Festival of Fame can also Meet the Stars, a line-up of achievers in the arts sector who generously make their time available to engage with the eager Festival audience.

The Festival of Fame is hosted by the National School of the Arts, the country's leading arts school, in association with ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children & Young People) and is made possible through funding received from RMB, the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) and Business Arts South Africa (BASA). Full day passes cost R80; school block bookings R60 and evening and weekend shows at the Joburg Theatre are R100 - R120.

January 2016

National School of the Arts excels again
Another year of 100% matric pass, with 90% Bachelors' pass and over 100 Distinctions for the country's leading arts school.

The National School of the Arts, renowned for its excellence in specialised arts education, has again proved that it is also one of the top academic government schools in South Africa, with its class of 2015 delivering sterling matric results, living up to the titles bestowed on the school by the Education Department of a 'Centre of Excellence in Visual & Performing Arts' and a 'Centre of Academic Excellence'.

The school has been ranked in the country's Top 25 Government Schools, the Top School in its District, in the Top 100 South African Schools which includes all Private and Government schools, several of its teachers are regularly awarded as the top teachers in their subjects and, in 2015, NSA was also ranked amongst the Top 10 Most Innovative Schools in South Africa.

These results and accolades are all the more remarkable for numerous reasons:

  • Some 40% of its learners come from such severely disadvantaged backgrounds that they are unable to afford NSA's modest school fees and they receive little if any academic support on the home front.
  • NSA learners spend 9 hours a week within their academic day on their specialist arts subject (other schools offering arts subjects to matric generally do some 3 - 4 hours a week on that subject), which puts pressure on their academic subjects. Having chosen to attend a specialist arts school they are expected to keep up with their academics, and extra academic lessons are offered two days a week in need.
  • They also have to dedicate significant time after hours to their arts subject, working on productions year-round, performing at universities, corporate events and award ceremonies, and the school's annual flagship project, the award-winning Festival of Fame youth arts festival, requires a substantial investment of time by each learner.

According to Leon van Gent, Principal of NSA, only one learner in the past 17 years failed matric. He suffers from epilepsy and had seizures before some exams, so was unable to write those papers.

He attributes the school's phenomenal academic track record to the fact that NSA learners excel all-round because they able to do what they love every day (in terms of their arts subjects) - and the self-discipline required to pursue the arts subjects to NSA's exacting standards.

"People often have a misconception about the arts and arts schools," he says. "They think our kids just swan around having fun and being outrageous all day. Few people outside the arts understand the intense self-discipline required to master art, dance, drama or music. This discipline, together with the joy of doing what they love, translates to all other aspects of school and academic life."

An important point, he notes, is the school's focus on developing the individual and preparing its learners for careers in the arts. "Our learners are often square pegs in round holes at other schools. Here, they aren't judged. We - and all the kids in the school - recognise that everyone here has some unique talent, something different to others. These differences are encouraged and all potential is nurtured to the fullest. We don't treat our learners as high school kids, but as young professionals."

Clearly this approach pays off handsomely. Currently still studying at the school are the winner of 2014 SA's Got Talent, the runner-up of 2013 SA's Got Talent and the winner of Best Actor in a Feature Film at the 2015 SAFTAs (South African Film & TV Awards). And NSA's Alumni go on to excel in the arts and way beyond. From household names in the arts like Charlize Theron, Bianca le Grange, Vincent Bones, Thula Sindi, Mark Bouwer, Carl Beukes, Lorna Maseko, Kitty Phetla and Karen Zoid, to many international award-winning creative industries practitioners around the world such as an Emmy-winning costume designer, a Bit Award-winning BBC scriptwriter, the lead animator on the Harry Potter movies and other major Hollywood blockbusters, the Best Actress winner at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival, Best Actress in a Feature Film at the Idyllwild International Film Festival (US); from professors and deans at universities around the world and one of Britain's most renowned reconstructive plastic surgeons (who specialised in sculpting while doing art at NSA, and uses this arts background in her reconstructive surgery) to the Director of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences Research at Glasgow University who is also Chairperson of the British Foundation for Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences Research and a young lady who gained a degree in law followed by an LLM in Minerals & Energy who has been ranked as 'One of the 50 Most Important People in Energy in Africa', received the honourary title of 'Global Shaper' from the World Economic Forum and is Special Adviser to the Minister of Energy.

Testament to the value of an arts education, The National School of the Arts not only develops those who go on to be the leaders and luminaries in the arts and creative industries, but also produces extraordinary, disciplined and motivated achievers who go on to shape and excel in whatever their chosen career path.




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