Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance


Students have the opportunity to experiment, improvise and express their creative voice in the disciplines of Stage Acting, Screen Acting and Music Performance, with each area consisting of the following:
Screen Acting

To become a screen actor you need loads of passion, commitment, ambition and a hard-core work ethic. Screen Acting requires a physical resilience akin to the stamina of a top athlete who is expected to turn in a record-breaking performance again and again… and one more time with feeling! So prepare to get physical as you work on your fundamental acting skills. Over and above this, there’s the emotional and psychological work. You’ll need to deepen your understanding of yourself and confront both the inspirational and the disturbing extremes of the human condition.

At AFDA, students acquire and develop skills by applying what they learn in class into their term projects or into material given to the student for the sake of the exercise.

In first year, students who take Live Performance do so for part of their first year; and the other part of the year they spend in Motion Picture.

Students embark on their Screenacting journey in their first year of Live Performance by developing an understanding of their relation to the camera while performing. To create this understanding, students learn how to act in specific frame sizes, walk into frame, hit their mark, and deliver ID and Monologue. Following this, Screenacting students expand their knowledge of the discipline by learning how to pick an eye and keep an eye-line; practice reaction shots; deliver an improvisation in front on camera; and deliver a short dialogue to an actor on camera. Students also become familiar with the five beat approach.

From second year, students partake only in the degree they intend on completing. Students who do Live Performance, pick a major and a sub-major out of the three Live Performance disciplines.

Live Performance Screenacting students start off their second year of studies by being introduced to the requirements for performing on a two-camera set. Before students perform on a two-camera set, they learn how to define their role and to incorporate subtext in depth. Students advance their acting arsenal by expanding their understanding of the relationship between performance and the camera, and becoming familiar with substitution versus imagination and set protocols for intimacy coordination. Towards the end of second year, students are introduced to the set protocols for stunt coordination and demonstrate their competency in either stunt coordination or intimacy protocols. As standard, students continuously further their understanding of topics introduced in earlier terms.

In third year, new topics are introduced as well as topics that were covered in previous terms being mastered. Students also complete the two biggest projects of their undergraduate studies in third year, namely their experimental and graduation films. Students who major in Screenacting produce a treatment research document, which focuses on their role in their films.

Throughout the Screenacting students’ studies at AFDA, they are provided with opportunities to act in multiple student films outside of the main project they are involved in.  

When a student completes their undergraduate studies, they have the opportunity to move into the AFDA Honours degree.  Upon completion of an AFDA Honours degree, students who are interested in mastering their craft have the opportunity to move into the AFDA Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.

Screen Acting alumni

AFDA’s Live Performance department has produced a long list of incredible alumni whose faces you may be familiar with. Included in this list are Keenan Arrison, Scot Cooper, Amanda Du Pont, Leroy Gopal, Thomas Gumede, Diaan Lawrenson, Antoinette Louw, Richard Lukunku, Thabo Malema, Shamilla Miller, Shoki Mokgapa, Thapelo Mokoena, Meren Reddy, Xolile Tshabalala, Lemogang Tsipa, Drikus Volschenk, and Thishiwe Ziqubu.

Keenan co-wrote and starred in the Cannes-nominated short film Ongeriewe (2006). The actor, singer and performer has had a successful seventeen years in the industry. He recently featured in the latest Tomb Raider (2018). Keenan’s other work includes Acting in the series Dominion (2014), Our Girl (2014), and SAF3 (2013).

Scot co-starred in the 4th season of the Emmy winning series Homeland (2014), and guest-starred in the popular BBC series Jamillah and Aladdin (2016), with leading roles in the South African feature films Girl from Nowhere (2017),and Reconnect (2015). He also had a supporting role in the Box office hit Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018). Scot has also appeared in over 60 TV commercials, which have aired internationally in many countries. Brands include BMW, Pepsi, Coors Light, Johnsons, Fererro Rocher, Dell and Chase. In total, Scot has acted in over 41 professional screen productions.

Amanda originally gained popularity for her role in Muvhango as ‘Thabisile Dlamini’, but her status as a certified celebrity in South Africa was solidified after she became a co-host on The Real Goboza. Amanda recently stepped into the spotlight again, starring as ‘Ashley’ in the South African Netflix Original series Shadow (2019). Amanda has also appeared in the feature films Hear me move and Between Friends (2014). She has shot numerous commercials for Old Mutual Bank, Absa Bank, Vodacom, Hippo, Shower to Shower and FIFA World Cup. She is a television presenter on Biting About and Man Cave on SABC 3, and lead actress on the SABC 1 daily edu-drama Skeem Saam.

Richard is best known for his starring role as craft market manager Pascal Etana in the Mzansi Magic telenovela Inkaba, (2012-2013). Since graduating he has starred and featured in over 38 professional productions, including: Night Drive (2010), Superhelde (2011), Mister BOB (2011), The Siege of Jadotville (2016), Black Sails (2014), Zama Zama (2012), and The Widow (2019). He was seen in the film Thina Sobabili, South Africa’s official entry to the Academy Awards in the category Best Foreign Film for 2016.

Meren has won multiple SAFTAS, including his most recent nomination for Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy (Thuli noThulani). International work by Meren includes acting roles in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus (2009) and the TV series Homeland (2014).

Lemogang has featured in over 23 professional productions. Included on this list is, Eye in the Sky (2015), The Dark Tower (2017), The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (2019), and Alien Outpost (2014). Lemogang has also acted in the series Homeland (2014) , Jab (2016), Troy: Fall of a City (2018), and Blood Psalms (2020).

Stage Acting

Stage acting has been a part of AFDA since 1997, and it’s become an integral part of the Live Performance department ever since. Stage acting requires students to develop an ineradicable physical and mental stamina. The physical stamina required to move about on a stage for back-to-back hours, and the mental stamina required to practice hours’ worth of lines and character development. With this stamina, students are prepared to take on any stage they step foot on.

At AFDA, students acquire and develop skills by applying what they learn in class into their term projects or into material given to the student for the sake of the exercise.

In first year, students who take Live Performance do so for part of the year, while the other part is spent in Motion Picture.

In the student’s first year in Stage Acting, they learn the language of the stage; defining the stage space; improvisation; the basics of performance; and creating an image. In ‘The language of the set’, students learn about the different planes and zones of a stage. In ‘Defining the stage space’, students become familiar with the geography of the theatre, different types of theatres, entrances and exits, optimal use of stage space, and audience awareness. In ‘Improvisation’, students learn how to incorporate awareness of character, action, and place. In ‘The basics of performance’, students learn the essentials of action & reaction, listening & hearing, looking & seeing, as well as how to meaning out of dialogue. In ‘Creating an image’, students learn how to create an image which define different types of relationships. Later on in the year, students cover the same five competencies (the language of the stage, defining the stage space, improvisation of a scene, the basics of performance, and creating an image). However, in those competencies, students tackle new tasks including marking up a script for blocking; spiking, setting up, and striking the stage; stage lighting; and building to a climax; and about twenty other new topics/sub-topics.

From second year and onwards, students only partake in the Bachelor of Arts degree they intend on graduating in. Students who take Live Performance, pick a major and a sub-major out of the four Live Performance disciplines.

Learning objectives for the second year of Live Performance stage are split between the two semesters of the year. The components covered in second year are: Defining the Role, Developing Motivational Force, Adopting an Effective Personality, Forming a Defined Character, and Acting for the Medium (Stage). Under those topics, students learn how to (and later demonstrate how to) analyse text, identify given circumstances, and analyse beat. These topics are broken down further in class. Students also learn about blocking for character motivation, how to form a defined character, and how to develop motivated aesthetic choices. These topics are broken down further in class.

In third year, students work towards their experimental as well as their graduation project. For the experimental project, students create a 30-50 minute performance piece that explores heightened text and experimentation with form. For the graduation project, students either create, or rehearse and stage a well-crafted and entertaining 45 to 60-minute play that has commercial and artistic appeal, to be presented at a theatre festival. For both projects, students create a treatment document, which focuses on research surrounding their project. As in first and second year, students also participate in classes which focus on introducing new skills and further developing skills introduced in previous years.

Students who complete their BA in Live Performance have the opportunity to further their abilities by participating in the BA Honours in Live Performance. For those wish to become a master of the arts, AFDA also provides an opportunity for that! The Postgraduate Master of Fine Arts is a two year, part-time course.

Stage Acting alumni

AFDA has produced a fine list of thespian alumni. Included on this list is: Liezl De Kock, Hayleigh Evans, Antoinette Louw, Chi Mhende, Shamilla Miller, Nancy Sekhokoane, Orly Shapiro, and Greg Viljoen.

Liezl has won, and been nominated for, multiple Fleur du Cap Awards, as well as international awards at The Amsterdam Fringe festival. She has worked on over 50 professional theatre productions, acting in most of them and also directing a few.

Hayleigh and Orly Shapiro created POPArt: an independent Johannesburg based theatre, production company and performing arts centre. In their short history, they hosted over 250 brand new productions. The concept was noted for its contribution to theatre in 2014 with an Arts & Culture Trust IMPACT award nomination. Having said that, POPArt also walked off the red carpet as winners of the IMPACT awards for 2015.  Hayleigh now works in Facilitation & Teaching at The Market Theatre Lab while at the same time running POPArt on digital platforms.

Greg is a renowned Creative Director currently working at CSQUARED Productions. CSQUARED is an award-winning agency and production company that prides itself on finding a dynamic creative solution to all their clients’ marketing needs. Greg has worked on over 12 professional theatre productions. He’s both written some of them and acted in all of them. He has appeared in over 20 commercials. Greg also writes, directs and produces content for his online comedy channel, Safferland.

Music Performance

Coming soon

Media Presenting

Coming soon


AFDA has a unique learning system that provides students with authentic undergraduate & postgraduate learning environments that are relevant to vocational opportunities, both locally and abroad.


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