Top Performing Arts Schools in South Africa

by Staff Reporter

Do you love the performing arts? Do you want to pursue a career in the production and theatre scene in South Africa? South Africa has several thriving performing arts institutions with esteemed alumni working on Broadway, in touring theatre, local theatre, TV and film.

If you’re looking for a place to study drama, film, dance or music, check out the list below and unleash your creativity. Join the next generation of South African actors and theatre-makers!

Table of Contents

Best Drama Schools in South Africa

Going to drama school enables anyone to explore intellectual, social, physical, emotional and moral domains. Drama teaches self discipline, confidence and team work and develops skills in interpreting, researching, negotiating, problem solving and decision making. Check out our list of best places to study drama in South Africa. 

university of pretoria logo - performing arts school pretoria

The School of Arts’ programme at the University of Pretoria includes acting, voice, movement & physical theatre, directing & theatre-making, applied theatre, radio & TV presenting and writing for stage & film.

In the three-year BDram programme, students encounter modules in screen dance, radio, drama, and other multimedia, augmented and hybrid performance genres. Course fees start at R46 000 per year.

stellebosch university performing arts department

Stellenbosch University offers one programme at an undergraduate level for prospective students, namely BA in Drama and Theatre Studies. This three-year selection programme aims primarily to train well-informed, creative and well-equipped theatre students who can make a meaningful contribution to the theatre industry and related fields.

In the first two years, the programme focuses primarily on drama and theatre in the traditional sense of theatre as an art devoted exclusively to the stage. In the third year, the training also focuses on the performing arts and the entertainment industry in the broader sense. 

Fees to study a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies at Stellenbosch University start at R44 448 per year.

helen o grady performing arts academy

The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy is Africa’s largest drama school. Globally, there are over 100 000 students attending classes each week.

The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy has become the most significant worldwide drama school of its kind. Each academy has a Principal responsible for overall development ensuring that teaching is high quality and that tuition remains reasonable. According to their specific age group, students attend fast-moving classes one hour per week. Parent days and an annual production allow parents and guardians to see the students’ progress first-hand.

Their fees vary according to the length of class and location, so you’ll need to contact their office for a more accurate quote.

figment school of dramatic arts logo

Figment School of Dramatic Arts is a privately owned drama studio providing drama classes as an extra-mural activity. Their lessons are small and intimate to ensure individual attention and ultimate development. Anyone from ages 4 to adults are welcome, and no previous experience is required. Classes are available in Afrikaans and English, and they offer different packages to suit individual needs. They also have an option for online courses.

Their focus is to encompass all the skill sets needed for theatre work, public speaking, film, television, radio, social media, and adverts. Packages range from R280 to R1920 per month.

rhodes university performing arts school

The Drama program at Rhodes University is one of the best institutions for studying theatre and performance in South Africa. The department integrates drama studies, incorporating various disciplines: acting, directing, movement, physical theatre, choreography, applied theatre, theatre design, writing, theatre technology and arts administration.

The Rhodes Drama department is the only South African performing arts school with two affiliated professional theatre companies – the First Physical Theatre Company and UBOM! Eastern Cape Theatre Company. Course fees at Rhodes start at R36 050 per year.

byron bure academy of theatre arts

Byron Bure Academy of Theatre Arts is a boutique school in the heart of Cape Town, offering classes to people of all ages and skills. Extra-mural scholar drama and musical theatre classes are provided for different school grades. Giving students opportunities to work with other students from different schools and backgrounds, a necessary skill for the entertainment industry. Internationally recognised individual tutorials are offered in drama, musical theatre and dance genres. 

Fees start at R300 per hour or packages from R1250 to R2550.

tada acting school cape townlogo

Theatre Arts and Drama Academy (TA-DA!) offer students the opportunity to make their dreams a reality, boosting confidence and self-esteem, giving students a step ahead.

They offer weekly classes specialising in theatre dance, theatre acting, camera acting, radio training, voice acting, confidence enhancement, presenting, miming and public speaking. 

All classes start at R750 per month.

Best Film Schools in South Africa

Are you looking to become a director, cinematographer, producer or camera operator in South Africa? Check out our list of best places to study film making.

ctdps theatre dance and performing arts cape town

The Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies (CTDPS) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) focuses on teaching dance and theatre performance. They view performance as a public platform for contemporary ideas.

The programme includes the entire academic major in Theatre and Dance Studies and requires students to take courses in other departments in the Humanities faculty. Their curriculum ranges from the classics to the contemporary, with Africa as the core theme. 

The cost for this four-year degree programme is R 87 330.


CityVarsity is a tertiary education college that focuses solely on media and creative arts with campuses in Johannesburg and Cape Town. They offer online short courses and full-time courses in the media and creative arts industry.

Their part-time online course includes an introduction to screenwriting, video editing, copywriting, digital journalism and graphic design. Full-time courses include professional animation, film and television, journalism and digital media, motion picture make-up, multimedia design and production, new media development, photography and sound engineering. 

CityVarsity course packages range from R4950 for part-time online courses to R56 808 for full-time annual courses.

act logo 1

Act Cape Town’s dynamic curriculum uses the techniques developed by master coaches in New York and LA. Classes are experiential, providing students with intensive practical training ensuring they are ready to meet the demands of the entertainment industry.

They have small classes which allow for individual attention and create a safe space for discovery and creative expression. Act Cape Town offers a variety of courses from short courses to three-year-long full-time lessons for all ages.

Fees start at R2,750.00 to R 4,785.00 per term. Full-time courses start at R96 990 per year.

SAFATA logo - performing arts school cape town

SAFATA’s unique approach to learning, top-quality faculty and exclusive guest celebrity speakers makes SAFATA more than just an ordinary academy – it’s a life experience.

SAFATA makes it their mission to assist students with career-building and real paid opportunities while studying to have all the necessary tools to graduate. They have four departments; performing arts, filmmaking, tv and film acting and junior programs. . Their Junior Program caters for students under 18 who want to start early with training and earning an International Diploma while in school and to further their professional skills. 

All of their courses offer International Accredited Diplomas and Certificates. You will need to contact them directly for course fees.

AFDA film and performing arts school cape town

Africa Film Drama Art (AFDA) has fully equipped campuses in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. AFDA has produced some of the top filmmakers, performers and creative innovators in South Africa and beyond.The institution has made a significant contribution to developing a sustainable local entertainment industry. AFDA students learn to conceptualise, create and develop indigenous products and commodities for the local and international markets. 

Course fees for AFDA start at R79 615 per year.

wits university logo

The Wits School of Arts offers Digital Arts, Dramatic Art, Film and Television, Fine Arts, Music and Performing Arts.

At Wits you will have access to a wide range of specialised teaching environments including theatres, music venues, sound recording studios, fine arts studios, digital media laboratories, television studios and multimedia libraries. 

Course fees at the Wits School of Arts start at R 49 020 per year.

ACAA Film and acting school in cape town

AACA offers training in film making, screen acting, theatre acting, journalism, advertising, graphic design, interactive media and photography. Their practical courses and mentorship prepare students to easily integrate into the film making, acting and creative media industries.

AACA offers part-time and full-time courses. Their fees vary from R54 430 per month, R15 370 per term, R29 350 per semester or R55 900 once off.

the market theatre performing arts school

The Market Theatre Laboratory trains actors and theatre-makers. Deeply embedded in the ethos of the Laboratory is its commitment to providing opportunities to talented youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to pursue their passion for the arts. They offer part-time and full-time courses. Course fees vary from R2500 to R11250.

creative college cape town logo

Creative Arts College has four campuses across Kwazulu-Natal.  The institution’s courses have a practical focus, giving students hands-on experience with equipment and production simulations. SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) and celebrity guests visit the students to learn and network. Students are also taken out on subject matter excursions to attend exclusive tours and behind the scenes views and information. 

Course fees at the Creative Arts College start at R40 400 per year.

oakfields college for dramatic arts logo

Oakfields College has campuses in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Their classes are small, offering individual attention, and the different faculties integrate to simulate real-life experiences in class. They are registered with the Department of Higher Education offering  short and full-time courses. 

Course fees for Oakfields College start at R3000.

Best Dance Schools in South Africa

Do you enjoy dancing and would like to take it a step further? Dancing explores body awareness, cultural dance history, dance techniques and choreography.  Check out our list of best places to study dance in South Africa.

johannesburg academy for theatre arts

The Johannesburg Academy for Theatre Arts offers quality tuition for children, teens and young people in all aspects of the performing arts. JATA presents group classes in diverse dance forms, individualised acting,singing coaching and Musical Theatre Holiday Clubs! 

All JATA instructors are accredited teachers and industry professionals with relevant knowledge and experience in their area of expertise. JATA’s services contain three areas of focus: Early Stage, Centre Stage and Main Stage.

Fees vary from R480 per month to R1050.00 per month.

Gauteng Dance Studios

Gauteng Dance Studio has over 20 years of experience in giving dance classes to children from the ages of 3 to 18 years. With 5 studios based in and around Gauteng and Centurion, they offer beginner, intermediate and advanced level classes into a year-round program which include exams, festivals and local and international competitions that students participate in.

Fees vary from R1100 to R2200 per term.

Kryptonite Dance Academy

Kryptonite Dance Academy is a dance institution aimed at educating, grooming and exposing the youth to all available opportunities within the local and international creative industry through dance and music. They offer a variety of classes ranging from beginners class to competitive training classes! 

Fees vary from R600 per month to R2250 per month.

Table View Dance Academy

Table View Dance Academy is a dance studio which offers classical ballet classes for all ages. Class work is based on the Royal Academy of Dance examination curriculum, forming the foundation for developing performance, creativity and artistry in dance. Table View Dance Academy is a learner-centred dance studio which uses international contemporary teaching methods.

For pricing and more information on classes, you can contact Table View Dance Academy

John Murray Dance Studio
John Murray Dance Studio

The John Murray Dance Studio specialises in Ballroom and Latin American dancing. Situated in Somerset West, Cape Town, they offer to travel to you upon special request for dance workshops, team building and school educational programmes. They offer private lessons, group classes, short courses, dance workshops, choreography preparation for special dance occasions and many more!

Fees vary from R299 per hour to R1999 per course.

The Art of Movement
The Art of Movement

The Art of Movement is a dance and yoga studio in Emmarentia, Johannesburg established in 2012. They boast a busy timetable of dancing and yoga for both children and adults. Their dance classes include ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, tap and salsa for children and adults. They follow the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing syllabus and partake in competition, exam and show work offering classes for adults and children from the age of 4.

Fees vary from R440 for 4 classes in 1 month, to R2900 per term for children.

Many people tend to think that you should only study music if you seem to have an innate gift for it, but the truth is, anyone and everyone can study music. In fact, studying music, regardless of your musical skill level, has a number of mental and psychological benefits to offer.

Everyone loves music – let’s face it. Whatever the preference of genre is, we all listen to music! But what if you wanted to study the art of music? Check out our list of best places to study music in South Africa.

The South African College of Music

The South African College of Music (SACM) is a department of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town. It is located on the University’s Lower Campus in Rondebosch, Cape Town and and is considered to be the leading music school in South Africa. It offers a diverse range of degrees and diplomas in disciplines including African Music, Composition, Jazz, Opera, Western Classical Music and World Music.

Fees vary from R64 700 for full-time annual courses.

Campus of Performing Arts COPA logo 1

COPA is a contemporary music college that offers courses in Music Performance, Music Production, Music Business and Performing Arts. Each campus boasts fit-for-purpose facilities with a recording studio, a technology centre, a performance venue and facilities to practice for its students. 

Fees vary from R2995 for online classes to R69950 per year for full time.

The Wits School of Music

Wits Music offers an integrated Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree at the undergraduate level, providing students with rigorous training in the disciplines of the music profession, and an opportunity to experience and learn from multiple traditions of music.

Fees start at R6120 per course and vary depending on the duration of the program.

shine school logo

Shine School of Music in Johannesburg is a specialised music school offering courses in various instruments as well as singing, music theory and music history. Whether you are a beginner with no previous music experience, a seasoned musician looking for new musical horizons, or just someone just looking to pick up a few new chords, there is a place for you at the school. 

Fees start at R760 for 2 hour lessons per month.

Cape Audio College logo

Cape Audio College has always been at the cutting edge of the South African music industry. They offer part-time online courses from the introduction to the music industry, introduction to sound engineering and modern music production. Their Modern Music Production course is a 12-week part-time, practical course aimed at teaching the fundamentals of digital music production, programming, business, and publishing. 

Fees start at R16 500 for a 12 week course to R78 400 per year for full time courses.

Study the Performing Arts

Each field of performing arts engages a student’s brain, body and emotions in different ways to encourage their confidence and find joy in self-expression. They build upon their social, emotional, physical and even academic skills resulting in enhanced cognitive, motor and social skills. The performing arts encourage anyone who wants to explore their emotions, expand their imagination and help them develop their own, unique voice.

Turn performance from a passion into a profession with any of these courses. If you need assistance with funding, check out our funding options! 

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