Where to Study Drama at a University in South Africa?

If you’re looking to study drama at university in South Africa, there are several reputable institutions offering robust programs tailored to aspiring actors, directors, and other theatre professionals. Here’s where you can pursue your passion:

University of Cape Town (UCT)UCT’s Drama Department is renowned for its comprehensive curriculum that covers acting, voice, movement, and theatre-making. It’s one of the most prestigious places to study drama in the country.

University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) – Located in Johannesburg, Wits offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance, which focuses on both the theoretical and practical aspects of drama, including performance, directing, and stage design.

Rhodes University – Known for its strong focus on literature and performance studies, Rhodes University in Grahamstown provides a deeply immersive drama education, emphasizing both academic and practical training.

University of Stellenbosch – Offering a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies, Stellenbosch excels in providing an education that balances performance skills with a deep understanding of the theoretical aspects of the field.

University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)UKZN’s School of Arts in the disciplines of Music, Drama and Performance Studies offers intensive training in theatre, performance, and screen media, making it a versatile option for drama students.

Durban University of Technology (DUT) – DUT offers a Diploma in Drama and Production Studies which is highly practical and prepares students for direct entry into the performing arts industry.

Overview

When it comes to choosing a drama school in South Africa, each university offers distinct advantages that cater to different aspects of the performing arts. University of Cape Town (UCT) and University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) are often celebrated for their comprehensive and rigorous programs that offer a strong foundation in both the practical and theoretical elements of drama; for instance, UCT is known for its intensive acting and theatre-making courses. On the other hand, Rhodes University and University of Stellenbosch emphasize a more academic approach, with Rhodes integrating a deep literary analysis into its curriculum, which is perfect if you’re into the scholarly side of theatre. Meanwhile, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Durban University of Technology (DUT) provide versatile and career-oriented programs, ideal for those looking to dive straight into the industry. DUT, for example, focuses heavily on production skills, which is crucial for the practical demands of the profession.

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While I wouldn’t advise students to pick a school solely based on prestige—remember, an acting career often depends on natural talent and skills, and many big actors don’t necessarily come from top-tier drama schools.