Explore your options in the creative economy

Undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance

3-year full-time | NQF Level 7 | SAQA ID 35936


The AFDA Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance is renowned for providing students with a rigorous, well-rounded, comprehensive education in live performance. The program is designed to equip students with the necessary conceptual, practical and contextual skills to perform on stage, screen, TV, or within the music industry. What defines the program and sets it apart, is its project-led experiential approach to learning, allowing graduates to thrive in the creative economy of the 21st century.

Unlike in traditional learning spaces, students are not assessed on the knowledge they have gained by means of examinations. Instead, they are assessed by how they are able to analyse and apply this knowledge in the context of creating live performance projects. This problem-based learning assists students in developing their own concepts, then in contextualising and socialising this learning through successful collaboration, integrating their own understanding with that of the team, and finally in evaluating their progress in order to foster a sense of personal development. Also included in this approach, is the opportunity for students to engage with a professional context, applying their knowledge in order to begin thinking about building successful and fulfilling acting careers.

Students enrolling for this degree should have a strong desire to:

  • Develop a culture not only of knowledge exploration, but also of understanding, applying and analysing this knowledge to come up with their own novel performance concepts.
  • Take on multiple roles within creative project teams across multiple content forms, adopting a collaborative learning approach.
  • Be aware of the ethical and cultural contexts in which they work, and the opportunities they have as creative professionals to invest in the world.
  • Apply their knowledge in the context of the live performance profession in order to build successful careers and foster personal fulfilment.
  • Nurture a culture of life-long, deep, relevant learning by continuously reflecting on and developing their progress.




FIRST YEAR: Just Starting Out

The minimum requirement to enter an AFDA Bachelors degree is a National Senior Certificate (matric) or National Certificate (Vocational) with exemption/admission to bachelor's degree, or equivalent.

OR the student may write an Entrance Exam at AFDA (View RPL Process). The AFDA Entrance Exam is a selection process approved by AFDA Senate for degree access. To give a candidate alternative access to degree, s/he can sit for the Entrance Exam and there must be record of it, the recommendation on the individual student from the registered psychometrist must be signed off by Senate or its subcommittee, as per AFDA Entrance Exam policy (in accordance with Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997) Amendment No 1317 in Government Gazette of 5 Dec 2008 number 31674 clause 31). Such access will apply only to AFDA’s programmes, its entrance exam is not valid to another university, and vice versa.

SECOND YEAR: Recognised Prior Learning

You need to have completed your first year degree studies at a recognised institution and have a portfolio or evidence of work to motivate your discipline choices. You will also have to have a full interview.



Course structure

Over the space of three years, students will have the opportunity to discover and explore the world of live performance through the following core areas: Ideation Studies, Contextual Studies, Discipline Studies, Project Studies and Reflection Studies.


Ideation Studies 

Not only will students work collaboratively to creatively engage with and understand the rich diversities of theories surrounding live performance, they will also learn how these contribute to building engaging characters. During this learning process, students will develop the concepts and perceptual capacity necessary to develop their own original, exciting character interpretations. They will do so with an understanding of narrative, how story is informed by conflict and its relationship to the human condition, as well as by exploring and comprehending how story is visualized and expressed through performance, medium, aesthetics and the business of film, TV, stage and emerging media.

Discipline Studies 

Students will have the opportunity to use the knowledge they have gleaned to experiment, improvise and express their creative voice in the disciplines of stage acting, screen acting and musical performance, as well as a choice of various motion picture disciplines. These discipline concentrations, and the perceptual and concrete skills they inform, have been conceptualized in such a way that they meet the ever-evolving production needs of the 21st century performance industry.

Contextual Studies 

Key 21st century skills are covered, such as critical thinking, collaboration, career development and resilience, goal-setting and values, together with an understanding that the landscape of digital technologies for the creative economy is ever-changing. Not only will these skills provide students with a wider scope for future employment, they will also encourage the development of creative individuals who are culturally aware, who have the capacity to exercise ethical considerations, and who are able to successfully integrate their abilities with others in a team.

Project Studies 

Students are given the opportunity to systematically apply the concepts and theories explored in Ideation, Discipline and Contextual Studies to producing a term project. For these projects, different learning narratives are assigned to groups of students sequentially, providing them with the opportunity to experiment and engage with a broad range of performance media. This project-led approach to learning allows students to develop a meaningful and productive relationship with the acquisition of new knowledge.

Reflection Studies 

The production process culminates in Reflection Studies, allowing students to critically reflect on their experiential project-led learning.  Here, students are encouraged to link their theoretical learning and application of their disciplines to their experiences of the real world, mapping their growth and deciding how what they have learned during the creation of their projects will inform their career development, their investment in the world, and their own personal fulfilment.


Students will attend regular small-group tutorials, which forms an integral part of their learning process. In these tutorials, students will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of lecture content, and to critically engage with concepts and projects with the help and guidance of experienced tutors and lecturers – individuals with the skills, understanding and empathy to offer necessary individual support. Tutorials are structured to encourage the sharing of individual creative ideas as a means to a successful collaborative outcome.

Discipline Electives

During the first eighteen months of the program, there are no electives and all students are required to do all three Live Performance discipline concentrations and choose any two Motion Picture Medium discipline concentrations.  All other subjects are core subjects.  During the last eighteen months of the program, students choose one discipline concentration from the two in which they specialised in the second semester of Second Year, majoring in one discipline and minoring in another. 


Study this course at these campuses

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth

Course type

Undergraduate Degrees


3 Years, Full Time

2020 FEES request information apply now


  • To graduate with an accredited and registered degree or higher certificate

  • To be part of an internationally recognized education institution

  • To be empowered with competitive, professional and innovative skills

  • To become part of a network of highly talented artists, entrepreneurs & practitioners

  • To contribute to nation-building by growing the creative economy


Students who Graduated with this Degree

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Ama Uris



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Donné Coetzee



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Gomolemo Noko


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Kelello Moshidi



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Luyanda Mazibuko


Luyanda is a 21 year old singer, songwriter, producer and composer. Her debut EP 'Metamorphosis' is set for release in February 2021....

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Shirelle Daniels




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AFDA is registered as the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, and is a private higher education institution which offers higher certificate and degree programmes. It is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as a private higher education institution under the the Higher Education Act, 1997. Registration certificate no. 2001/HE07/012. Our programmes are accredited and we participate productively in the ongoing reaccreditation and quality assurance processes of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to ensure the quality of our programmes.
Disclaimer: AFDA reserves the rights to make changes or withdraw information or course offers without prior notice. Where possible, AFDA will endeavour to notify all persons and/or organisations affected as a result.