Our Vision

Cultivating Performance Excellence

Our Mission

To discover, nurture and advance artistic ability in our students. To provide opportunities for students to share talent with an active audience. To protect, guide and assist students in developing a viable and sustainable creative career.

Our History

Founded in 2007, Durban Actors Studio started life as Rising Star Performing Arts (RSPA) Theatre School. Our first class was held in 2007, and we had 5 students. Since then our programmes have grown from strength to strength. On average we see over 300 students attending various classes each week. 

We have a strong track record with the renowned and internationally respected theatre school, LAMDA, London Academy of Music ad Dramatic Art, having taught their syllabus for 10 years and receiving, year on year, 100% pass rates with many receiving Distinction passes in the fields of acting, musical theatre and mime.

In 2016 we re-branded as Durban Actors Studio, a name which uniquely identifies our position in the Durban, Kwazulu Natal Performing Arts field. We want students to create new, engaging pieces of theatre, we want students to create a sustainable career, we want students to be a new generation of theatre goers who support the arts in all its varied forms, we want to be THE training centre responsible for “Cultivating Performance Excellence”.

We help develop the skills you need to be a creative, skilled and diverse individual working towards a viable and sustainable career in the arts;on stage, back stage, on camera, and on paper. We stage various productions throughout the year; from dramas, to musical theatre, to talent showcases and reviews.

We offer career advice to students and, whilst we are not a casting agency, casting directors and producers do contact us directly looking for featured talent because they know the level of skills we impart in our students. We only promote these casting and audition opportunities to students; people whom we know will meet performance expectations.

Our students have performed in professional stage productions locally, nationally and internationally, been cast in national and international movies and TV advertisements. They are some of the voice over talent you hear on local radio and officially represented South Africa, performing at the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, alongside the National Scottish Youth Theatre.

Our Teachers

Gill Brunings 


Gill Brunings started her love of theatre at a young age, having appeared in her first Musical Theatre production, James and the Giant Peach, at the Theatre Royal at the age of 9. After completing her secondary education Gill furthered her training and completed a B.Tech Performing Arts and acting training via London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).  Gill continued performing professionally after her studies and has undertaken various work; from dramas to musical theatre to pantomimes. Gill is also a published script writer and has most recently been awarded second place in the Trinity College London, International Script Writing Competition. Gill moved to South Africa in 1997 and opened Durban Actors Studio in 2007.  Via Durban Actors Studio, Gill wants to give all children and adults of Durban a safe and nurturing space to be used to explore and develop talent whilst still being able to study and/or work and fulfill family responsibilities.

Nicole Theunissen 

Studio Manager

Nicole holds qualifications in BDram (Stellenbosch) 2009, BA Hons Drama (Rhodes) 2010, MA Drama Choreography (Rhodes) 2012. Nicole has both practical and academic experience in theatre and the dramatic arts, with a specific focus on Choreography and Physical Theatre. She has created and performed in works for the National Arts Festival and the Baxter Dance Festival during the course of her studies. During her postgraduate training, she served as a Graduate Assistant in tutoring undergraduates. Upon completion of her MA, she spent one year as lecturer in the University of Zululand’s Creative Arts department. 

Sanele Sibiya 

Drama Teacher/Vocal Coach

Sanele holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Drama Performance Studies. Sanele (or Sunny as the kids fondly call him) is a dynamo! His CV is overflowing with professional training credits and experience, this includes: choreographer, scriptwriter and co-director for Northwood High School Musicals. Artistic Director of the 2013 KZN Youth Choir Fundraiser concert. A member of the KZN Youth Choir. Flatfoot training company. Performed vocals for the Durban City Orchestra. Performed in the Grahamstown Arts Festival. Facilitated the Felixton High School Arts and Culture workshop. Co-company Manager for Young Performers Project 2014: Footloose. PANSA member. 

Sam Freese

Drama Teacher

Sam’s passion for drama, dance and singing started at a young age when she joined Performing Arts Centre of Education (P.A.C.E) with Pat Fox and Dawn Harrison. From the ages of 12 to 17 she performed in numerous productions at the Natal Playhouse, taking on many principal roles.  After finishing school, she studied “Film, Television and Media” whilst keeping involved in live theatrical performances via amateur performance troupes and broadcasting work for 919.9Rockfm. Sam is the mother of a beautiful boy and currently studying towards her Asssociate Drama teaching Diploma