Blaise Koch (1952-2008). Actor, teacher and director.
Born in East London on 20 November 1952, went to a variety of schools, finishing at Graeme College in Grahamstown. Died after a protracted illness in Johannesburg on 21 July 2008.
He published his memoires, In, Around, Through , & Out: An Actor's Life, in 2002.
He studied at UCT and in London.
After working in interior design for a while, he joined The Space Theatre, performing in more than 24 plays for them.
In 1977 he left for the London School of Mime for a three month course and a stint as model in Tel Aviv. On his return he became a full time actor, working for all the professional companies on a freelance basis, though it did include a spell with CAPAB's Youth Theatre and six years with PACOFS, where he did about 50 productions.
Moving to the Cape when the Performing Arts Councils came under pressure to cut back in the early 1990s.
He taught at the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in the late 1990s.
He became a voice coach for a number of SABC television series, notably Egoli. A fine character actor, his more than 260 performances include some of the most memorable plays in the South African canon. ALSO DID Auditioning Angels (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 2003). Wrote an autobiography (In, Around, Through and Out - An Actor's Life) published by Spearhead/New Africa Books in 2002 and became an active AIDS campaigner and a motivational speaker with a speech called "Celebration of a Survivor".
He had a role in the Israeli feature film ‘’My Mother the General’’.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
Performed in 'Tis a Pity She's a Whore (as “Giovanni”), Kennedy's Children (as “Sparger”), Children of the Wolf (as “Robin”), Hamlet (as “Hamlet”), Selle ou Storie (as “Gregory”) Die Belofte (as “Loenidik”), Boeing-Boeing (as “Bernard”), Faan se Stasie (as “Koos Tieties”), Uproar in the House (as “David Prosser”).
Other productions include Pity About People (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1974), An Evening with Marcel Proust, Children of the Wolf, Die Trommel (André P. Brink, directed by Dawie Malan), A Different Shade of Grey, Don’t walk about with Nothing On, Dracula, Eskoriaal, Gameplay, God’s Forgotten (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1975/1976), Strike Up the Banned (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1976), Good Day, It’s My Weekend, Too, Kennedy's Children, Lesson in Blood and Roses, Madly in Love, A Man Hanging, Muzeeka, Old King Cole, Piekniek te Velde, Pity About People and Selle ou storie (Pieter-Dirk Uys), Dimetos (Athol Fugard), Superman, Three's Company and 'Tis a Pity She's a Whore, Die Keiser (PACOFS), The Government Inspector (1980), South Pacific, Skool met Hansworse, Macbeth (CAPAB 1981).
Also the stage manager for Karnaval and an ASM for Muzeeka. - including Moordenaar (19*), Bloodknot (19*), Vettie, Vettie! (1985), Hello Dolly! (19*), Somewhere on the Border, The Merchant of Venice, Dogg's Hamlet- Cahoot's Macbeth, Amadeus, Die Vryerige Spook, Snoopy!!! and Under the Oaks, Over the Hill (Paul Slabolepszy).
Some key performances include the roles of Freddie and the clerk in Good (1990), The Apple Cart (1992), The Normal Heart (1992) Love! Valour! Compassion! (19*), Heliotrope Bouquet (1994), As You Like It (1999), and Romeo and Juliet (2000). He joined the staff of the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in 1998 as acting and voice coach and remained there till 2001, directing and creating a number of cabaret's with students (e.g 3D On Broadway, The Poor Man's Cabaret, and Rendezvous at Café Kum-Hierso, H.B. Thom Theatre, October 1999).
Quoted from the programme notes of The Elephant Man wherein he played the role of Carr Gomm in 1998: 'Blaise Koch is a consummate stage craftsman, with 25 years in the theatre and over 200 productions to his credit. He has performed for most of the South African managements, starting his career at the legendary Space Theatre. Among the many awards he has garnered along the way are the AA Vita Award, the Fleur du Cap Awards for best supporting actor, the Fleur du Cap Award for best director and the Rosalie van der Gucht award for best young director. More recently he netted the Fleur du Cap award for best contribution to a musical with his tour de force Boy Meets Boy. This performance, as well as his intense role as Krogstad in the Baxter's production of A Doll's House won him another two best supporting nominations - an FNB Vita and a Fleur du Cap. One of Blaise's greatest challenges was to understudy both leads in La Cage aux Folles in Johannesburg. He went on to play the lead three times. This was followed by a production of Love! Valour! Compassion! in Grahamstown and Johannesburg. Blaise has, in recent times, directed Blithe Spirit in Afrikaans for Stellenbosch University, where he has finished his first season of teaching drama.'
Winner of many awards, including the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award as Best Supporting Actor for Shaw's Arms and the Man (1991), As You Like It (1999), Romeo and Juliet (2000) and the first winner of the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best Contribution to a Musical or Revue (Boy Meets Boy 1999).
As a director also won a number of awards, i.a the Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for New Directors in 1993, the ** for Bloodknot (19*) and The Dying Breed (Fleur du Cap Theatre Award, 1993), He has twice been nominated for the Three Leaf Award, won the Adam Darius Scholarship to study mime in London.
Nominated Vita (Cape) 1993 as Charmidas in `Die Tou' (best supporting actor);
1993 Fleur du Cap Best Director Dying Breed, Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for young directors same production (1993-4).
Fleur du Cap awarded 1995 for Boy Meets Boy' (best contribution to a musical revue);
Fleu du Cap Best supporting actor: Blaise Koch : Romeo & Juliet (Maynardville 2000).
Nominated Vita (Cape) and Fleur du Cap 1996 A doll's house' [best supporting actor as Krogstad];
Programme notes of The Elephant Man in 1998.
NELM catalogue, various records.
Macbeth programme notes, 1981.
Obituary published in Beeld, 23 July 2008.
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