Born In Guernsey, he sang in the church choir as a young man then went to London at age 20. Performed in West End (e.g in The Sound of Music) and recorded with EMI. Also worked for BBC.
Richard was born in Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He worked for a period for a subsidiary of Ford Motors while taking part in many professional productions at the Little Theatre, Guernsey. When he left the Island, he had hopes and dreams and these became a reality as Richard soon achieved incredible success in the entertainment field as singer, movie star and stage actor. .
Starting out with the famous George Mitchell singers in the “Ken Dodd” show in Manchester, Richard went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and whilst working and paying his way through college, joined the Windsor Repertory for the musical version of “She Stoops to Conquer” called Oh Marry Me followed by a season in the West End version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Frankie Howard and Kenneth Connor. He was accepted as the understudy to this role and worked on the production side with George Abbot, Harold Prince and Stephen Sondheim; followed by The Sound of Music and The Student Prince at the Cambridge Theatre in 1968. His first film role was in Oh, What a Lovely War, directed by Sir Richard Attenborough.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
Discovered and promoted by Adam Leslie, he came out to South Africa for a short run to star in The Boy Friend which was staged by the Academy at the Brooke Theatre in 1969. This was his debut on the South African stage, but then went on to become a well known singer and performer in musicals here. His big breakthrough in the eyes of the public came with his role as the narrator in the immensely successful PACT production of the Rice and Lloyd-Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
In the 1980s he founded his own company, Richard Loring Productions, which produced some of the more successful musicals of the 1980s and 1990s, including**, A Touch of Webber...A Taste of Rice (1992), ***, Summer Holiday?* (200*), The Young Ones (200*) , **, . In 200* he produced the enormously successful African Footprint, which toured the world for years.
He was also involved in a short-lived attempt to found a training school for theatre entrepreneurs and technicians at Midrand University in the late 1990s. *
He starred in West Side Story at the Alexander Theatre in 1970, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1974, the American mini-musical Starting Here, Starting Now in 1978, Oh Coward in 1982, Little Shop of Horrors 1985
He starred in Tom Lehrer’s Tom Foolery at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1989. He presented Pump Boys and Dinettes at the Sound Stage Supper Theatre in 1990. He directed Grease which was staged at the Alexander Theatre in 1992. He presented Forever Plaid at the Sound Stage Supper Theatre in October 1993. His We’ll Meet Again was staged at the Sound Stage in 1994.
In 1970, Richard accepted an invitation which was to change the direction of his life drastically. He travelled to South Africa to play Tony in The Boyfriend; Tony in West Side Story and numerous other productions. But it was Richard strutting onto the stage in high heels and odd socks as the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1974) that firmly established him as a top favourite in the musical field.
Emil Nofal, film producer, saw Richard in his theatre roles and invited him to appear in The Winners (entitled My Way overseas) which was given international distribution and has played in over 40 countries. Other film roles: The Baby Game, Bait for Heyns Films; lead roles for Karat Films, Germany – Unser Mann and Omaruru. Richard has also appeared in other films such as Vreemde Wereld (Strange World); Diamond Mercenaries starring opposite Telly Savalas; The Winner 2; and in 1984 in the Jan Scholtz film, Magic is Alive, My Friends.
On the record side, Richard’s first single in 1966 was 16 going on 17 which resulted in a 15 year involvement with EMI International under the Parlophone Label. The theme song from The Winners, Gina’s Theme, was Richard’s first hit in South Africa and its follow-up Beautiful Children, topped the charts for 18 weeks.
Richard has starred in many television shows as well as co-presenting the highly successful award-winning Video Two magazine programme. Richard’s cabarets have included top night spots in South Africa and the surrounding areas. Richard was also the first “South African” to be invited to perform on the QE2.
It is perhaps production-wise that Richard is most strongly respected in his adopted country of 38 years, South Africa. In 1983 he teamed up with Debbie Batzofin and drawing on their wide range of experience, they produced specialised entertainment and major events for corporate clients. They later saw a niche in the South African theatre industry and acquired a theatre space in Midrand in 1989, providing the Johannesburg audiences with a dinner/theatre venue, The Sound Stage Supper Theatre. Opening with We'll Meet Again. Nineteen years later decided to close the venue as he was given a three year contract as Consultant/Producer at the new Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City Casino.
Richard, recognized as a leader in his field, decided, whilst visiting long-time friend, Sir Cameron Mackintosh in Australia, to see a final performance of “Tap Dogs” in Sydney, and that set Richard on a path to create a truly “Made In South Africa” product, resulting in African Footprint, with its World Premiere taking place in front of President Thabo Mbeki in May 2000. Previously, excerpts of the show were performed live in front of the president, Nelson Mandela and other esteemed guests on Robben Island as part of the Millennium Celebrations.
The Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City Casino became the home of African Footprint” where it played for some 6 years. During that time, up to 3 companies were in existence and they toured worldwide. One of the highest honours Richard has received was when African Footprint was invited to participate in the Royal Variety Performance in the presence of HRH Prince Charles in London in December 2000 and then in 2004 for the Duke of Edinburgh at St James’ Palace in London. The show has toured to Australia, Europe, China, India, Israel, the USA and Mexico.
In 20** he and his wife left Johannesburg to settle in Gordon's Bay and in 2012 he opened Richard's Supper Stage and Bistro in Sea Point. The opening show was Kaapse Stories of the Mother City, which he produced and performed in (2012).
An active charity man, Richard’s work has seen various charities benefit from putting together the first All Star soccer game at the Orlando Stadium in the ‘70’s to raising monies for the Theatre Benevolent Fund, Midrand Crisis Centre, Hospice and others. Richard has served as Charter President of Midrand Rotary, was Chairman of the Theatre Benevolent Fund, Chairman of the Theatre Managements of South Africa and is a Member of the Order of St Johns.
Richard is a devoted family man, married Jeanette Lrong in 1983 and they have two daughters, Samantha (a CNBC - Africa presenter) and Natasha (an actress, based in London). He has always firmly believed that “Life is a Journey, not a Destination” and actively lives out that philosophy.
Stars for a Star Award, 1993.
Richard received a Naledi Award Lifetime Achievement in 2009.
SACD 1973; 1975/76; 1978/79; 1980/81.
Various entries in the NELM catalogue.
The Citizen, 8 March 2010.
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