Alan Swerdlow

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Alan Swerdlow (19**-). Stage, television and film actor, director, radio presenter, theatre reviewer.


He studied at the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Cape Town (under Robert Mohr}.


Since completing his post-graduate studies at UCT's Little Theatre, he has acted, written or directed for most of the theatrical managements in the country, among them PACT (pre-1981), Market Theatre and Pieter Toerien's company. Worked for the People's Theatre Trust.

He then became a member of that exciting and motley troupe that helped set the Market Theatre on its road to world recognition. From there to PACT, to SABC, to Pieter Toerien’s company as one of his principal directors and now offering his theatre skills to Cape Town Opera

He was a founder member of the Young Market Company and as a freelance actor has performed in a variety of roles.

In 2004 he was the Arts and Entertainment Specialist for the national radio station Safm 104-107 and crossed the floor to hard news as deputy on AM Live.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

As Actor

He has appeared on stage in productions of Macbeth (1981), Hardy Folk (at the Market Theatre), Holy Moses and All That Jazz (with Young Market), Hail Wedded Love (at the Baxter Theatre).

He starred in Giles Havergal’s Travels with my Aunt at the Leonard Rayne Theatre in August 1994.

Other productions include Jeeves Takes Charge (for Pieter Toerien); Hamlet, A Christmas Carol, Don't Drink the Water, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (CAPAB and NAPAC).

As Director

Alan is one of South Africa's most highly regarded theatre directors. Moving with equal facility from small one-man shows to dramas and large-scale musical extravaganzas. Among his many successes are shows as different as Neville's Island, the smash hit A Handful of Keys, Amadeus for the State Theatre and The King and I for PACT Opera. He directed Yasmina Reza's Life X3 for Daphne Kuhn's Theatre on the Square and Troupe Theatre Company, and the 25th Anniversary revival of The Other Side of the Swamp for Pieter Toerien Productions. Other productions that Alan has directed for Pieter Toerien include Jeeves Takes Charge (1993), The Sisters Rosensweig (1995), What a Carry On!, HRH, The Book Club, the acclaimed Amy's View, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and Maybe Baby, It's You.

He assisted the director for a NAPAC production of Musical Trilogy.director (NAPAC).

He directed Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby, Being Alive, Open a New Window, Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story, Honour (2004) and two gala extravaganzas for Artists Against Aids.

As Writer and translator

Alan wrote the play Four Stops on the Northern Line and wrote the script of the musical Streets of Gold.

He translated Joshua Sobol’s Ghetto which was staged by PACT and Moira Blumenthal in 1991.

Awards, etc

In his final year at UCT he was nominated for the Three Leaf Award as the most promising student.

To be added

Directed The Odd Couple (1997); The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband (2003), Honour (2004), Good Evening (2007), Pythonesque (2008), God of Carnage (2009), Perfect Wedding (2011), Nunsensations, The History Boys (2011); Tell Me on a Sunday, Maybe Baby, It's You (2002), The Book Club (1999), HRH, Some Girl(s), Morecambe, Ying Tong - A Walk With The Goons, The Mousetrap (2011-2012), Educating Rita, Mass Appeal, The Blacks directed by Dieter Reible assisted by Alan Swerdlow. (NAF 1989)

Starred in Travels with my Aunt in 1994 and directed a production of the play in 2009.

He reviewed theatre productions, such as The Bells of Amersfoort,

Robben Island: a dramatised documentary based on historical records and testimonies of prisoners written by Jürgen Schadeberg- Broadcast by the SABC's Monday Night Playhouse in November 1992 and March 1993. Production dir. by Alan Swerdlow.

Starred in Up 'n' Under (1991), Hail Wedded Love (1979), A New Birth (1982), Side by Side, Their Faces Blurred (1986), The Grapes of Wrath, Hardy Folk, Outside Edge, Holy Moses and All That Jazz, Alibi, Hard Times, Mrs Kaplan and the Witchdoctor, Animal Farm, The Front Page, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Another Country, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Royal Hunt of the Sun (as Pedro), Present Laughter, The Rivals (as Fag, PACT 1983), Hamlet (PACT 1978), Macbeth (CAAPAB 1981).

He won a Naledi Award in 2004 for the sound design of an unnamed production.

Nominated Naledi Award 2003 Best director of play or musical: Alan Swerdlow for Honour; 2006 Best director of play or musical: Alan Swerdlow (The 39 steps); 2011 Best director of play or musical: Alan Swerdlow (The history boys); Fleur du Cap Swerdlow, Alan in `Travels with My Aunt' (best supporting actor, 1995); director:; Alan Swerdlow: Good evening (2008); Best director: Swerdlow, Alan: God of carnage (2010); Best director: Alan Swerdlow (Constellations) 2015


A Handful of Keys programme notes, 1995.

Honour programme notes in 2004.

Tucker, 1997.

SACD 1980/81.

City Press, 20 March 2011.

Theatre programmes of various productions held by NELM.

Theatre Lives [1].

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