Johann van Heerden

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(1949-) Drama lecturer, stage and film actor and director. Son of local director and actress Marie van Heerden, brother of actor Marcel van Heerden. Trained at the University of Stellenbosch Department of Drama. As a young actor he made something of a name for himself on the Stellenbosch and Cape stage and in films.

In 1973 he became a lecturer in acting and directing at the University of Stellenbosch, completed an M.Dram degree in 1978 on the role of practical work in the teaching of drama as an academic discipline.

In 1988 he left the department after 20 years and joined Franz Marx Films as producer, and later moved on to become a senior manager in the M.Net stable. Retiring on 1 March 2003.

Completed a D.Phil degree in Drama and Theatre Studies at Stellenbosch, entitled Theatre in a new democracy. Some major trends in South African theatre from 1994 to 2003, a study of early post-Apartheid professional theatre (2008).

In 1973 married artist and author Marjorie van Heerden (néé Niekerk), and the couple have two children, Alexia , a medical doctor in Cape Town and Markus, a freelance computer programmer in Cape Town.

As actor

Stage roles include 'Rufus' in the première production of Selle Ou Storie (Pieter-Dirk Uys) directed by the playwright at the Space Theatre in Cape Town in 1974;'Martin Dysart' in Equus, (Peter Shaffer); 'Vincentio' in Measure for Measure (Shakespeare); 'Victor' in The Mad Woman of Chaillot (Jean Giraudoux); 'Die Vreemdeling' in Die Goue Kring (Uys Krige); 'The Director' in Six Characters in Search of an Author (Luigi Pirandello); 'Leontes' in The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare); 'Bob' in The Private Ear (Peter Shaffer); various characters in The Fall and Redemption of Man (John Bowen); 'Dr Dussel' in The Diary of Anne Frank (Goodrich and Hackett); 'Lukophroon' in Periandros van Korinthe (D.J. Opperman); 'Robin' in The Double Face of Love (Marivaux); 'Marcus' in Germanicus (N.P. van Wyk Louw); 'Joe' in Lovers/Winners (Brian Friel); ; 'Enrique' in The School for Brides (Moliére); 'Alfred' in My Three Angels (Albert Husson); 'Don Pedro' in Much Ado about Nothing (Shakespeare)

As director

Work with students

Directed many plays with students. Among his productions for the Department were:

1973: Die Kaukasiese Krytsirkel (Bertolt Brecht).

1976: Die Goeie Mens van Sezuan (Bertolt Brecht).

1979: Andorra (Max Frisch)

1980: Lysistrata (Aristophanes)

1981: Woyzeck (Georg Büchner) in Afrikaans.

1983: Enrico IV (Luigi Pirandello) in Afrikaans.

1986: Die Vlindervanger (The Collector by John Fowles/David Parker).

1986: Van Arme B.B. (Bertolt Brecht/Johann van Heerden)

1987: August, August, August (Pavel Kohout)

1987: Sylvia (compiled by Linda Pienaar) - A biographical study of Sylvia Plath and her work, compiled from her writings.

Professional work

He also did occasional professional productions, among which:

1983: Ekskuus vir die Wals (Etienne van Heerden) at the Libertas Theatre in Stellenbosch and the Nico Malan Arena in Cape Town.

1983: Vyand! (Enemy! by Robin Maugham) - Produced and directed, in Afrikaans, for SWAPAC, the South West African Performing Arts Council in Windhoek, Namibia.

1983: Laat-Februarie 1922 (Johan Kapp) - Directed for CAPAB (Cape Performing Arts Board) at the Nico Malan Arena in Cape Town.

1985: The Island (Athol Fugard) - At the Theater Interpretation Center, Theater Department, North¬western University, Chicago USA, with Harry Lennix in the lead role.

1985: Carousel (Rodgers & Hammerstein) - Co-director, with Dominic Missimi, of the professional production that opened in Chicago and then moved to New York City.

1985: How the Children Won the Wars (musical by Dominic Missimi) - Co-director, with Dominic Missimi, of the professional production that opened in Chicago and then moved to New York City.

1987: Die Vlindervanger (The Collector by John Fowles/David Parker) - A new professional production of own Afrikaans translation for SWAPAC in Windhoek, Namibia.

Translator and adaptor

Over the years he adapted and translated a number of works into Afrikaans, often from the original language, usually directing the production himself. Among the texts are: Die Kaukasiese Krytsirkel (Bertolt Brecht), from the original German (1973); Die Goeie Mens van Sezuan (Bertolt Brecht), from the original German (1976); Woyzeck (Georg Büchner), translated from and based upon the German source material (1981); Enrico IV (Luigi Pirandello), from the Italian (after study and research period in Italy in 1975, produced 1983); Die Vlindervanger (John Fowles/David Parker), 1986;

Also compiled, developed and directed Van Arme B.B. ("Of Poor B.B." - from the original German works of Bertolt Brecht and based on Brecht on Brecht by George Tabori, 1986).

As actor in feature films and TV productions

1974: Captain Reinecke (lead) in Fighter Pilots, an English language South African feature film distributed in the USA and in Europe, with a shortened, dubbed local version (Seuns van die Wolke) distributed in South Africa.

1976: Cloete (2nd lead) in Dr James Barry, an English language TV-film for SABC TV-1, with British actress Kim Braden and Kenneth Hendel.

1978: Pierre Durand (lead) in Die Spaanse Vlieg, an Afrikaans feature film made by Kavaliers.

1984: Jan in two episodes of Seeduiker, youth series for SABC TV-1.

1985: The Actor (lead) in Stage Door, American made for cable-TV film, Chicago USA.

1986: The Presenter and Interviewer in Spaar, award-wining 13 part educational series on personal money management for SABC TV-1 (research, presentation and on-camera interviews).

Since 1973 also undertook regular voice dubbing in a wide variety of roles in translated films and series for the SABC TV and M-Net and earlier for cinema.


Curriculum Vitae of Johann van Heerden (2011)

Correspondence with Johann van Heerden (11 Feb 2012)

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