Richard E. Grant

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Richard E. Grant or Richard Grant (stage names of Richard Grant Esterhuysen) (1957- ) [1] is a Swazi-born stage, film and television actor, who was trained and started his professional career in Cape Town.


Born in Mbabane, Swaziland.


As a boy, Grant went to primary school at St Mark's, a local government school in Mbabane, Swaziland. He attended secondary school at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa (UWCSA)[2], an independent school just outside Mbabane.


Trained at the University of Cape Town Drama Department under Rosalie van der Gucht, Robert Mohr and Mavis Taylor.


In 1982 he left South Africa to work in the United Kingdom, where he gradually established himself as a prominent actor. In 1987 he and friends conceived and made the cult film Withnail and I [3], which established him as a major film talent. By the mid 1990s he had become a major Hollywood star (see his complete filmography on Wikipedia [4].

After 1994 he gradually became involved in film productions on South African themes, including The Story of an African Farm (2004), directed by South African-born film and television director David Lister [5] and based on the 1883 novel by South African author Olive Schreiner.

He wrote and in 2005 directed the film Wah-Wah, loosely based on his own childhood experiences in Swaziland. Grant kept a diary of the experience, later published as a book The Wah-Wah Diaries.

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

As a student he and Fiona Ramsay and Henry Goodman founded the influential Troupe Theatre Company in 1980, for which he performed and directed a number of plays, including Metamorphosis, The Threepenny Opera, Claw and Summit Conference. Also worked at The Space Theatre, co-directing Gerould’s Candaules Commissioner and G.M. Green’s Dolls in 197* (with Michael O’Brien), **.

He played Henry Carr in Travesties (1977), Orlando in As You Like It (1977), Father in Six Characters in Search of an Author, Haimon in Antigone, Slift in Saint Joan of the Stockyards, Rimbaud in Total Eclipse (1979), Hou in Fanshen (1980).

In 1980 he played the title role in Paul Slabolepszy's The Defloration of Miles Koekemoer opposite Marcel van Heerden and Fiona Ramsay in The Studio at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town, directed by Slabolepszy.

Together with Michael O’Brien he directed the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Kafka’s Metamorphosis starring Steven Berkoff, Henry Goodman, Fiona Ramsay and Ian Roberts at the Market Theatre in 1980. He directed East, Dolls and in 1980 Chinchilla at the People's Space.

People's Space Theatre (1976 to 1981) where he directed Guinea Fowl in 1981.

He appeared in Othello at Maynardville in January 1982.

Awards, etc

Winner of the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Most Promising Student in 1979.

Standard Bank Young Artist (Drama) 1981.


With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant. 1996. ISBN 0-87951-828-6 (hardcover). ISBN 0-87951-935-5 (paperback).

By Design: A Hollywood Novel. Picador, 1998. ISBN 0-330-36829-X. ISBN 978-0-330-36829-2.

The Wah-Wah Diaries: The Making of a Film. 2006. ISBN 0-330-44196-5 (hardcover).


Wikipedia [6]

SACD 1981/82.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities G

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page