The Entertainment industry (literally every single aspect of it) has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. I have worked backstage, on stage, done costumes, done set construction, make –up, done musical direction and direction – and it has made me curse at times, laugh, cry, and applaud – but I have loved every minute of it. This is what I chose to make my career, my life and it has made me the person I am right now.
My theatrical career includes no less than 55 professional productions in all the major City Centres as an actor and singer, and 30 large and small scale shows (as a director), as well as radio voice overs, dubbing, jingles, film and television work.
I established myself as a prolific Actor, Singer and Director over the past 40 years, winning many theatre awards including the coveted FLUER DU CAP and VITA AWARDS.
A career highlight was playing the villain in a two month tour of Sweden with the Cape Town Opera Company’s (CTOC) critically acclaimed production of SHOWBOAT directed by the multi award winning director Janice Honeyman, a tour of Israel and Sweden with CTOC’s PORGY AND BESS
Recently I did a 9 month run of KINKY BOOTS at the FUGARD THEATRE before they closed their doors.
LVC will be my first professional stage production. Having emerged fresh from studies in Cape Town and being plunged into the nightmare of this pandemic, one may easily feel hard done by, but one thing that solitude has granted, is the opportunity to deeply explore myself. Conquering oneself, just one of life’s many challenges, and a topic I found to be commonplace in the piece. The beautiful story of LVC shows us that even the kind hearted can make hurtful decisions, it’s about how we move forward that really matters. LVC taught me that our imperfections are a part of us, and must be accepted. So perhaps we will not be able to create the ever elusive ‘perfect piece’, but if we fill it with enough Love, Valour, and Compassion; Well that’s perfect to me.
There’s a fundamental difference between telling someone a story, and emotionally involving them to experience how it feels. The ability to change perspectives, deliver commentary on social issues, make people laugh or cry; this is the magic effect that the arts can have on people and the world.
Mauritz has a firm belief that his calling has always been to remind people of their feelings, compassion and humanity through the art of spell-binding storytelling. After setting a 12 year marketing career aside he went to the New York Film Academy to actively pursue his dream of becoming a better storyteller through performing arts.
He enjoyed bringing escapism and delight as Koning Boegoe in ‘Doringrosie’, ensemble member in Janice Honeyman’s ‘Pinnochio’ Pantomime, various children’s plays and radio dramas. But unfortunately, humanity also has a bitter sting and in the Afrikaans version of ‘The Curing Room’ his Snr. Luitenant Sasha Ehrenberg contributed to the necessary commentary that we can also negatively influence the world if we hold onto ignorant ideals.
Never has there been a greater need for empathy, understanding, peace and compassion and Mauritz’s wish is that ‘Love. Valour. Compassion’ becomes a mouthpiece to new and old generations, reminding them that acceptance and respect in society is not always a given. He hopes it leaves an imprint on everyone’s hearts about the true nature of love and friendship, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and that it sparks a flame of compassion that can bring change to the world.
“It has become such a cliché to harp on about how disconnected we are. So I’m going to do just that. Be it because of this alternate virtual world we’ve created through social media or whatever, loneliness is rampant. Maybe it’s always been like that. Or maybe it’s worse now. Regardless, in attempting to become increasingly more connected virtually (which is lovely), I rate we have starved ourselves of the nutritional yumminess that comes with a live, physical connection. And we all have serious cravings now, made even more hectic by this bloody pandemic. Live performance satisfies these cravings. It’s important and powerful. I think all of us ought to see the potential in the invisible bridge that connects an audience member with a performer, a viewer with an artwork, a participant with an experience and take advantage of it. Heck, it’s a team effort. One informs the other. Let’s build a supportive bridge between the two. Hopefully, free one from the corrosive poisons of egotism and greed (money). That would be cool. Connection is the thing. Connection and love.”
When not ranting about performance (sigh), Richard acts, sings, dances badly, teaches, dies on-screen scarily well, and makes theatre. After returning from the international tour of The Sound of Music in 2014, Richard began his studies at the University of Cape Town. He has since graduated with an Honours degree in Drama specialising in Technical Theatre Management. Since graduating, Richard has taken up roles in stage management and lighting design, acted in a handful of films amd television series, and is a resident singer with the events company ShoutMC. He is also a co-founder of Mixing Bowl Productions, a theatre company that focuses on crafting small-scale musical theatre works for new audiences. His most recent theatre role, before the start of the pandemic, was Leo Bloom in The Producers.
James van Helsdingen
I’ve always been a bit of a romantic and an optimist. I have been lucky enough to be part of many television and live productions, but as an actor in 2021 I feel even more strongly about the need for artists to dream up and envisage beautiful futures. We are bombarded with the current status quo, yet that is no reason why we can’t create our own realities. I think we can tell stories that enlighten and impart something of the way we could be; to create a magic space where performer and audience take time out from the cyber existence to commune for a short but uninterrupted spell. Live theatre, I believe, is more important than ever now. Nothing beats the impact and immediacy of a real flesh and blood performance!
Schoeman Smit is delighted to portray the role of Buzz Hauser in Love! Valour! Compassion!. When not playing a musical theatre crazed, Lycra obsessed costume designer, Schoeman can be found eating nachos. During pre and post nacho eating, Schoeman is probably teaching singing at Waterfront Theatre School or perhaps preparing a singing audition at the Waterfront Theatre. If none of the above applies, you might find him doodling or painting something or at home deciding which interesting sock choice accurately reflects his mood today.
Schoeman Smit (Buzz Hauser) I’ve done a lot of things in my career. Sang in or two operas, spear caring the works; performed for the Russian New Year on a ship, if you know you know… four months in China touring the musical, Evita; starred in one-man musicals to 3 people, but I’ve never had more fun than I’m having now, as a cast member of this fantastic production. What a wonderful thing to be doing in a tricky time. Life ain’t half bad!
The Dream of Going Global is slowly becoming a reality. During such a challenging time in our history, I have been selected to perform on an international stage. The IMTA (International Modelling and Talent Association) alongside a highly-credible, local talent agency (33 and Me) have selected me, and a handful of others to perform at their annual convention in Orlando Florida. Acting has held a special place in my heart for as long as I can remember. Going as far back as the age of four/five years old with mimicry, to my very first theatre production in High School Grease, which coincidentally enough was one of my favourite films at the time, to having the privilege to study and graduate from one of the most prestigious, industry feeding institutions in South Africa, AFDA. The ability to jump straight into the industry after studies with minimal credibility and carry on through the midst of a pandemic has required a certain mindset which business has taught me. Figure out your why, and the how will follow suit.