Natasha Van Der Merwe Embraces the New 'Normal'

Urban Craft's own Godfrey Johnson (GJ) had a chat with one of South Africa's celebrated names, that of course being the hugely t...

Urban Craft's own Godfrey Johnson (GJ) had a chat with one of South Africa's celebrated names, that of course being the hugely talented Natasha Van Der Merwe (NVDM).

Find out more about she had to say below.....

GJ: How have you been using this time?

NVDM: Well as a performer, it’s something that people don’t always realise, but continuing to work on your craft is of utmost importance. Whether its accent work, singing lessons, script analysis, dance lessons etc one never stops honing one’s skills and unfortunately what tends to happen is, when performers are in a contract, working or shooting etc, you don’t have the time to always do these things, and when you not employed, funds are often a problem to keep going as you try and get work to keep a float. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and with all the technology now a days you have access to so many wonderful different sites/apps etc to keep you abreast of things. One can also do a lot on your own too.

As for myself in lockdown, as a “type a” personality I am working through a very large “to do” list of things that have built up over the last two years whilst being on tour. I have a few projects that i’m working on and wanting to get stuck into whilst I have a little bit of time.

I am staying fit with my virtual gym classes via zoom, and several other platforms  - technology is a wonderful thing πŸ˜‰.
Reading, I'm trying to do a lot more reading. for some reason when life is hectic, I always feel like I should be doing a million other things instead of reading. I'm spending some quality time with my parents, whilst singing in my bedroom, dancing in the garage, figuring out an accent or 5, doing voice-overs, catching up with friends in other parts of the world and doing a lot of self introspection. I’m also trying to keep a routine and stay sane whilst not leaving the house πŸ˜‰ 😊 but having said all of that, I must have you know that i have also had a lot of 'duvet days' - just myself, in my room reading a book, staring out the window, or praying. It's ok to not be ok!

GJ: What advice do you have for the artists who are feeling particularly anxious about the future? 

NVDM: I wish I could say I have all the answers and make everyone’s anxiety and concerns go away, but I sadly don’t. What I can say is, is that things are going to be different going forward. This obviously affects everyone differently. There are so many different faculties in our industry and we all just have to stand together and help each other wherever we can. I think the advice I can give in the current circumstances, is to try and get yourself online, perhaps start getting your head around the fact that we aren't going to go back to the “norm” as we know it, but continue to do what you do, don’t give up. persevere and remember, you are talented, you are loved and there is a light at the end of this tunnel!

GJ: What are your plans for the future?

NVDM: I have been blessed to have just returned from the world tour of “Chicago the Musical” before embarking on my next show, which is (God willing) going to start at the end of July. For these 5 months I was planning on freelancing, focusing more on doing commercials, film/tv, voice-overs and staying in one place before jetting off again. But as one has it, I have packed a bag and joined my parents for #Lockdown in a small coastal dorp called Yzerfontein, where I am trying to make the most of the down time and stay motivated whilst social distancing!

GJ: Tell us a bit about your background and some of your personal theatre highlights?

NDVM: Shew! where to start… I studied at the waterfront theatre college in cape town for 5 years, where I majored in drama, dance and musical theatre. I have had a rather interesting/diverse career over the last 13 years and haven't stopped learning, growing, laughing and travelling the world whilst being a part of one of the worlds most iconic shows. I have had the privilege of playing several roles which include, Stephanie Mangano – “Saturday Night Fever”, Koningin Apeliefie – “Doringrosie the Pantomime Andtiger Lily - Peter Pan the Pantomime, just to mention a few.

 I would say career highlights though would be getting to play the lead role in several several shows, some of my favourites being Dolla Van Aarde in “Die Van Aardes Van Grootoor” which was written and directed by the iconic legend himself Pieter Dirk Uys. This was a highlight from the aspect of being pushed as an actress in every way possible. I got to play the role of Dolla Van Aarde through the years from her at age 25-right through till 70 and all in Suiwer Afrikaans of course. I’d say my best and most fun role to date is probably playing “Regina” in Rock of Ages (by @vr theatrical) I had about 21 costume changes, including wigs too, sang some seriously awesome and classic 80s hits and got to dress up in a very high waisted leotard (unexpectedly) whilst falling in love with a very camp German belting out “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” with some of South Africa's top talent beside me – this was one for the books. Another very special career highlight was an unexpected turn of events when I got to go on as 'mama Morton' in the international tour of 'Chicago the Musical'. It so happened that it turned out I was going on for 2 performances and in front of a sold out double show Saturday in Jozi. That was a feeling I will never forget, the love and support shown from so many beautiful souls but mostly my cast, creatives and management team. A memory I will hold near and dear to my heart! My normal track was playing the role of 'Annie' (one of the merry murderess in the Cook County jail) she’s the other feisty red head in my life, who holds a big place in my heart - a life changing experience which I will never forget.

Interesting facts: 

• I have never had a cup of coffee before
• I'm a huge fan of baby food (particularly the pear / apple flavour πŸ˜‰)
• The toilet paper must go over….
• I’m a sucker for rom coms
• I was going to become a pilot before going into acting but my dream job is to be a trauma surgeon

Follow me on:

instagram: @tash_vdm

facebook: natasha van der merwe

twitter: @tash_vdm

tiktok: @tash_vdm

and stay tuned to see what adventure i’ll be embarking on next…. πŸ˜‰

Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about me! stay safe, stay home and most importantly, lets #bekind #strongertogether



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Urban Craft Magazine: Natasha Van Der Merwe Embraces the New 'Normal'
Natasha Van Der Merwe Embraces the New 'Normal'
Urban Craft Magazine
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