Ian von Memerty has been variously described as “the English dictionary definition of show-business” and “a confused eclectic”. He has received 15 national theatre awards, been nominated a further 17 times, (and has no degree). He is best known as the presenter of the hit TV series STRICTLY COME DANCING (5 series), as the ‘faaaantastic’ judge on SA’S GOT TALENT, and for his two piano show A HANDFUL OF KEYS – which has played to more than 400 000 people in over 1400 performances
In 2015 – so far – he directed The Kyknet Fiesta Awards for the 3rd consecutive year ; performed all over the country ; Directed SuperSkouSpel for 23000 people at FNB Stadium; and is in the middle of a nationwide tour with his latest show Fantastic 50 – starring Ian and his gorgeous wife, Vivienne.
His work for the stage has included, directing and scripting the last 2 successful tour of A HANDFUL OF KEYS, creating the Barnyard hits HOLLYWOOD ROCKS, BROADWAY ROCKS, and directing BUDDY and GREASE for them , and directing 14 RMB Starlight Classics. He hosted the very successful first series of STRICTLY COME DANCING ; redirected his rock ballet ROCK A TUTU ; launched THE VON MEMERTYS – A CELEBRATION and THE CIRCLE OF LIFE with his wife and their two children. This is proving to be a great success – filling a much needed niche with inspirational, fun, uplifting family entertainment. He has also does dozens of one off performances all over the country, annually.
He has extensively toured his one-man show, CAPTAIN ENTERTAINMENT, having won the Naledi Award for Best Production of a Revue since 2006. In 2004, to celebrate his 40th birthday and his 21st year in show business he hosted HANDFUL AND HIGHLIGHTS which raised more than R 250 000 for The Theatre Benevolent Fund.
As a performer other roles have included the tap dancing Bobby Child in CRAZY FOR YOU, Frank ‘n Furter in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, The Narrator in JOSEPH AND HIS … COAT, Captain Tempest in RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET, Eugene in BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, Buttons in CINDERELLA, Mordred in CAMELOT, and Jeff Barry in LEADER OF THE PACK. His versatility has made him an ideal performer for compilation shows, including A HANDFUL OF KEYS, FEMME! FATALE?, SIX OF THE BEST, VIVA SUN CITY, A TOUCH OF WEBBER – A TASTE OF RICE, SAY IT WITH MUSIC, 2 ROCK ‘N ROLL SHOWS, MAE WEST AND THE BOYS, and he modeled a very effective Donny Osmond hairstyle as host for 72 episodes of MUZIEK A LA CARTE.
Directing and Writing Projects include the TV special for MADIBA’S 85TH BIRTHDAY, the jazz ballet for THE ENTHRONMENT OF THE BAFOKENG KING, BIG BAND BLAST, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW for The Barnyards, as well as scripting and directing JUMP FOR JOY for UJ, ROCK A TUTU for SABT, BORN TO RUN and ROCK ME AMADEUS for The Barnyards. Earlier shows he has directed include TWO WOMEN IN SONG, FEMME FATALE, TWO THIN MEN SING, SIX OF THE BEST, SAY IT WITH MUSIC, A HANDFUL OF KEYS, CADENZA X-TRAV, PER AMORA, WHO STOLE THE ORCHESTRA? ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN, GLORY DAYS, the controversial musical FIELA’S CHILD, for which he score, script and lyrics, and UMOJA – THE SPIRIT OF TOGETHERNESS – which has toured the globe! Between 1996 and 2003 he also directed extensively in the corporate market – everything from huge extravaganzas to tiny little plays.
He is married to Vivienne Lawrence and they have 2 children, Oscar and Kasvia – “the longest running and most fulfilling production of my life”. He and his family have relocated to a small cottage in a forest outside Port Elizabeth – ‘sheer heaven’.