DU Toit Bredenkamp grew up in South Africa with a copy of The Sound of Music on VHS and casual family sing-alongs of Edelweiss while his dad, a Dutch Reformed Church minister, played the guitar.
Little did he know at age 25 he would be playing the role of 17-year-old Rolf Gruber in an Australian touring production of the stage musical.
“We moved to Perth in 2007 from Port Elizabeth,” Bredenkamp said.
“It was then that I made the promise to myself that I would one day move to Sydney and try to make it as an actor.”
Bredenkamp moved to Sydney in January 2015 after graduating from WAAPA’s music theatre course and five months later was cast in The Sound of Music.
“I’m so blessed that my first job in the industry is a part where I have a named role and song,” he said.
“I was encouraged by my teachers at WAAPA to think of myself as a triple threat when leaving the course.
“I came into WAAPA more of an actor than anything else and like to think I left as a strong singer and significantly improved my dancing as well, which helps since the first role I got was playing someone who has to sing, do a big dance number and act while becoming a Nazi.”
Bredenkamp said the experience of working with performers such as Marina Prior, Lorraine Bayly and Cameron Daddo left him in awe of their talent.
He has also loved playing opposite Stefanie Jones as Liesl, where Rolf “feels pressured by everyone around him, when all he wants to do is be in love with a girl and give her a kiss under the gazebo while it’s raining”.
However, his favourite moment, when not on stage, is when Daddo as Captain von Trapp turns from hardened naval leader to father.
“The children go from being so scared of their father and disconnected from him to finally breaking the wall by just running up and hugging him one by one,” Bredenkamp said.
“He has no idea how to handle it and just hugs them back and starts crying.
“He is so wonderful in that moment and I think we can all relate to knowing that feeling of absolute comfort with our parents.
“It’s one of the most touching moments in the show and I love watching it every night.”
Bredenkamp said after spending time with family, including his three-year-old niece, friends and going to the beach when home for the Perth season, he planned to visit his former campuses at WAAPA and John Curtin College of the Arts.
“I can’t wait to see all my teachers and John Curtin has asked me to talk to the students,” he said.
“I owe them a lot because they managed to take a very scared, very heavily accented South African boy and turn him into a well-rounded performer.”
Community Newspaper Group has 10 double passes to give away to The Sound of Music on September 14. Enter here by September 5.
What: The Sound of Music
Where: Crown Theatre Perth
When: From September 14