Leendert de Jager is well-known in theatre circles and this year he celebrates 19 years in the entertainment industry. He received his degree, (BA drama and theatre arts), cum laude from the University of the Free State. Leendert has been an active performer on stage since the mid 90’s after making his solo debut for PACOFS opera at age 12 in a tribute concert in honour of the late Edgar Cree. He also played the lead in the Michael Williams opera, The Orphans of Qumbu, the very next year. Since then he’s been seen in many stage performances and concerts nationwide frequently working with some of the biggest names in South African Theatre.
In 2001 he received the prestigious SAMRO Bursary for Classical Music as well as the Margaret van der Post Prize for singing. In 2004 he was awarded honours for his contribution to culture from the University of the Free State. He also received the coveted Elza Krantz Medal for Artistic Contribution.
He has appeared in several oratorios namely, Handel’s The Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s St. John’s Passion and Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem and Orff’s Carmina Burana.
His musical theartre repertoire includes, amongst others, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Euthanasia in Cinderella, Faye Dunnawaywith/ Antie-Oom Achmat in Die Laaste Aand, Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Mendel / Russian Tenor in Fiddler on the Roof, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!, Dr Blind and Dr Falke in Die Fledermaus in the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, which was also broadcast on E-TV.
Whilst living and working in Durban, Leendert had frequent appearances in concert with the Durban City Orchestra. The most memorable of these were the concerts at the botanical gardens in Durban as part of the Old Mutual Music at the Lake series. Leendert has also been vocal coach for the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir since 2009 and has accompanied them on two very successful international tours. He also has the distinction of being the only South African to have made it through to the final round of the prestigious Sighezzi singing competition in Gorizia, Italy.
He started off 2012 playing Edna in FACTS’ production of the hit musical Hairspray and directed a production of Rent for PACOFS and FAT Productions as well as performing in Steven Stead’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast which will ran through the Christmas season.
This year he has done several command performances including playing Oberon in Wordsmiths Theatre Factory and KKNK’s production of Droom, Elder Cunningham in a touring production of Book of Mormon and Khashoggi in We Will Rock You .
Leendert is currently a full-time freelance singer, actor, writer and director.