AJ van der Merwe is a South African actor, musician, director and voice artist best known for his role as Gys Conradie in the SABC2 sitcom Konsternasie Oppie Stasie, in 2009.
AJ made his professional debut in 1984 in the CAPAB (Cape Performing Arts Board) production of Ek, Anna Van Wyk. In 1985 he joined the PACOFS Performing Arts Council of the Orange Free State) company, where he participated in 28 productions, acting in most but also compiling and directing others.
At the end of 1986 he was awarded the Cobus Rossouw bursary for best young actor.
During this time he was also part of the successful Somewhere On The Border, nominated for a Fleur Du Cap award as best supporting actor for his portrayal of the brutal Corporal Kotze.
He left PACOFS in 1988 to star in the TV-series Vleuels in which he played Vaatjie.
He joined the PACT (Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal) company in 1989 and left at the end of 1990 to pursue a freelance career.
Since then he has appeared in several TV productions including Meester, for which he was nominated for an Artes award as best actor for his portrayal of Piet Vlek.
Other appearances include Hagenheim: Streng Privaat, Suburban Bliss, the features Lipstiek Diepstiek, Inside Out, and White Lion.
In recent years he has appeared in Egoli, Orion, Isidingo, Villa Rosa and The Lab, among others.
He has worked for most theatrical managements including Artscape (ex-CAPAB), NAPAC (Natal Performing Arts Council), The Market Theatre, The People’s Theatre and the Civic Thetre.
For PACT he made his directorial debut with Die Waterwyser as well as appearing in 11 pantomimes, including Aladdin in which he portrayed the Dame.
Musicals include Winnie The Pooh, Jungle Book and Queen at the Opera, among others. He was also seen in In Concert - The Music Of Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Snowhite And The 7 Dofs, Fiddler On The Roof, portraying both Lazar Wolf and Tevye, as well as Scribble.
2000 saw him appear in Anjie Somers and Honk! receiving Fleur du Cap and Vita nominations as best actor in both. He also garnered a Vita best actor nomination for Die Man Met Die 13 Kinders.
He has gained considerable experience in voice work for both radio and television, garnering another Artes nomination for animation dubbing in 1996.
1999 saw the release of his first CD, entitled "Engelkind" (Angel Child).
AJ's writing credits include the last five episodes of Vleutels (nominated for an IDEM award for best TV script), and some episodes of Egoli.
He has published articles in PMR magazine, and was also responsible for some work on Carpe Diem. He was a script evaluator for M-Net for two years.
Since 1993 he has written and directed several cabarets, as well as appearing in Money-Mania, Vannnemerwe!, Sleepvoet, A Boerseun On Broadway and Boef! - all performed at the Klein Karoo Festival.
As an actor he was seen for the first time in five years in a drama in Mike van Graan’s production Die Generaal at the KKNK and Aardklop in 2007.
In 2001 he wrote and directed Struisvogelstories, a hugely successful community theatre project, which was awarded with the Kanna award for best production in the cabaret/music theatre category at the 2001 Klein Karoo Festival.
In 2003 his production Sonder Grense... was awarded the Herrie Kanna at the KKNK for the most talked about production at the festival.
As of July 2009 he is a regular cast member of the SABC2 sitom Konsternasie Oppie Stasie, playing the role of Gys Conradie, the owner of a successful motor dealership.