The passing of a gentle giant: GREG MELVILL-SMITH

The South African Guild of Actors mourns the untimely loss of one of our own: Greg Melvill-Smith, a SAGA stalwart and true gentleman of the profession, left us in the late hours of 31 May 2016, succumbing to an illness borne with great dignity. At this difficult time our thoughts go out to Greg’s family as they face the loss of a loving husband and father.

Greg Melvill-Smith exhibited a unique entrepreneurial flair that saw him transplanting his interactive communication skills into the classroom and corporate boardroom alike. Indeed, SAGA was the fortunate beneficiary earlier this year of Greg’s facilitation expertise that resulted in the Guild’s five-year strategic plan, some of which is already yielding welcome fruit.

Greg trained as an actor at the Pretoria Technikon before joining Durban’s innovative Loft Theatre Company in 1985, where he spent three years honing his enviable talents. Moving to Johannesburg in 1988 to begin his freelance career, Greg went on to act in no fewer than 52 professional theatre productions and more than 10 major television series including 7de Laan and Isidingo on SABC, Wild at Heart for the Hallmark Channel and the internationally acclaimed Black Sails. Greg’s feature-film credits include The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mr. Bones, Drum, The Bang Bang Club and Night Drive.

The legacy of Greg Melvill-Smith extends beyond stage and screen appearances as he turned his hand to directing no fewer than 14 plays, including 3 operas, conceiving of a number of industrial theatre projects and conducting environmental theatre workshops with teachers, students and theatre professionals. For the Palaeontological Scientific Trust, Greg initiated, wrote and directed Walking Tall, an ongoing educational intervention and outreach project that has reached more than 1.2 million people, primarily learners and educators in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Belgium and Sweden.

For more than a decade Greg facilitated business coaching and training in the areas of emotional intelligence, mindset, team leadership, diversity and presentation skills. His clients include Nedbank, Schering Plough, Roche, Clicks, I-Net Bridge, the South African National Blood Services and SAA.

Greg’s legacy will continue to live on in our Guild, and our every success will reflect the memory of a man who gave more to the performance industry than he ever took for himself. In this spirit, Greg has requested that donations in lieu of flowers be made to the Theatre Benevolent Fund: http://tbf-sa.co.za/ or facebook “Theatre Benevolent Fund”.

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