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Monday, May 11, 2009


The sky’s the limit for KZN-born Naledi nominee.

Many artistes wait a lifetime before receiving either critical acclaim or acknowledgement from experts in their industry, and then there are others who set the stage alight right from the outset of their careers, and thus receive both within their first few years in the industry.

One such artist is vibrant musical theatre performer and 2008 Naledi nominee, KZN-born Matthew Counihan, who is currently dazzling audiences with his performance as Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show, staged at The Menlyn Barnyard in Pretoria.

Matt, as he is affectionately known by his peers, has his feet firmly planted on the ground, and attributes his success to hard work and “living the dream”. Few would believe that this focused individual is a mere 23 years old. After seeing him on stage, even fewer would believe that he is only in his third year as a professional artiste when they see the natural flair he engages to perform each character and this backed up by the strong roles he has already made his own.

Having always loved music, Matt participated from an early age in this genre wherever he could; at school he was a member – firstly, of the Durban’s Boy Choir and then the Southern Gauteng Youth Choir (Colla Voce) when he and his family relocated to Johannesburg.

Upon entering the University of Johannesburg after school to obtain a Psychology Degree in Social Sciences, this desire to perform continued to bubble inside Matt, and he soon joined the University choir. But he wanted more, and in his final year, Matt made a decision to join the UJ Song and Dance Group so that he could participate in large scale musical productions; a decision that changed his career path as he entered the world of entertainment; and he hasn’t looked back since!

Says Matt; “I believe that you can be whatever you want to be - there are no limits and boundaries. Our biggest hurdle is that of our own mind - leap over that and the possibilities are endless. I left school with the intention of studying psychology and exploring the human mind (which I did) - instead of doing this in the traditional fashion - life happened. I now create magical characters through my knowledge of what I learnt. I wouldn’t give it up for the world”.

The glitzy Naledi Theatre Awards took place on April 19 and even though the accolade was awarded to one of the other nominees, Matthew was still ecstatic at being nominated.

“It is clichéd when you say that you’re thankful for being nominated,” says Matt, “but it is most certainly the case in this instance. Even though I didn’t win, it’s still a great honour and a humbling experience to receive the industry’s acknowledgement so early in my career. It confirms that I am on the right path and living out my greatest passion - performance!”

Matthew Counihan is represented in the industry by his agent, Mairi Cameron of Afro-Celt. For theatre, television, film, commercial or other audition possibilities, arrangements can be made directly with Mairi on 011 482 1053 or 076 563 7951. Alternatively you can email Mairi at