Emma van Heyn


Emma van Heyn is a South African actor, musician and songwriter. This 24 year old has released a vast kaleidoscope of musical creations. From a 16 track self-produced album, to recent singles and theatre sound design. She has just completed a successful live tour to London and New York City with her new upcoming releases.

After her highly acclaimed show about her interesting year in Shanghai, Emma van Heyn returns with a new show, fresh from New York. The music is brand new and original. From ballads, self-accompanied on piano, to a puzzle process of electronic pop sounds.  Come and enjoy this talented young artist with her unique, exceptionally original music, as well as the stories behind the songs.

“It happens only once in a while, a couple of times in your life, if you’re lucky, that you experience a performance of a young artist and realise that you are possibly watching the birth of an enormous career. This is one of those moments.” ." ~Ilza Roggeband (Die Burger)

 "She has the feistiness of an Ani Difranco mixed in with the story songs of a Mary Chaplin Carpenter and the humor of a Meryn Cadell. Her songs tell great stories. Her stage presence is a mixture of watching Norah Jones and Billie Eilish at the same time. At one moment she is creating loops and tracks in real time in front of you – using technology to it’s full affect, then she is over at the grand piano playing soulfully – like Tori Amos hitting a pain spot. In between she “performs” hilarious, captivating mini monologues of her life stories that are both self deprecating and insightful. You are completely on her side from the get go with her infectious enthusiasm for life in all of its follies and foibles. It’s not just a rose colored glass perspective on the world but more like kaleidoscopic glasses that keeps fragmenting life to discover complex, exciting, hidden patterns that Emma points us towards seeing. She’s a maestro and a muse – coaxing us to use our imagination on the jet stream of her evocative music." Stagebiz New York

Emma has written and composed music since the age of six. When she was seven years old, she made her professional debut at Spier Amphitheatre in the production “Movies’ Greatest Music” which toured around the country. Her solo music career began to surface in 2011 when she was invited to perform one of her originals during the South African streak of Imogen Heap’s international “Ellipse” world tour. “She told me never to stop creating” - Emma listened. In 2018, Emma did 315 performances in Shanghai, China. Her one-woman musical theatre production, Met Slenterslag na Shanghai, is about that experience. As one of 2019’s Woordfees gems and coming back to Woordfees next year, this production has paved its own successful playing field, touring nationally. It’s not only a music production, but an autobiography that showcases her drama, physical theatre and musical training. She studied drama at Stellenbosch University and music production at Berklee College of Music. From playing piano and singing, to music production and looping – Emma does it all. She does not only make music, but is also an actor. She’s landed various acting roles in theatre and film. Her most recent being a role in an upcoming Ridley Scott series and earlier works such as the lead role in the Silwerskerm short film, Luister. Her love of choral music has a strong influence on her original music. She was a member of the Tygerberg Children’s Choir (2003-2008), the South African Youth Choir (2009), the world renowned Stellenbosch University Choir (2014), as well as a member of the SAMA award-winning group, The Voice of Angels (2008). Co-producer, Uys Visser and SAMA award-winner Marius Brouwer have worked with Emma on her album, Asylum, as well as her singles, I’m Tired of Being Broke and Pageant Queen. She’s currently finishing up her second album which will be released early 2020. Photo Credits: Thierry Bournier

There are up upcoming performances of this show available to book now. Browse here for other shows.