Wine above this
Renate Stuurman has been bottling things up for her craft.
Renate Stuurman has gone from soaps and coffee shops to drama series and wine farms on SABC3 drama Thula’s Vine (2017- current). The 38-year-old has been on soapies including Isidingo (1998- current) as troubled Jade, Denise on 7de Laan (2000- current) and feisty Tamia on Scandal! (2005- current) during the mid-2000s. While soaps are in her blood, the Grahamstown native is loving her role as radio DJ-turned-wine farmer Thula in the 13-episode series. But she’s not just in it for the bottles and bottles of wine…
Why is Thula so relatable? Because she is flawed and she isn’t afraid to show her imperfections. She has been through quite an ordeal and she is no goodygoody. Viewers can sympathise with her and the complex relationship that she has with her family, as most people have such troubles too. Thula is also from a bi-racial background and she tries to explore her identity. Her story is real, she’s misunderstood and these are struggles that people have experienced throughout their life.
What was your role preparation? As an actress, you do your research and you get enough information. I tried to draw inspiration from my own life and explored the relationships that I have with my siblings, my family and my romances. I also read up on certain things that Thula might be interested in and I took cues from other actors on behaviours and mannerisms. How different is it to film a drama series as opposed to working in soapies? I prefer to do drama series because I can really get into character. There’s an opportunity to explore, be sincere and truthful in a short series compared to soaps, which are heightened reality. In dramas, there are real connections while soapies have half an hour to get through a lot. Since the show is set on a wine farm, did
you get to drink any wine? [Laughs] The show was shot on a vineyard but there was no wine consumed at all! If we were able to have real wine, I’m sure the show’s tone would have been very different! There are a lot of other well-known actors on the ensemble cast… I got the chance to work with a legendary cast and just the styles and techniques and other things that I learnt from my co-stars was impossible to buy. It’s like going to school everyday and returning home with a wealth of knowledge. I find that the more seasoned actors and actresses are so natural and calm. They take everything in their stride and I would sit and watch them learning their lines like a weird stalker. So that means you’ve got tons of advice to give budding actors or actresses, like… I want to make this clear: acting is a hard industry and you must be ready for it. Don’t be put off by what’s going and rather come to work already planning for the unexpected.
“We didn’t drink any wine during filming,” promises Renate Stuurman.
Thula’s swapped her career from DJing to winemaking.