From the West End to Shortland Street for Bay actor


Longtime Shortland Street fans could be excused for a sense of deja vu this week with the arrival on screen of financially troubled nurse, Wendy.
That's because Hastings-born and educated actress Jacqueline Nairn who plays the new character, appeared on the TV2 soap in a guest role 10 years ago.
But Jacqueline indicated to Hawke's Bay Today that "fan" should read "Shortie aficionado" if anyone remembered that short stint.
"It's so long ago," she said.
In the time since she has built an impressive resume, first hitting the boards in England, both on and off the West End, during a three-year sojourn.
Among her co-workers were some "incredible people" including renowned actresses Felicity Kendall (The Good Life), Frances de la Tour (Rising Damp) and Penelope Keith (The Good Life), and Mick Jagger's former wife, Jerry Hall.
A quirky experience was playing Olivia in Twelfth Night at an English-speaking theatre in Budapest, Hungary.
"It was sold out every night," Jacqueline said. "The audience was mostly Hungarian and they often didn't know what was actually being said. But they still loved it."
Returning to New Zealand at the end of 2002 she continued to work regularly in theatres from Auckland to Dunedin.
It was at Dunedin's Fortune Theatre she performed as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire in 2008, the cast allowed to use their Kiwi accents under an American director. From there the production was invited to be a part of a Tennessee Williams Festival in Boston in the United States.
"That was a wonderful time," she said.

"Stella was top of my list of roles that I wanted to have a chance to play in my life. And I got to do Stella 100 metres from where Tennessee wrote the play in Provincetown. That was a very humbling experience."
Jacqueline had involvement in the arts throughout her schooling at Ebbett Park, Heretaunga Intermediate and Hastings Girls' High School, and a caller to Hawke's Bay Today remembered her as a 4-year-old stealing the show during a dance recital at what is now the Opera House.
But it wasn't until she went to Teacher's College in Palmerston North that her thespian fate was sealed.
Acting in amateur musical theatre it was a production of Chess which changed her life. "It was an amazing experience - I loved the show, loved the music."
So teaching was shelved for drama school, and a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts later she was on her way.
Her return to "the fastest shot TV programme in the world" this week, thanks to a February audition, is her most significant television role so far.
And she's landed a challenging character - nurse Wendy having just returned to a much-changed workforce while juggling the demands of her husband's struggling business and three children.
"It's completely different," Jacqueline said. "It's been a huge learning curve. I'm learning so much every day from all the people on the show. I'm loving every minute of it."
Also loving every minute of it are her proud parents, Havelock North-based Robin and Lois.
Admitting that she had previously watched the show "on and off", Lois said "of course" when asked if she'd been watching this week.
"I think she's brilliant - doing a great job."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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