My happy place: Fiona Mogridge, actor

Fiona Mogridge is hooked on the excitement of performing. Photo / Getty Images
Fiona Mogridge is hooked on the excitement of performing. Photo / Getty Images

My happy place is the theatre. I love it, whether I'm on stage or in the audience or working behind the scenes.

My passion stems from when I was a little girl and my mum was an actress. She hauled my brother and sister and I along to rehearsals to see her perform.

My first foray into acting was in a pantomime with Mum at the Mana Little Theatre in Plimmerton, holding a sign that said something like, "This way to the cave".

It was wonderful as a 4- or 5-year-old to be part of that. There was so much excitement -- the costumes, the lights, the singing and dancing, the nerves in the wings.

From that point on I loved the theatre and the acting world. I think it's the creativity and the vibe in the theatre.

In New Zealand, a theatre may be a black box, it may be a royal opera space, it may be outdoors, but that magic of live performance is so special, especially in this electronic day and age. I enjoy being swept away by a performance on stage -- and the theatre's always an exciting place to work.

When I was about 20 I got a job working at a theatre in London. On my first night I was put on the bar to learn the ropes.

At the end of the show Christopher Reeve came up to me and asked if I could show him to the stage door. He was such a hunk then -- a six-foot, dark, gorgeous thing -- and I said, "Yes, of course".

So I led him behind the bar at the back of the theatre and through a kind of boiler room into the bowels of the building. We got to this dead end and I said, "I'm really sorry, I don't know where the stage door is." I felt such a dunce.

He was funny -- I think he'd figured out pretty early that I didn't know where I was taking him.

Recently, I've got more involved in the business side of things, at Q Theatre and with corporate training, and film and advertising work.

But I'm back on stage this month in the play Seed, at the Basement.

It encapsulates what I love about the theatre -- that excitement about performing and creativity and working with a group of energetic and committed people to pull everything together, and do justice to a wonderful script. It's great -- exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.

Fiona Mogridge performs in Seed, a play by Elisabeth Easther about the dilemmas of modern reproduction, at the Basement Theatre from June 17 to 28.
See www.basementtheatre.co.nz

- as told to Bronwyn Sell

- Herald on Sunday

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