By Megan Lane
WELLINGTON - Nepotism is alive and well in the Harcourt-McKenzie household.
The 10-week-old son of Wellington actor Miranda Harcourt and her writer-film-maker husband Stuart McKenzie has already scored his first role in his parents' play Flowers From My Mother's Garden.
Peter Thomas Harcourt Willis McKenzie will appear with his mum and grandma - actor Dame Kate Harcourt - during the play's national tour starting next month.
"He'll go on as Baby. He will only appear at curtain-call and only if he is being very good," Harcourt says.
Upon hearing this, Peter starts a loud wail of protest.
The couple named their boy after Harcourt's father Peter, a theatre writer who died in 1995, and McKenzie's father Thomas.
The name Willis was chosen by Sara, McKenzie's 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, because the couple married in a church in Willis St, Wellington.
Given his lineage, is Peter a natural-born performer?
"All babies are born performers, and all babies are extremely demanding, and all babies let you know that they're the boss. Which is really just like being an actor," say Harcourt.
"He's just a baby at this point. That's his main role and he's doing an extremely good job. And we're taking the role of his critics and giving him fulsome praise for his achievements."
Harcourt has few qualms about returning to the floodlights with a babe-in-arms.
"It seems very appropriate to have a new baby and going off around the country touring a show about what you pass on to your kids.
"I grew up in the theatre. I started sitting under my mum's desk at Downstage at the age of 10 and graduated to selling programmes at 12.
"My mother used to take me down to Broadcasting House when she was on the radio, she used to take me down to Downstage. I've hung out in theatres all my life - she blazed the trail."
After the tour, Harcourt will direct Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing for Downstage in May.
"It'll be a very busy year and it'll be very interesting for me to see how I can deal with having a baby and doing those things as well."
* Flowers From My Mother's Garden will appear in Auckland from March 23 to April 1.
Pictured: Miranda Harcourt and baby Peter. PICTURE / EVENING POST.