Nearly two years after heading across the ditch to attend a top performing arts school, young Kiwi singer and actor Venice Harris has returned home to star as the lead in the hit musical Matilda.

The 11-year-old, who hails from Tauranga, moved to Sydney with her family in September 2015 so that she and her older brother Flynn could pursue their musical theatre dreams at the prestigious McDonald College.

Late last year she was one of four girls cast as Matilda in the Royal Shakespeare Company's musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic book.

It's this role that's brought her back to New Zealand for the production which is showing at the Civic until October 22 - and she's brought three talented young Aussie friends with her.


Queenslanders Izellah Connelly, 10, Annabella Cowley, 11, and Eva Murawski, 11, also play Matilda, with each of the four girls performing two shows per week.

Venice told the Herald on Sunday she'd missed her extended family while living in Australia and she was excited to return to New Zealand.

She was particularly looking forward to showing Izellah, Annabella and Eva - who'd never been to Auckland before - around and hoped to take them on a visit to her hometown in between performances and tutoring.

"We have to have a day where we just all eat hokey pokey ice cream all day," she said.

That's not the only attraction though with Annabella and Eva especially keen to see snow while they're here.

Portraying Matilda - a genius bookworm - had been a learning experience for the girls, who say they're all quite different from the character.

"I saw Matilda [the musical] in Sydney when I was 9 for my birthday and I remember skipping home from the theatre like 'wasn't that amazing, gee wouldn't it be wonderful to be in a musical like that' and here I am," Eva said.

Annabella told the Herald on Sunday Roald Dahl was one her favourite authors so nabbing the role was "like a dream".


Venice, Annabella, Izellah and Eva all agreed Kiwis going to watch Matilda should expect to "be amazed" by a show that was different from any other.

"It's incredible. The lights, the costumes, the set - it's all magical. It's awesome," Venice said.

Matilda is showing at the Civic until October 22. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster.