A boom in demand for Kiwi actors is predicted as Covid-19 restrictions force producers of films made in New Zealand to look at recasting, says an industry expert.

With border restrictions and strict quarantine periods expected for the foreseeable future Kiwi actors could be cast in small and medium roles that would normally be filled by overseas talent.

Michele Hine, the artistic manager at Auckland acting school The Actors' Program (TAP), said there had already been an increase in demand for Kiwi talent as local and international productions had started.

"With the cost of bringing actors to New Zealand and then paying for them to be accommodated for two weeks, quarantine all but the major roles could be cast locally," Hines said.

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Michele Hine said there would be a boom in demand for Kiwi actors because of Covid-19 restrictions. Photo / Supplied
Michele Hine said there would be a boom in demand for Kiwi actors because of Covid-19 restrictions. Photo / Supplied

Local productions have kicked off with filming for Kiwi drama Shortland Street starting in Covid-19 alert level 2.

Other local productions such as Black Hands and The Gulf started a week ago.

This week blockbuster Avatar resumed filming with news that key crew of producers and some cast were allowed into New Zealand.

But the crew allowed into New Zealand had to meet strict criteria - including having a talent that can't be met by a Kiwi.

"The benefit of having a smaller industry in Aotearoa is our ability to adapt," Hine said.

"We are nimble, creative, and responsive, and that means our actors are better geared to not just survive but thrive in the changes forced upon our industry."

The school used the lockdown period to prepare for the expected boom and the fulltime year-long programme adapted to web-based within days.

Michele Hine and Miranda Harcourt are tutors at The Actor's Programme. Photo / Supplied
Michele Hine and Miranda Harcourt are tutors at The Actor's Programme. Photo / Supplied

Classes usually held at the Karangahape Rd studio in Auckland went digital.

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There were Zoom classes, Skype auditions and green-screen acting.

Even theatre kept going during lockdown with the Auckland Theatre Company's online adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull.

Job losses because of the pandemic had also seen a flurry of interest in acting classes Hine said.

"We have had quite a bit of interest, and some of it has been from older people, in their 40s and 50s," she said.

"Some of them have acted in the past and are coming back to it because they are out of work and see it as a great time to retrain and reskill."

Well-known actors such as Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Michael Hurst, Miranda Harcourt, Sara Wiseman, and Michele Hine are tutors at the school.

Graduates of the programme have been cast in local and international productions such as Westside, Shortland St, The Gulf, Fresh Eggs, Filthy Rich, Runaway Millionaires, the Amazon pilot The Wilds, and Netflix shows The New Legends of Monkey and Falling Inn Love and Power Rangers.