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Acting role comes easy for director

HANNAH SPYKSMA
Last updated 08:15 08/08/2012
Acting Role
JASON OXENHAM
TWO-FACED: Sophie Roberts is spending August directing a show and then acting in another one – multi-tasking is an essential skill to make it in the performance industry, she says.

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Sophie Roberts knows that to forge a career in the performing arts you need to be adaptable, flexible and preferably have a split personality.

Split between enjoying acting and directing, that is.

"In New Zealand it's pretty key to be able to go between the two jobs," Ms Roberts says.

"There's a small percentage of people who can make a living off just acting."

So the Grey Lynn resident has a finger in many pies. She's primarily involved in directing the Silo Theatre production of The Pride which opens at the Herald Theatre tomorrow night.

But in her spare time she's also rehearsing as an actor for the Moving Theatre Company's The Laramie Project which opens at Basement Theatre on August 28.

The two seasons overlap and that's not a bad thing, Ms Roberts says.

"I find it pretty easy to go between the two roles.

"It's really nice going from being a director where you think about nine million things at once to an actor who's being told what to do."

Ms Roberts is the only woman director on Silo's programme this year and takes on the role with the company after running a successful season of Bro, I Love You last August.

The Pride was written by Alexi Kaye Campbell in 2008.

It's a grown-up play that examines changing attitudes to love and sexuality on either side of the sexual revolution.

The set flits between 1958 and 2008 and is beautifully written which was a drawcard for Ms Roberts.

"It is performance-driven which I thought was a challenge," she says.

"And it doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles so you really need good actors to carry it."

While that show centres on ideas around love, the performer will take on a more gruesome topic in The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later.

She is part of a cast who go back and look at an original play based on hate crimes in Laramie, Wyoming after the brutal murder of Matthew Shephard.

Despite the differing topics and her diverse roles in each production Ms Roberts says they are quite similar in many aspects.

"It's similar to The Pride in a sense that it's about how we evaluate change. Both shows force us to look at the way we do that and to question whether we are evaluating things enough."

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