Siblings chase acting dream at Unitec and Toi Whakaari
A pair of siblings are forging their paths in the acting world, pursuing the art at two of the best acting schools in the country.
Christian George's first year studying drama at Unitec will be his sister Katrina's last year at Toi Whakaari but, despite their common interests, the pair says there has never been competition between them.
"There was always a difference between Katrina and myself. I've never felt the need to do exactly what she's doing," Christian says.
"We have two different styles which bounce off each other."
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Christian says he has a more vocal acting style while Katrina, coming from a dancing background, is more physical.
Both Christian and Katrina have contributed to the arts at their former high school Birkenhead College where Katrina founded and ran the dance club for three years and Christian led theatre sports.
Between them, the pair have had seven lead roles in five Birkenhead College productions, and won actor, director, choreographer and dance performance of the year at the school's prizegiving.
Each has also won Arts Person of the Year - Katrina in 2014 and Christian in 2016 - and Christian was also awarded the Newman Trophy for outstanding contributions to arts and culture.
They say they have been each other's biggest supporters with Christian attending all of Katrina's shows and she most of his.
Katrina says Christian "came out of the womb acting" and reciting Shakespeare and he says acting allows him to draw from a different place.
"Everyday interactions are so boring. When you're acting, when you really take on a character, you can put yourself into someone else's shoes." he says.
"I think in acting you always learn something, no matter what you're making."
He will finish studying a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts with a major in acting at the end of 2019. Inspired by the teacher who convinced him to pursue performing arts, Paul Willis, his end goal is to teach.
"I enjoy giving knowledge to people, watching them create things and being proud that I initiated the creative process," he says.
"Having a man who had experience and had so much to give, I was willing to listen. He [Paul] put a lot of energy into me and my sister."
Katrina says she loves the opportunity to create and fell in love with Toi Whakaari. She has just landed her first role in a feature film.
"The goal would be to try live off acting but it's a hard gig in New Zealand. It's like interviewing for a job every week and only having that job for a month."
Birkenhead College's head of drama Nicole Eichstaedt has nothing but praise for the pair and describes Christian as commanding, ever-present and beyond his years, while Katrina is riveting.