A stage role to kill for

SWORD FIGHTER: T-Ann Manora plays an assassin in the 51st Auckland Summer Shakespeare production.
SWORD FIGHTER: T-Ann Manora plays an assassin in the 51st Auckland Summer Shakespeare production.

A sword-fighting assassin will appear in an Auckland-first production of Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

T-Ann Manora plays Thaliard Leonine and is learning sword-fighting techniques from actor Michael Hurst.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to play the assassin," the Massey resident says.

"Training with Michael is great. He is fantastic and good to learn from."

The actress, 29, has wanted to play the role of a fighter or killer since becoming "addicted" to the Playstation game, Assassin's Creed, two years ago.

"Ever since, I have been longing to play such a character.

"I always thought it would be for a film, but now it's on the live stage, one of my favourite places in the world."

Pericles, Prince of Tyre follows a shipwrecked young prince, having run from death, as he fights for the love of his princess he will lose on the very sea that has marooned him.

The triumphs and miseries of his story are expressed in some of Shakespeare's most moving and eloquent language.

Mrs Manora won the assassin's role after being introduced to play director Geoff Allen.

"They needed an assassin for Pericles and he got me excited," she says.

"I did my audition, which was a monologue of Othello, and it went really well.

"He knew I was a physical actor and he cast me straight away," she says.

Mrs Manora first appeared in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor at home in the Netherlands when she was just 15.

She was the star of last year's production of Pippi Longstocking as well as New Zealand Opera's Flying Dutchman.

In television she made an appearance in Spartacus and numerous commercials.

Mrs Manora graduated from Netherland's Fontys University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Performing Arts. She then completed her Meisner Masters at the Paul Dekker Acteer Studio before moving to New Zealand in 2011. Rehearsing four times a week for Pericles, Mrs Manora says you dont have to understand the words to enjoy the play.

"It's a modern play and it has a great storyline.

"I'm surprised that it's not known already because it's such a cool story."

■ Pericles, Prince of Tyre is showing from tomorrow to March 22 from 7pm at Old Arts Plaza, University of Auckland, Princes St (behind the clock tower). See maidment.auckland.ac.nz for tickets or call 308 2383 

Western Leader