Reaching for the stars
A former Timaru Girls' High School student has been given a boost to her acting career to help her reach her dreams.
Keagan Fransch, 26, who has just finished her second year of a bachelor of performing arts in acting at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, has won the prestigious Museum Art Hotel Scholarship for 2012.
"It's all very hard to believe, myself," she says.
The scholarship means she won't need to worry about having to find part-time work while she studies.
"It means so much to be able to really take the time outside of school to focus on what I love doing."
Keagan was one of several candidates nominated by other students to receive the award.
The final decision was made by staff at Toi Whakaari in consultation with Dawn Sanders from Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ).
Keagan told Attitude yesterday that Timaru was where her passion for theatre began.
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, she moved to the city in 2004. She immersed herself in theatre, performing in Antony and Cleopatra in the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) Aoraki Regional Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, as well as in Oliver by the South Canterbury Drama League in Timaru.
"I absolutely loved it. It was some of the best fun I'd ever had," she says.
"Along with studying drama at school, that's what pushed me.
"I was just a teenager from Africa trying to get used to living in a new country.
"Then I was granted [from the regional festival] the amazing opportunity to be one of the 46 participants in 2004 SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production, and everything changed.
"It was here where my unforgettable journey started."
Keagan was then chosen to be one of 23 members of SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company that travelled to Shakespeare's Globe in London.
During her time at Toi Whakaari, Keagan has performed as Mother Teresa in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Samuel Byck in the musical Assassins, Leonato in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and in the site-specific piece aki at Archives New Zealand.
She hopes to travel to Cincinnati, in the United States, in February to work with renowned director Timothy Douglas at the Playhouse in the Park Theatre.
Keagan's heroes include Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep, who, she said, "moved from stage to screen almost seamlessly".
The Museum Art Hotel Scholarship is open to all second-year students who have demonstrated excellence at Toi Whakaari.
Previous winners are Brooke Williams, now starring on Shortland Street, and Dan Musgrove, in Underbelly.
- The Timaru Herald