At the age of 11, Venice Harris has a world of musical, film and acting opportunities available to her.
Last week she won trophies for musical theatre at the Tauranga Performing Arts Competition. This week she is off to Los Angeles to meet with her manager and an acting coach, to explore more of those opportunities and attend an advanced acting camp.
“I got first place in four songs in the competitions,” says Venice. “That was really cool. I won the Orphan’s Cup, which was for overall high score in musical theatre, the character song for 11 years and under, and the Jan and Merv Beets Trophy for Musical Theatre Song under 18, which I share with another girl.”
Jan Beets is also Venice’s singing teacher.
Earlier this year, Venice played Gracie for three months in Voice of an Angel - a Christmas show held at the Universal Studios in Japan.
“My favourite thing in Japan was the Kobe beef,” says Venice. “It’s literally like eating marshmallows. It tastes amazing.”
She’d auditioned for the Japanese production while performing in Matilda, which ran for about 14 months, taking her from Brisbane to Melbourne, Perth and then back to Auckland.
“Then we had two days to come home and pack for Japan,” says Venice’s mother Melanie Harris. “We’d been used to the travel by then, as Matilda was her fourth production. She’d done Les Misérables in Brisbane, Sydney, Manila and Singapore in 2015 and 2016.
“Before that, in 2014, was the NZ tour of the UK production of The Sound of Music in Auckland and Wellington. They came from the West End and auditioned the kids here. And before that was the UK production of Annie in Auckland in 2013.”
Now Venice is off to the USA, with younger sister Iisha, age five, mum Melanie and grandmother Maree accompanying her.
“I’m going to be meeting Michael Foreman, my American manager,” says Venice. “Also I’ll be seeing Michelle Danner, my acting coach, and we’ll be making a demo reel.
“I have to learn a script and we film it with a few other actors. It’s used when you apply to an agent for a film role, as it gives them the opportunity to see some acting.
“And I’m doing the advanced acting camp for 10-12 year olds for a week. It will be fun!”
In the future Venice would like to get into film.
“I’m not thinking of stopping musicals, but maybe having a break from it and doing more television and film work.”
Venice is managed in New Zealand by TMH Management.