She’s just 14-years-old, but ACG Tauranga’s Venice Harris already has the world at her feet.
The gifted dancer, actor and singer has travelled the globe performing in blockbuster musicals like Annie and The Sound of Music. She played two seasons of Gracie in Voice of an Angel – a Christmas Show held at Universal Studios in Osaka, spent two years touring Australia, Manila and Singapore with Les Misérables, and played the lead role in Matilda which ran in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Auckland.
“I’m pretty proud of playing the role of Matilda as she is the lead and is in most of the show. It was a lot of pressure learning 300 lines in Russian along with all the singing and dancing,” says Venice, who has also starred in a feature film and recorded a song with LA music producer Nick Turpin.
With more than half her life spent on stage, it’s fair to say the extraordinary teen has enjoyed her fair share of highlights.
“All my shows have had amazing moments. Working in Japan was definitely memorable as there was something so special about performing at Universal Studios, I think because it’s a theme park and everyone is having so much fun.
“I performed outside on a four-level stage that looked so magical. Sometimes it would sleet and we had heat packs on under our clothes to keep us warm. Looking out to the thousands of people watching was pretty amazing, then going to Harry Potter World for dinner, going on rides and catching the train home with heaps of laughing and friendly faces. I was lucky to have this experience – it was incredible!”
Singing and dancing since the age of three, Venice got her big break when she secured the role of Molly in the UK production of Annie. She was just seven at the time.
“The audition process was brutal! We did singing, dancing and acting in an American accent from 9am until 5pm for three weekends, and at the end of each round girls were running out crying.”
Her 2013 success in Annie saw her snapped up for The Sound of Music in Auckland and Wellington in 2014, followed by Les Mis (2015 and 2016), Matilda (2016 – 2017) and Voice of an Angel – a Christmas Show (2018 – 2019).
“It’s a lot of fun travelling to different places all the time. The cast becomes like your family and I really liked experiencing different cultures, trying new foods and meeting all sorts of people. My mum and little sister travelled everywhere with me but it was hard not being able to see my dad and brother very much.”
Now back on home turf thanks in part to Covid-19, Venice has had to re-adjust to a new, and slightly more traditional, routine.
“Going back to normal life has been a big challenge, having not been at school for years, and having become used to sleeping at midnight and waking up late every day.”
Luckily though she is making the most of it and has transitioned seamlessly into school life at ACG Tauranga.
“Since I can’t travel overseas for any big shows this year, I’ve been spending a lot more time on my schoolwork and have had more time to dedicate to learning instruments, writing music and hanging out with friends.
“I am really enjoying ACG. The school has been so great for me with my learning and in the way that they are so supportive. And I can also email my teachers if I need anything.”
So, what’s next for talented performer?
“At the moment I’m focussing on my music and am currently working with a producer from New York on an original song via Skype. My short term dream is to have a successful original song, and long term, I just want to do what I love and be in the entertainment industry.”
Venice recorded ‘Jealous’ last year in Los Angeles with music producer, Nick Turpin