Today we’d like to introduce you to Aurèléa.
Hi Aurèléa, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
From the earliest time I can remember, I have been a performer. Since I first discovered this about myself, I have not stopped creating and evolving in my craft. Acting is imperative to me as it is the only way that I am able to live several lives and tell several stories, not only my own. Acting has always been my way of expressing many different sides of myself and not constraining myself to fit a certain mould. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia and acted therein plays and films, as well as winning several awards in drama and performing arts. I then moved to New York City to study acting, fulfilling one of my greatest dreams. At the age of five, I would gather all of my family into the living room and make them sit and watch me put on little comedy shows and dances. I went to a very progressive primary school and my friends and I would all create our own plays during recess and lunch and then perform them for the class. It was around that time that the path of acting as a career became very clear to me. Something clicked and from that moment on, I knew that this is what I would spend the rest of my life doing. At my fervent request, my parents enrolled me in acting classes at the Victorian Youth Theatre (VYT) when I was 12, where I was cast in my first professional show, ‘The Conference of the Birds’, based on the ancient Sufi poem. The show toured the Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe festival circuit and I’ve been acting professionally ever since.
After several years of training and performances with the VYT, I decided to pursue training in film for the first time and joined the National Theatre Drama School and the National Institute of Dramatic Art. I was in high school full time studying drama & music when I got the opportunity to audition for my first feature film. I had never practiced an American accent before and so I spent a day listening to Youtube tutorials on Southern accents. I did several rounds of self-tape auditions and annoyed my parents by speaking in a Southern accent for days on end. I later found out that I got cast in the role and all of the other girls who auditioned had been American! The film is called ‘Sharon & The Sewing Circle’ directed by Jibril Haynes. I play the young version of the lead, Sharon, and later got to go to Atlanta to watch the finalised film. Several years later we would end up working together again on his upcoming film ‘A Good Accident’.
Upon arriving home and witnessing the dedication and spirit of all the actors involved in Sharon, I redoubled my efforts in training and took David Coury’s Speech & Singing for Actor’s masterclass. At 15, I was the youngest person in the room by far, but I felt so alive being treated by Mr. Coury as just as worthy as an actor, as all of the adults in the room. The masterclass showed me the possibilities I had as an actor and renewed my fervour to continue my career. I gained a full scholarship to the Youth Acting Course at the Howard Fine Acting Studio and afterwards began applying to acting colleges in New York and London.
In late 2019, I moved across the world to begin my BFA Acting at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. I graduated from their acting conservatory program in Spring of 2021, post-pandemic, and then began working in the city. I’ve been extremely fortunate, since I started, to have been a part of several films and plays, including a cherished collaboration with the Stag & Lion Theatre Company, with whom I have now worked with three times on Macbeth, The Tempest & Henry IV! One of the first ever films I shot in New York, called ‘Hard Plastic,’ is now making the rounds on the international film festival circuit. It won best Silent Film at the Cult Critic Movie Awards and has been nominated in numerous categories at the Midwest Slam Fest and First-Time Filmmaker Sessions at Pinewood Studios in London. I also recently won my first ever Best Actress Awards at the Halicarnassus Film Festival and Birsamunda International Film Festival which is kind of crazy!
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
When you choose Acting as your career, you must school yourself for rejection, because there is a lot of it. But with that also come the best days, when your hard work pays off or you get to get up on stage and do what you love. Ask any working actor, there are a constant see of ‘No’s’ before you get even one ‘yes’. Especially working in New York, you are constantly aware of the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of people all trying to do the same exact thing and wanting the same exact roles as you do, and sometimes it can be very daunting. I am very fortunate in that I have been able to work consistently on a range of exciting shows and films since I moved here. I know that I would never be happy doing anything else but this and so I persevere no matter how low the lows are, and I feel beyond lucky that I get to live in New York City, a place that is so vibrant and full of creative life. I am constantly surrounded by what I love and that constantly pushes me to work harder and not take this opportunity for granted.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
There are so many new ideas and beautiful stories, both new and old, that I want to be a part of telling. Living in New York, I love that I have the opportunity to work on a vast range of different works. One thing in life that I always aim to do is make people laugh. I have a particular brand of dry, sarcastic humour, which most of my characters seem to have a touch of, no matter how hard I try! Right now, I am working on a lot of Shakespeare plays – I just played Ariel in The Tempest, which was so much fun, and I am currently mid-run of Henry IV. In the future, I particularly want to work on modernized & adapted Shakespeare works, as I have found that Shakespeare’s plays take on whole new meanings when thought of in a new light. I am also extremely passionate about telling queer stories, in particular queer works of theatre. To be able to tell those stories, as a queer woman, is a great privilege to me. I very recently worked on a new play by the wonderful playwright Sophie McIntosh called wounded. Wounded illuminates the lives of five femicide victims and I played a woman who was the victim of a hate crime. As a champion of LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights, pursuing this genre of work is something that I’d like to be known for. I am extremely proud of wounded and the women that were involved in telling the beautiful and haunting story, and we were lucky enough to win the audience choice award! Being a part of wounded has shown me that, more than ever, sharing queer women’s stories and the queer experience with the world is extremely important. In the near future I hope to curate a platform, whether virtual or in person (covid permitting), where queer, female-identifying & non-binary artists can showcase their art and gain wider recognition for their work.
Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I play more than six instruments and I also sing! Music has always been a very important part of my life and I think the root of my love of performing. I started playing the piano when I was two and then begged my parents to let me learn the violin when I was three. I’ve been playing the violin now for more than 18 years and although I don’t play professionally anymore, it is still one of my great loves. I’ve also been a part of choir since I was very young. In Melbourne, I sang with the Young Voices of Melbourne (YVM) and Exaudi Youth Choirs, directed by the incomparable Mark O’Leary (OAM). With YVM I got to tour the US, Japan, the UK & Ireland to name a few. Choral works hold such a special place in my heart and I hope that I will be able to sing with them again in the near future! Choir and singing have also been instrumental in my acting career. For Henry IV, my character sings a song in Welsh and, not knowing any Welsh prior to this show, I definitely attribute my choral training in helping me pick it up so quickly!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: aurelea.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aurelear/
- Other: IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8311128/
Freek Dirkx Ian Whitt Katrina Villarreal Jibril Haynes Chain Theatre