The Young Actor and Circus Performer Landing Lead Roles

Ella Edward's on-screen composure has been quietly drawing the attention of the industry

Ella Edward's is set to star in Midnight alongside her stepmother Eve Gordon. Picture / Babiche Martens

An actor and circus performer, Ella Edward’s on-screen composure has been quietly drawing the attention of the industry. The 17-year-old had a lead role as Isolde in The Rehearsal, a film adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s novel, and appeared in The Changeover, written by Margaret Mahy. She’s set to star in Midnight alongside her stepmother Eve Gordon, founder of circus theatre company The Dust Palace.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up in a lot of different places around a lot of different people. I got into acting through my dad when I was young, and when I got to about 12, started training myself hard to become a circus performer.

I hadn’t done any prior physical training or even sport, was a little gamer child, but circus became something I really wanted and I pushed myself to the level I am at now with the help and influence of the best circus performers in New Zealand.

Now I’m 17, I’m flatting, I’ve done a few Kiwi feature films and I’m still training for world-class skills.

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When did you first get into acting?
When I was 7, my Dad auditioned for Les Miserables, and suggested I come along and audition for the role of young Cossette. Randomly I got the role.

What kinds of roles do you like playing?
I want to be a badass chick with a sword. I’d love to do a martial arts film.

What, or who, inspires you?
I inspire myself. But I can also binge-watch YouTube videos of people with mad skills to the point where all I can think is getting these mad skills is all that matters. James Thierree’s work is beautiful; he’s a Swiss theatre artist.

What’s it like being a young actor in New Zealand?
Well, I don’t know what it’s like to be a young actor in any other country, but I’d say the vibes in New Zealand are artistically driven, which is definitely something that keeps us sane. It’s a community I love being a part of.

What aspirations do you have for your career?
Being revolutionary.

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What’s coming up next for you?
The Dust Palace is collaborating with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in a show called Midnight in November at the Town Hall. It’s going to be galactic, come watch us.

Right now I’m . . .
Listening to: Run The Jewels.
Watching: Nothing at the moment.
Reading: A book about the rise of Christianity and fall of rational thought in the Greco-Roman era. It’s called The Closing of the Western Mind. Also a book on colloquial Chinese.
Enjoying: Dark Souls on Xbox.
Looking forward to: Christmas and more training because I’m a nerd.

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New Zealand Herald

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