‘The luckiest girl in the world’

After a few unsuccessful auditions, Beatrice Onions finally spent a semester at the Royal Academy...
After a few unsuccessful auditions, Beatrice Onions finally spent a semester at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London last year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Queenstowner who recently graduated in theatre from New York University’s (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts can’t believe the role she’s scored in the theatrical world.

Beatrice Onions is working as a creative associate and assistant to celebrated Broadway/West End director Rebecca Taichman in New York City.

"I’m just having the time of my life," the 24-year-old tells Mountain Scene from the United States.

Taichman’s one of only six women to have won a Tony award for ‘best director of a play’, which she took home in 2017 for Indecent, by Paula Vogel.

"I never thought there was a job for me that was utilising all the things I love doing — reading plays and talking about plays, acting, it’s pretty incredible, so I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

"[Taichman] works on a whole lot of projects with a lot of really incredible directors and choreographers and actors.

"I’m helping her in whatever way I can because she’s just unbelievably busy."

Onions feels she’s lucky because not only is New York City a pretty competitive job market, "but the entertainment industry is like a notoriously, infamously hard industry to kind of find your spot".

She originally learnt drama from then-neighbour Jenny Brinsley when she was nine, and attended Arrowtown School and then Wakatipu High, leaving in 2018.

She undertook her first term at NYU by Zoom, in 2020, due to Covid restrictions, before flying out to New York early the following year.

Initially she studied both acting and playwriting, then, latterly, just acting.

She also had an internship with a New York production company where she was mentored by another "incredible woman", Emmy, Tony and Clio award-winning producer Jenna Segal.

Onions spent her final semester doing a four-month Shakespeare "intensive" at London’s famous Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

She’d previously auditioned unsuccessfully but wouldn’t take ‘no’.

"It’s the dream school I’ve always wanted to go to; it’s so hard to get in, but I was relentless."

She says she left RADA 10 days early to assist the lead producer on a set in Wales for a production starring Game of Thrones star Kit Harington.

Onions says she now can’t see herself not working in the US.

"I’m completely besotted with New York" — though she also wouldn’t mind trying out Los Angeles.

She also likes the way Americans "totally advocate for themselves".

"I think if I can be so bold as to say, New Zealand maybe has a bit to learn about doing the thing and dreaming big and going out there and chasing it."

 

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