7:00pm Weeknights on TV2
Shortland Street welcomes a new face this week, when local actor Jacqueline Nairn takes on the role of Nurse Wendy Cooper.
Nairn, who originally trained as a school teacher, graduated from drama school in 2000 after deciding that acting was her true passion. With a dream to act in the West End, Nairn bravely packed up her life in New Zealand and moved to London to pursue that dream.
“I was lucky enough to secure my first role as an understudy, three days after I landed. The play was Fallen Angels, the sell-out hit of the 2000/01 theatre season, alongside Felicity Kendal and Frances de la Tour,” says Nairn. “This led to an incredible two and a half years of theatre in London and Europe. I had the time of my life.”
Back on home turf, Nairn continued working in theatre, with roles in The Women, Suddenly Last summer and Plenty at the Silo Theatre, King Lear, a one woman show Bombshells, and A Streetcar Named Desire, which was invited to be part of a Tennessee Williams Festival in the United States last year.
“That was a wonderful time. Stella was top on my list of roles that I wanted to have a chance to play in my life,” says Nairn. “Playing Stella 100 metres from where Tennessee wrote the play in Provincetown was a humbling experience.”
Nairn was thrilled to be offered the role of Wendy earlier this year, saying it is an incredible opportunity.
“I feel so blessed to be acting full time. I’ve had enough non-acting time in my life to appreciate just what a fortunate position I’m in at the moment. I love going to work. It’s a great atmosphere to be a part of.”
When asked what similarities Nairn shares with her character, Nairn responds that they are both tenacious women, who care deeply about other people.
“We also have a serious aversion to parking tickets, and we’re both redheads,” laughs Nairn.
Spending her down time with her friends and family, Nairn also enjoys keeping active.
“I do Bikram Yoga, this year I started Burlesque dancing, which is enormous fun, and joined a tennis club,” says Nairn. “I read, dabble in writing, go to films and theatre, and just try to make the most of every day.”
Nairn says she can remember her first day on set well, mostly because she was so nervous.
“I was terrified! It was on location with Amanda (Sarah Potts). But fortunately, the first scene I shot was Wendy’s job interview with Sarah, so my character was fairly nervous. Although I’m not sure how much of it was Wendy and how much of it was Jacquie!”
If you have missed an episode, full episodes of Shortland Street will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.