Tough Act

Tough Act Wednesdays, 9pm

There’s elation, tears, and lots of drama, in local observational documentary series Tough Act, which follows an intake of students as they embark on their first year at top drama school Toi Whakaari. If you missed it the first time around on TV2, you can catch it again on TVNZ Showcase on TVNZ 6, Wednesdays at 9pm.

Toi Whakaari has a reputation for training some of New Zealand’s top acting talent, and this series provides a rare insight into its often unusual methods of turning youngsters into stars. Tough Act follows the lives of the 22 trainees at the Wellington-based school as they start their three-year acting course.
It all starts with the highly competitive auditions. Hundreds of young people from all over New Zealand, and from all walks of life, apply. While some stand out as having star potential, others clearly don’t make the grade. For the 22 trainees accepted it’s a chance to pursue dreams of fame and fortune. As they head for a new life in Wellington, many are leaving home for the first time.

Tough Act tracks their first year of training, as these budding stars get to grips with life at the school. In voice, movement, acting and singing classes, the tutors push them hard physically and mentally.

Producer of Tough Act, Jeanie Davison, believes that anyone who’s ever dreamt of being a star, or who’s fascinated as to why other people would want to be one, will love this series.

“Tough Act is a rare insight into one of New Zealand’s great institutions. With such great access to the school, its staff and students, I think we’ve truly been able to present Toi Whakaari as it really is. From the outset, we knew that we couldn’t show the highs without also showing the lows – the result is a truly gripping series that makes you realise that chasing dreams can also be bloody hard work!”

Director Stuart McKenzie says the series will resonate with anybody who has struggled to make their dreams a reality.

“For actors their raw material is themselves — their bodies and their voices, but also their past, their emotions and their human vulnerabilities. I have huge admiration for the courage and skill it takes to illuminate other peoples’ experiences by revealing your own. I’ll be pleased if Tough Act gives a glimpse of how actors might learn to do it.”

They’ve got talent, they’ve got ambition, they’ve got intelligence, they’ve got beauty. But have they got what it really takes? Find out on Wednesday nights, on TVNZ Showcase.