Polynesian actor in ‘Australian diaspora’

From Tonga to Sutherland Shire: Anthony Taufa is looking forward to appearing at the Sydney Opera House. Picture: Lisa McMahonORIGINALLY from Melbourne via Tonga, actor Anthony Taufa and his family are among Sutherland Shire’s newest residents.
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The move from Melbourne, Taufa said, was to help his career after joining the Bell Shakespeare company and because he wanted to be near other relatives who could help care for his family when touring.

And, indeed, he will be touring with Bell after first starring on stage at the Sydney Opera House playing Tybalt in an “Australianised” version of Romeo and Juliet.

Taufa, 28, began acting when studying cinema and drama at Melbourne’s La Trobe University followed by a drama course at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Arts, graduating in 2009. However, his interest in acting dates back much further.

“When I was at high school in Melbourne I appeared in a school production of The Wiz based on a musical version of The Wizard of Oz when I played the leader of the flying monkey characters.

“Instead of getting into trouble when I was young for clowning around in class I ended up looking for praise for creating characters in my school drama class.”

His ambition now “is to change the ethnic landscape of Australian stage and cinema”.

Taufa said he wanted to excel in different mediums “making my Polynesian face more commonplace on stage and screen, and creating an awareness for young, creative and diverse personalities in the Australian diaspora”.

This new production of Romeo and Juliet promises to be different. Instead of Verona, the setting is a drought-stricken Australia in the mid-20th century. Audiences will find the stage covered in rich red dirt, and includes a handmade jetty.

Taufa is one of eight young actors who inject cute and comical colloquialisms into Shakespeare’s original script.

Details: Romeo and Juliet, The Playhouse,

Sydney Opera House; April 30 to May 25.

Posted by at 07/05/2018
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