Raising a Performer

raising a performer

We chat to Lesley Fifield about her daughter Zoe, one of three girls selected nationwide to be the lead role in the musical, Annie.

Does Zoe come from a large family?

Zoe is the middle child of three, and the only girl. She is an IVF baby and although she is 14 months older than her brother, they were conceived at the same time, so we call them time-warp twins. They are very close and were often mistaken for twins when they were younger. Zoe has a large extended family, in New Zealand, the UK and Thailand.

What things do you enjoy doing as a family?

We love walking our dogs on the beach, going to the movies or having Family Fun Nights which involve a DVD and chocolate treats. We also enjoying playing games – Boggle and various quiz games are our favourite.

What is Zoe good at in school?

Zoe loves school and has always been a high achiever, winning many awards over the years. She works hard and takes pride in her work. She loves getting involved in all aspects of school life and puts her hand up for lots of extra school activities. Her favourite subjects are writing and maths and, of course, public speaking!

Does Zoe go to drama, dance or singing classes? When did she start these?

Zoe is in her fifth year of attending musical theatre classes and this is her passion. She also enjoys weekly piano, dance (jazz and tap) and singing classes. She started ballet classes when she was just 2 and we were living in the UK. She would watch the girls arrive for their dance class as she was finishing at playschool and was always fascinated by them. I’ll never forget the look of joy on her face when she put on her red ballet outfit and joined the other girls in the class for the first time.

Has Zoe performed in shows before?

Zoe performed in her first show when she was three and we were living in Hong Kong. I can still remember it so clearly, it was a ballet dance to Neil Sedaka’s ‘Calendar Girls’ and she loved every minute of it. Since then, she has taken part in over 140 different performances, including A Concert of Hope at the Sky City Theatre, Christmas in the Park and The Wizard of Oz at The Civic.

Does Zoe have time for other activities?

Zoe is a keen hockey player and also loves horse riding. Until recently, she attended our local Pony Club, competing at many equestrian events, with cross country being her favourite. She also enjoys ski-ing and generally loves any type of thrill-seeking activity. She would love to do a bungy jump, but right now she is a little too light!

How determined was Zoe to win the lead role of Annie?

Zoe was absolutely determined she wanted to be Annie from the very beginning, although she came down with a very sore throat and was quite unwell for the second round of auditions (although she didn’t tell me!). She had seen some exceptionally talented girls in her group, so she knew the competition was tough. She was overjoyed when she was told she had been chosen as one of the Annies, but was really sick by then and ended up having the following week off school!

What are the qualities you think are most important to instill in your children?

Integrity and self worth are top of my list, plus always treating others as they would wish to be treated. Also if they want something badly enough, with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

Zoe will share the role of Annie with Amelia Walshe and Ilena Shadbolt. The three girls, chosen from 630 who auditioned, will alternate the role for seasons in Wellington (from Friday 23 May) and Auckland (from Friday 13 June). To book tickets, visit www.anniethemusical.co.nz.

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