After memorable turns in Don Parties On (2011) and Top Girls (2012), Nikki Shiels is back at MTC starring in Joanna Murray-Smith’s hilarious battle of the sexes, True Minds. In between she’s appeared in Network 10’s Rush, and has been nominated for a Green Room Award for her performance in MKA’s The Unspoken Word is Joe. Here she takes a few minutes out from the busy rehearsal period to tell us about True Minds.
You began your MTC career with a World Premiere (Don Parties On), and now you’re starring in another. Is there a certain freedom in that newness – in playing a character the world has never met, in a story they do not know?
Of course! I can’t wait to introduce Daisy to the world. I am really enjoying this creative process of evolving a brand new character in collaboration with Joanna [Murray-Smith] and Pete [Director Peter Houghton]. They are a powerhouse combination to be crafting a character with.
How would you describe Daisy, your character in True Minds?
Daisy is a fiercely intelligent, fiesty young woman. She’s passionate and outrageous, with a big heart that her mind can often get the better of. But by golly she will go to great lengths for true love…
You’ve said in the past that you are inspired by Katharine Hepburn – both as a person and an artist. True Minds actually has a slight Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner feel about it; have you drawn on that film, or Katherine’s other comic works, for this play?
I have in fact. I watched her performance in George Cukor’s 1940’s romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story before commencing rehearsals for True Minds. She brings great dignity and playfulness to her character, who finds herself in a situation not dissimilar to Daisy.
When you’re not on stage or preparing for a show, what are your favourite things to do?
I don’t mind a bushwalk and a cuppa with my boyfriend.
What is your dream role?
Any woman in any Tennesse Williams play!
True Minds is playing at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner from 25 April to 8 June.