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March 25, 2013 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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Interview with Alix Bushnell

Alix Bushnell talks to Salient Theatre Editor Diana Russel about returning to study at Victoria and life after Go Girls

Bubbly and ever-charming, Bushnell has one of those contagious personalities. Five minutes with her and she’ll make you feel as though you’ve been friends for years—when in fact you’re little more than strangers. Just as personable face-to-face as her alter-ego Britta McMann, it’s certainly no surprise she landed the role in TVNZ’s quirky Go Girls back in 2008.

with Alix’s final season on Go Girls all wrapped up, she’s now heading into the next chapter of her life and studying a BA in Theatre and English literature here at Victoria University. Bushnell never finished drama school because she was cast in Go Girls halfway through her third year. “I decided now was a pretty good time to take a year out and finish my undergrad. I’ve managed to cross-credit my prior study that I’d done at Toi Whakaari, the drama school around the corner.”

Go Girls was a big part of Bushnell’s 20s: “I’m really privileged to have had that opportunity. How lucky am I? Really flippin’ lucky! I feel really grateful”. she says that while working on the series, she had little time in her life for anything else. On a show like Go Girls you’re filming anywhere between seven and thirteen minutes of screen time a day—which is about 12 pages of dialogue to learn a night. “Really, it’s almost as though you’ve got to have the horse’s blinkers on, and this is what you’re doing, and you go after it 110 per cent.”

After living and breathing the all-consuming acting lifestyle for the past five years, getting up at the crack of dawn and working 70-hour weeks, Bushnell says she is now ready to take a step back. “I’m auditioning for other productions and I’m keeping available to it, but I also want to make sure that things in my own life have a really solid foundation, so I want to get the undergrad done because that’s going to allow me other career opportunities.”

Bushnell credits Victoria’s wide range of papers and the corresponding greater potential to expand as one of her reasons for choosing to transfer to Victoria, instead of returning to Toi. She feels she’s taken a lot away from her time studying at Toi, as well as attributing a great deal of learning to on-the-job  experience and her peers. “It was a big learning curve. I think that’s true of any profession—not just acting—in that you learn through doing. You can only learn that much, through doing and actually jumping into the deep end.” Currently, Bushnell says she’s looking forward to a different type of learning. “I can do some business papers here as well, so there is more opportunity to branch out and get a wider scope of education.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that nearly any university major other than Theatre offers up a much more lucrative and competitive graduate salary as such, and although Alix is living, breathing proof that studying drama in New Zealand can pave the way for a career in New Zealand television, she advises: “You do need a bread-and-butter job. The reality is, in New Zealand there really isn’t enough work for you to rely on that alone.”

Bushnell, characteristically describes her favourite part of the acting job to “the friendships you make and the people you meet and the real connections you make.”

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