Tough Act

Tough Act was conceived and pitched to TVNZ by Stuart McKenzie. It was then commissioned by TV2 for prime time; and produced through Wellington television company The Gibson Group with Stuart directing.

Tough Act follows the lives of the students from the 2005 intake into Toi Whaakari: NZ Drama School, as they embark on their first year of a three-year acting course with dreams of making it big.

The series for TV2 provides exclusive access into New Zealand's top drama school. Toi Whakaari has been the training ground for many of New Zealand's finest actors; and this show provides a rare insight into its often unusual methods of turning youngsters into stars.

First up, there's the highly competitive auditions. Hundreds of youngsters from all over NZ, and from all walks of life, apply. While some stand out as having star potential, others clearly don't make the grade! At the recall weekend, 48 are put through a series of grueling workshops, as the tutors try to decide on the final 22 who've got the star quality they're after.

There's elation and tears as the final letters go out – some face bitter disappointment, but for those who've been 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. Little do they know the tough challenges that lie ahead and that will test them to their limits.

The trainees are a diverse group – there's a former lawyer, an auto-electrician, a computer programmer, a Sunday school teacher, and two children of well-known actors. One of the students is hoping to make a fresh start after growing up in an environment of abuse and alcoholism. Another is determined to make the most of a second chance at drama school after being kicked out once before.

The series follows them through 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. But the constant scrutiny proves overwhelming for many, and the students' inner fears quickly surface. Tensions spring up within the group, as they jostle to prove themselves while trying to cope with the pressure and extreme tiredness.

Follow these young actors on their physical and emotional journey to succeed in an industry that relies on talent, looks, and a lot of luck!

Tough Act promo poster.