Alison's mother was an actress. She was born in Tanzania in 1962, and her mother worked there in theatre, so she was brought up with actors all around her. They moved to New Zealand when she was around seven, and she was always encouraged at acting. As a…more
Alison's comercial credits include Arnotts Jatz (2004, NZ), Betty Crocker (2006, NZ), Boots (2006, UK), Eta Dressings (2006, NZ), Ingham Chicken (2007, NZ), Westpac (2006, Australia).
Alison has appeared in several short films, including Us (2006), As Dreams are Made On (1998), and Mon Desir (1991).
In 2005, Alison was one of the actors chosen to participate in the 24-Hour Deadline Theatre, which randomly teams up a writer, director, three actors and a mystery prop, who then have twenty-four hours to create a play for performance, in competition with nine other groups of thespians.
Alison's theatre credits include:
(2013) Speaking in Tongues "Sonja/Valerie", Silo Theatre, dir. Shane Bosher
(2012) A Midsummer Night's Dream, "Titania", Auckland Theatre Company, Dirs. Colin McColl & Ben Crowder
(2011) Calendar Girls "Celia", Auckland Theatre Company, Dir. Colin McColl
(2011) Paper Sky "Performer", Read Leap Theatre/NZ International Arts Festival, Dir. Julie Nolan and Kate Parker
(2010) The Arrival "Performer", Red Leap Theatre at the NZ International Arts Festival, dir. Julie Nolan and Kate Parker
(2009) Holding the Man 'Various', Silo Theatre, Dir. Shane Bosher
(2009) The Arrival, 'Performer', adapted by Red Leap Theatre, AK09
(2008) Little Dog Laughed 'Diane', Silo Theatre, dir. Shane Bosher
(2007) Some Girls 'Lindsay' dir. Margaret-Mary Hollins, The Silo Theatre
(2005) The Mercy Seat, 'Abby', dir. Rachel House, Silo Theatre
(2004) Spreading Out 'Jane' Auckland Theatre Company
(1998) The Cherry Orchard, Herald Theatre, dir. Vadim Ledogorov
Alison is represented professionally by the firm Auckland Actors.
Alison's theatre career began in the late 1970s with Auckland's Theatre Corporate.
In 2003, Alison was nominated for the "Best on the Box" "Best Actress" award, but came in fifth out of seven.
There was a survey done of characters who were most popular on Xena during the first season. Xena (Lucy Lawless) was number one, and Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) was number two. Danielle Cormack's character, Ephiny, was number three, but Melosa, played by Alison, finished at number five.
Alison is 5'5", with brown hair and brown eyes.
In 2006 Alison won the New Zealand Screen Award in the Short Film Category for her performance in Us. Us is a short drama about relationships and dealing with consequences.
In 2002 Alison won the New Zealand Film and Television Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for the tv show Mercy Peak.
Being an audition reader for Renaissance (which produces Xena and Hercules, among others) has been very good for Alison. Not only did it help her own acting career, it also got her a husband! She met Neill Rea when he was auditioning for the part of King Arthur on Hercules. She read for the part of Mab, and the scene suddenly became quite steamy between them. Two and a half years later they were planning their wedding.
Alison has played many more parts for Renaissance than have appeared on camera. She has often served as a reader at auditions, voicing the part opposite the actor who is auditioning. In New Zealand, casting directors, prefer to use actors for readers to give the person auditioning the best, opportunity to demonstrate their skills.
Alison's son was still a baby when she filmed the Xena episode "Animal Attraction", so she was experiencing a lot of interrupted nights' sleep. As a result, Alison remembers feeling rather tired during most of the shooting. However, the big fight scene was an exception. "I'm one of those people who love physical stuff," she explained. "I used to do a lot of physical theatre and I find now if I don't do any physical activity I feel really dreadful. I like to work my body quite hard. And I get caught up in the passion."
Alison had broken her ankle and had only been out of her cast for a few weeks before she was cast as the Amazon Queen Melosa on Xena. But she didn't let the pain slow her down, even though it made jumping difficult.
Alison: (on her character Vivienne for the show "Being Eve") Being a mum myself (I have a little boy), I can relate to Viv on most levels. But she's a fabulous caterer and I'm a terrible cook! Just useless! If it's not burnt, it's off. I've just about given up on cooking. I love the fact Vivienne's the one that starts the food fights, she's a bit mischievous and naughty which is fun.
Alison: (referring to Vanessa Alexander, producer of "Being Eve") I was very keen to work with Vanessa again after Magik and Rose. I love working with her and she trusts me and gives me freedom. And it's always fun working with Vanessa.
Alison: (on her actor friends) There is something of a dropout rate when people get to be in their 30s because, by then, one gets pretty tired. It can be very stressful, getting work.
Alison: I don't watch television and I don't know much about what people look at, but someone like Xena would be a great role model for both girls and boys, actually. Obviously for girls they learn that they can be powerful and do what they want to do. Subliminally it puts out good messages for both girls and boys.
Alison: (on her preference for roles that call for stuntwork) I'm one of those people who love physical stuff. I used to do a lot of physical theatre and I find now if I don't do any physical activity I feel really dreadful. I like to work my body quite hard. And I get caught up in the passion.
Alison: I think there's also a tendency in actors, where tragedy is involved, to play that up to show what they can do as actors, to say, 'Look, I can cry.' It's quite hard sometimes not to attach yourself to that and to keep light with it.
Alison: (on the popularity of "Xena" and "Hercules" in New Zealand) Xena and Hercules didn't catch on here too well at first. I don't think people "got it". We tend to take ourselves a bit seriously sometimes.
Alison: (on the "subtext" of "Xena") You can read into it what you like. That's great, that's really good. And it's not surprising, either. I mean you have this large, stroppy woman who is also beautiful! It's amazing the following the show has, and the diversity of fans. I wonder if Xena has many lesbian fans in New Zealand?
Alison: I think our perception of powerful women is generally that they must be bitches because what else could they be in that position? I often get roles for women who are authoritative and contained, but they do tend to be bitches as well. Sometimes you have to find a way of working against the writing... looking for something else in there.
Alison: (on her stunt fight with Lucy Lawless) The sequence went out the window at one point and we were really fighting to hold it together before we started laughing. But we got it back again.
Alison: (on being Queen Melosa on Xena) I had such a good time doing that role, because I've never really gotten to do any stunt fighting or anything before. I found it exciting. So now when a role comes up, I have a good look and see if there are any good stunt fights.
Alison: (on her role as the Amazon Queen Melosa for Xena) I knew it was a great role. When I got it, I was really excited. I fasted for a week. I wanted to be thin.