October 28, 2022
People & Places

Actor Sophie Power’s international development

With a film coming out early next year and a Hollywood production in the works, actor Sophie Power takes a little time out to return home to Adelaide.

Sophie at her father’s North Adelaide home during a recent break in Adelaide.

Throughout lockdown, Sophie Power sat in her bedroom, clinging to any source of creative outlet she could find.

It happened to appear in the form of acting classes via Zoom, and the video conferencing tool has come in handy since, facilitating rehearsals for a film due to shoot in New York state’s Catskill Mountains next year.

Although the actor is now based in Victoria, Sophie is an Adelaide girl, having attended Walkerville Primary, St Andrews and Wilderness School. Born into a family of doctors, she knew that wasn’t the life for her, but thought that becoming a veterinarian would be a suitable compromise.

After completing her schooling, Sophie went to Brazil for a year and had “the time of her life” living in an ecological sanctuary.


Actor Sophie Power as a youngster growing up in St Peters.


“My jobs were cruising up and down the beach on a quad bike looking for turtle tracks or trying to spot dolphins,” Sophie says.

Sophie loved drama at school, but hadn’t considered it as a career path. Her first role was Josephine in HMS Pinafore while in year four at St Andrews. However, it was drama teacher Roger Masters at Wilderness who really instilled her love of acting.

“He was amazing and definitely gave us a lot of freedom,” she says.

Sophie says it was the camaraderie and collaboration of those classes that kept drama in the back of her mind in the years that followed. She had been working in a vet clinic since she was 13 but – inspired by her time in Brazil – decided to change courses to begin studying international development instead.

“In my final year, I went to India and worked in water and sanitation in slums in Mumbai,” Sophie says.

“I ended up on a study tour with the Australian Government and then I tacked an internship to the end of it, working with a company that was doing water and sanitation – but terribly.”

She returned to Adelaide, completed her thesis and then realised she did, in fact, want to be an actor.


Using her talents in front of the camera for a short film.


“It was eating me up inside, so I went to New York.”

During her Honours, she had been taking classes with tough-as-nails Adelaide agent Ann Peters.

“She’s so passionate. She cares so deeply about Adelaide and actors staying in Adelaide,” says Sophie.

“She was super strict. You could not miss a class unless you were literally dying. She really instilled that deep care and commitment to the craft.”

After that year, Sophie was off to the Atlantic Theatre School, which was started by actor William H Macy and playwright David Mamet. The six-week course has attracted a lot of Australians – including Rose Byrne – for its shorter, intensive format.

“Kind of like with Ann, if you weren’t there on the dot, you weren’t allowed to come to class and you got kicked out if you missed too many classes.”

The next step was deciding whether to study the full course at Atlantic or move to Melbourne. After a year in Adelaide weighing it up, the sheer unaffordability of New York meant she stayed in Australia.

For the next year and a half, she studied at Sixteenth Street – an intense, method-based program, which left her exhausted. The only acting she did after that course was improvisation with Impro Melbourne.

“That was great because it meant I could perform every single weekend, and no worrying about learning lines,” she says. It also allowed Sophie to cast herself as whichever character she wanted and hone those creative skills.


Before pursuing acting, Sophie worked with water and sanitation in India.


Sophie’s plans changed again when she came to Adelaide for four days to visit her mum and the pandemic shut everything down. With not a lot of work for actors during the lockdown, Sophie became a candlemaker at Etikette, owned by friends of hers.

“I was a terrible candlemaker, but I had a great time. I was like a wrecking ball in that place,” she laughs.

During the early stages of the pandemic, it was an online acting class held by actor and acting coach Josh Pais – who was in recent smash-hit movie The Joker – that fed Sophie’s creative need.

“The classes had a lot of people from New York in and that re-inspired me and kept me going creatively,” she says.

A small group from the class, along with some other US actors, all branched out to work on a project. Josh asked the group to come along to the class with a character and Sophie decided to showcase something far removed from her own life – a sex therapist from Alabama.

“It was so bad because there were people in the class who were from the South and I had this terrible accent,” she says.

“I was thinking it would be just this one time and Josh says, ‘That’s great, let’s keep that going.’”


On screen as party girl Flick in soon-to-be-released Slant.


The character – thankfully without the accent – has been written into a piece called The Reconnect that is set to film in the Catskills next year.

“Having ended up in this role as the sex therapist, I went on a huge exploration because we were improvising and I sort of had to know how to do these things,” Sophie says.

“I was listening to podcasts with sex therapists and the work they do is so important. Female sexuality is so dominated by men and the fact that often we don’t have sovereignty over our own bodies, it’s insane.

“I’ve become really passionate about women being equal everywhere, inclusive of the bedroom, and I think it all ties in with women being able to speak comfortably about their sexuality.”

Josh wrote a script based on the actors’ improvised characters and storyline. However, rehearsals haven’t come without challenges.

“You don’t get that feeling of making energy between two people and that’s kind of what drama is – it’s creating that spark between people,” says Sophie.

Before she flies out, a film she worked on starring Sigrid Thornton and Pia Miranda is due to be released, either later this year or early next. Set in Melbourne in 1999, Slant tells the story of a young journalist called Derek who is investigating the disappearance of an infamous socialite. Sophie plays party girl Flick and she says that while the film was made off the smell of an oily rag, the level of professionalism and cooperation was exceptional.


Sophie enjoys some downtime in her home state and recently spent a break exploring the Flinders Ranges.


“It was the best cast and the best crew,” she says.

“The great thing about it was that Pia and Sigrid are so experienced, but not once did they get grumpy about anything. A lot of the crew were quite young and just starting out, but they loved it and were excited about it.”

The indie production was filmed over six weeks in Melbourne around March last year, during a small window in which the city wasn’t locked down.

Although life is busy, Sophie likes to get back to her home state as much as she can. She recently returned from a trip to the Flinders Ranges, a place she spent a lot of time while she was in SA during the pandemic.

“I also surf, so I like getting down to Middleton and Moana.”

Sophie says it’s also been nice spending time with her family, including her father Rick and mother Liz, who have been enormously supportive of her career choice.

“When I left school, Dad did ask me once if I wanted to get into medicine, but he’s tried very hard not to do that,” Sophie says.

“Although, I have role-played for the Australian Medical Council and worked for the Starlight Foundation as a Captain Starlight – and both of those were in hospitals – so I don’t think I completely escaped.”

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