Katherine McRae

Marj Neilson

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Katherine McRae has been performing and directing since graduating from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in 1985. Most of her theatre work has been in Wellington and highlights include playing Thomasina in Arcadia (Best Actress award), Annie in Closer and the leads in The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Baby Doll. Her award-winning theatre productions include Cherish, An Enemy of the People and, more recently, Emily Perkins’

A Dolls House. Katherine has many connections to Shortland Street. In 1993, she appeared as Jane, the estranged daughter of receptionist Marj Neilson, played by her real-life mother Elizabeth McRae. Katherine was a dialogue writer for a couple of years before returning to act, this time as Nurse Brenda Holloway. She stayed until Halloween 2007 when her character fell victim to Joey Henderson, ‘The Ferndale Strangler’, whom she’d been tracking in one of the show’s best-remembered storylines.

After this, Katherine directed Shortland Street for South Pacific Pictures as well as episodes of Nothing Trivial and Go Girls. More recently, she has directed Filthy Rich and starred as Helen Milner in Catching the Black Widow. To be part of Shortland Street The Musical playing the iconic role her mother played in the original cast of the television show, was a delicious idea that Katherine couldn’t turn down.