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From Peninsula summers to Summer Bay

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Philippa Northeast has fond memories of visiting the Mornington Peninsula and her aunt Felicity, who owns the award-winning Felicity Northeast Millinery. You could say the summers spent at the beach mucking around with her cousins set her up for her former role on Home and Away. Kate Sears speaks to her about her journey to and from the fictitious Summer Bay. 

How and when did you get into acting?

I was lucky enough to have a Steiner education, so growing up there was always a strong emphasis on creativity. My fondest memory was playing Peter Pan, the boy who never wanted to grow up, but I never really entertained the thought that you could sustain a career from acting. However, I became curious and blindly Googled acting agents in Melbourne. My search result returned Catherine Poulton Management and without any professional experience, training or headshots, I wrote an unsolicited email introducing myself. Catherine invited me to perform a monologue in their office, and from that day she’s remained my Australian agent. The following year I enrolled at Melbourne University but after a term I was lucky enough to land Home and Away

Could you tell our readers about your time on Home and Away?

The job came after my first ever call-back audition and I remember just feeling so thrilled that I’d get free nuts on the plane to Sydney. In no world was I expecting a professional gig. I didn’t know what a camera ‘mark’ was and a ‘boom’ was just a word for an unexpected loud noise. However, Home and Away took a chance on me, and with so much kindness the crew and cast taught me what I needed to know. I feel like I went through an apprenticeship from 2013-2016. It was an incredible place to work and learn. I’ll always be grateful for the love and care that I felt over that time. The cast and crew remain some of my best friends and hold some of my fondest memories. 

What was the highlight of filming Standing Up For Sunny with Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte?

This was a special time for me as it was my debut in film and a story I felt so strongly for. Steven Vidler, the writer and director, had created a romantic comedy about young adults who were trying to live a meaningful existence whilst facing their own individual challenges. My character, Sunny, explored mental disability through her battles with bulimia whereas RJ’s character, Travis, showed a character with cerebral palsy, which RJ has in real life. The film advocates for more inclusivity for disabilities through a heart-warming love story that sends the message that we are all humans, no matter the battles we are facing.  I’m very proud to be a part of this story. 

What do you love about acting?

I love exploring different stories, histories, mentalities and having the opportunity to bring them to life through collaborating with other creatives. I find it incredibly fun and believe art to be a necessity in a world that’s currently quite trying both environmentally and politically. 

What’s your five-year goal?

I live with my partner on a farm in rural NSW, so when we are not acting we are investigating how we can sequester more carbon and rehabilitate the landscape. In five years’ time I’d like to see our world temperature go down and be actively aiding in that pursuit whilst balancing an acting career. 

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