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by Rachael Comer

A former Timaru woman has made it to the big screen.
Keagan Fransch plays the part of Dr Marquez in the Disney movie Pete’s Dragon, now screening throughout the country.
Fransch was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to Timaru with her family in 2004. She is now based in Wellington.
Pete’s Dragon , shot in New Zealand, follows the adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot – a dragon.
“I got involved with Pete’s Dragon through my casting agent in October 2014,” Fransch said.
“I auditioned, then received a call-back in November 2014, and was cast in the film a couple of weeks later. I play the role of Dr Marquez, a paediatrician at the local hospital.”
It is the first feature-length film for Fransch, who has appeared in several short films.
She attended the cast and crew screening of the movie in Wellington in August, and said it had been a surreal moment seeing herself on the big screen.
“It was exciting to see and hear myself on the big screen, and to finally see the result of all the hard work the cast and crew had put into the … film.”
Fransch said she had always been interested in drama from a young age, but when she moved to Timaru in 2004 she took NCEA drama at Timaru Girls’ High School and her interest strengthened.
“From there I got to go to The Globe in London as part of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Young Shakespeare Company 2005.
“I then graduated with a degree in theatre studies from the University of Waikato, and then with a degree in acting from Toi Whakaaari: New Zealand Drama School.”
Fransch has been accepted into the Masters of Acting course at the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, which she hopes to attend in September 2017.
It would depend, however, on whether she could raise the “large tuition fees” by the deadline.
“As such, all of my time at the moment is focused on fundraising so that I can grab that wonderful opportunity with both hands to work with the best teachers in London, and consequently help build visibility and opportunity for Kiwis who look like me.”
Anyone wanting to help Keagan can email her on keagan.fransch@gmail.com.