Last year, Meaghan Martin started her production company, 3 hearts canvas, alongside her husband Oli Higginson, which has already seen them work on two stage shows with their debut being The Actor’s Nightmare at Park Theatre which Meaghan performed in as Melissa Stearn. Also a screen and voiceover actor, her short film Unstable Bitches was released earlier this year and Meaghan appears in Bad News, which recently premiered at London Independent Film Festival. Early in her career, Meaghan was well-known around the world for her starring roles in productions such as the Camp Rock films as Tess Tyler, Mean Girls 2 as Jo Mitchell and 10 Things I Hate About You as Bianca Stratford. Talking with us, Meaghan chats about being co-artistic director of 3 hearts canvas, her latest short film Bad News and playing Tess Tyler in Camp Rock.
How did it feel seeing your new short film Bad News premiere at London Independent Film Festival?
I was really happy to hear that Bad News was a part of the London Independent Film Festival. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see it, but I had seen it previously at a screening and I’m really proud of the project. It was quite a big task – as it’s a twelve-minute long, single take short film. The cast and crew did a lovely job! I hope it will be released online soon.
What can you say about your character Gina?
Gina works in the media/communication department for a politician who is going through a bit of a scandal, I don’t want to give away too much, but she’s definitely out of her comfort zone!
You were Grace in the short comedy Unstable Bitches, what was this role like to play?
I had loads of fun filming Unstable Bitches and playing Grace. She’s a pretty terrible person. It’s always fun to take on roles that feel very different from myself, and Grace is definitely one of those.
We understand you play Samantha in the upcoming film Journey, is there anything you can say about this production?
I had a wonderful time making Journey, I don’t know when it will be released, but hopefully everyone will get to catch it soon! It’s definitely a timely and important story about the life of a Mexican immigrant in the United States.
You are co-artistic director for 3 hearts canvas, can you tell us more about this?
Yes! 3 hearts canvas is the production company my husband, Oli Higginson, and I started together in 2019. So far we’ve produced one play, co-produced a short play and are planning to produce a short film. For us, it’s a great way to stay creative and to challenge ourselves. We hope to help contribute to the arts community with relevant, thought-provoking pieces that engage the audience in new and exciting ways.
3 hearts canvas had their debut show last year at Park Theatre called The Actor’s Nightmare how did this go?
Working on The Actor’s Nightmare was one of the biggest challenges of my career so far. Mainly because I was both producing and acting. It was incredibly difficult to balance the two roles and to feel as if I was able to give 100% of myself to both the creative and business sides of the piece. However, in the end, I would say it went well! I had such a brilliant time performing the show and feel really fortunate to have learned so much from the team at the Park Theatre and from everyone who helped make that show possible.
What was Melissa Stearn like to portray in the production?
Melissa Stearn is a great character. She’s featured in the short play Business Lunch at the Russian Tea Room (The Actor’s Nightmare was a compilation of short plays about the entertainment industry by Tony Award-winning playwright, Christopher Durang). Like I mentioned earlier, Melissa is an awful person, and I always have a lot of fun playing awful people! Melissa is a strong, fast-talking bulldozer of a Hollywood executive… I think playing her was particularly cathartic for me.
You previously performed in Underexposed, how was this and was it your professional London stage debut?
Underexposed was great, although it wasn’t my professional debut, it was a scratch night of sorts where I got to meet some lovely young artists in London and work on a new piece called For The Love of Noodles. My professional debut was after this in The Actor’s Nightmare!
What do you enjoy most about appearing on stage?
I love having an audience live right in front of you. It’s terrifying and exhilarating. Stage is much scarier than film, but in the best way. You get to ride this roller coaster with the audience and experience all the twists and turns.
Can you tell us about voicing your role for the Kingdom Hearts video games?
I feel so fortunate to have voiced Namine for the last ten years! It’s fun to work on a project that people are so excited and passionate about.
What’s it like working in voiceover opposed to stage and screen?
Voiceover is generally very different – you’re normally isolated, in a booth on your own. You often don’t know much about the script or story, as they keep video games so under-wraps. It presents its own challenges, but generally is a fun project that doesn’t take too much time!
You filmed as Tess Tyler for the Camp Rock films, what are your best memories from your time on set?
I can’t believe it’s been almost thirteen years since we filmed Camp Rock, I had such an incredible experience working on it. Being at the remote summer camp outside of Toronto in Canada was definitely a highlight. It meant as a cast we all really had the chance to bond without the distractions of technology. It’s incredible to see how everyone has grown and changed over the years as well.
Do you remember how you felt booking the role of Jo Mitchell in Mean Girls 2?
I was excited to play Jo, and I was particularly excited to work with Melanie Mayron, the director. I had worked with her on the TV series 10 Things I Hate About You and found her to be a great teacher. I wouldn’t say Mean Girls 2 is the project I’m most proud of, it definitely has a lot of flaws, but I grew a lot during the filming process both personally and professionally and for that I’m super thankful.
Is there anything you would like to have known before starting your career as a teenager in hugely-popular productions?
I think it would have been useful if someone had said “do what fulfills you and makes you happy, don’t do something because you’re pressured to or because you think you should”. It’s insane to think about the opportunities I was given at such a young age, and I’m so thankful for them, but I know I wasn’t prepared. I then spent so many years trying to get things ‘right’, only to realise that ‘right’ didn’t really exist. It took a while, but I finally realised the most important thing was to follow my artistic wants and to challenge myself, to push myself out of my comfort zone. In this career you have to believe in yourself more than anyone else and that’s terrifying, I wish someone had warned me more about that.
Had you always wanted an acting career and what drew you to the UK and LAMDA?
Acting has been a part of my life for so long I can’t imagine life without it. In an utterly crazy and cliché way, it completes me. I was drawn to the UK to study acting – some of the best drama schools in the world are here, and I always wanted to study. Perhaps it was a bit of imposter syndrome, but I felt like I needed to have proper training before I could continue my career. I think that was the best decision I could have made for myself, my time at LAMDA taught me so much and gave me the space I needed to remind myself why I love acting and what I bring to the table as an actor. I think the UK has a respect for the arts and the creative process that I didn’t see in Los Angeles and that’s what motivated me to stick around London!
What upcoming career plans do you have?
I will definitely be on stage in London again soon! I’m also working on voices for two very exciting upcoming video games that haven’t been announced yet. Other than that, I’m open! The scariest and most exciting part of being an actor – you never know what is coming around the corner!
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