Bree Peters on politics, public hate and being Winston's daughter

Bree Peters is about to star in a new play about politics - a world she's familiar with, given her dad is the Acting Prime Minister.

Best known as the murderous Dr Pania Stevens from Shortland Street, she says people used to spit at her in public and pull their children away when they saw her.

"I wore a lot of hats," she says.

She says people have trouble separating reality from fiction, especially when it comes to soaps "because you're with them all the time in their living rooms".

The actress is the daughter of Winston Peters, one of New Zealand's most well-known and longest-serving politicians.

Growing up surrounded by politics, she should have no trouble with her next role as ruthless spin doctor Georgia Rush in Burn Her, a new play by Sam Brooks.

However, she denies suggestions she brought any real political know-how to the performance.

"I learned how to get stuck in the Beehive elevator very young - that's pretty much all I've learned," she said.

"The world is familiar, so how I react and play to it is not melodrama, it just is what it is. It's fun to play in that world that's quite intense, you never know what's going to happen."

Ms Peters says she's never been tempted to follow her father by making her own foray into politics.

"It's fun to pretend, but then step away and be like, 'Oh no, not for me - pass'."

Peters says her dad, famous for his charisma and devastating put-downs, hasn't needed to ask her for any performance tips.

"I've never taught him anything about acting, and if he ever came and said 'You know when you did that thing?' I'd be like 'Hey, stay in your lane'.

"We do love watching movies and that kind of stuff, but no way."

Burn Her opens at Q Theatre on August 2, the same day Jacinda Ardern will replace Winston Peters as Prime Minister again.

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