For one hour every week Anna Bamford lights up our screens as the free-spirited Miranda in Channel Ten’s new drama series, Wonderland.

However it might come as a surprise to some that Anna is actually a local north shore girl.

She grew up in Killara and attended Barker College, where her dedicated drama teacher fuelled her love of acting. Her early determination saw her score a place in the world-renowned Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and her first prime-time leading role in Wonderland.

As one of the hottest new graduates from WAAPA, Anna has garnered a strong reputation among her peers and among the cast and crew at Channel Ten. She has performed in countless Shakespeare plays, appeared in the popular ABC series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and has now just finished filming the first season of Wonderland.

Wonderland follows the lives and relationships of a group of twenty-somethings living in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, meaning Anna can at least draw some similarities between herself and her character.

With her love of the stage still very much alive and her eye on the next season of Wonderland, Anna manages to find time to talk to the Sydney Observer about her plans for the summer and her excitement about visiting her family home in Killara after a hectic year of pre-dawn alarms.

How does it feel to finish your first season of Wonderland?
To be honest it’s pretty shocking to think we’ve already finished our first season! I still feel like there’s so much left of the story and I’ve really got my fingers crossed that we’ll be back next year to keep the show going. But I have to say I’m looking forward to a few sleep-ins over the break.

What have you gained from your first experience in a leading role?
At drama school we had been warned about the pace and the hours that come with any role, but regardless, I think that was a huge shock. You build up this amazing amount of stamina to do it day-in and day-out, and sure you love it, but at the same time they’re very long hours. At the end of the day I know how blessed I am to be working with such fantastic actors and such a great crew. You certainly learn a lot from the people around you. I watched some of these actors on television growing up and I really admire them, perhaps even more so now.

Your character in Wonderland, Miranda, leads quite a chaotic lifestyle. Are there any similarities between yourself and Miranda?
I definitely like to be a bit more organised in my life than Miranda is, but sometimes I do find myself trying to get things done at the last minute. But I think I’m lucky to play a character like Miranda, we both seem to aspire to have that beach lifestyle and I’m as grateful as Miranda is to live in an area that is so graced by beauty and always so alive with such different people from across all walks of life.

Wonderland is about friendships and relationships: does your personal life mirror the relationship ups and downs of the characters in Wonderland?
Miranda was coming to Sydney to live with her brother and I guess I was coming back to Sydney after three years, but I suppose for me it was the jump from the quiet comfort of my north shore home where I had lived with my family my whole life to suddenly moving to Perth and then to the eastern suburbs of Sydney. While my romantic relationship isn’t as haphazard or intriguing when compared to Miranda’s, I feel like I definitely understand the way she thinks and how she judges the situations she is faced with. I was definitely able to draw upon some of my own experiences to gain an insight into what Miranda might be thinking.

Now that you’ve finished filming for the year what are your plans for Christmas?
I’m actually jetting off to the States for three weeks in December. I’ve never been before so I’m really excited to see what it’s like over there, especially to experience the lead up to Christmas in New York. Even though I’ll be over in Adelaide for Christmas, no doubt feasting on prawns and just about everything else, I can’t wait to see how the USA prepares for a White Christmas!

What are your long-term goals and future career plans? Will we be seeing you in films?
Actually one of the cast members said to me the other day that a woman who recognised her from the show stopped her in a shopping mall and told her how Wonderland was that one hour a week where she could always just switch off and relax and just escape from the stress around her. At the risk of sounding too soppy, I think I’ll always aim to create that world in which people can escape from the pressures of their day-to-day lives, whether that be on stage, on the television screen or one day maybe even on the big screen.