Growing up in Adelaide, Australia, Stephanie Evison Williams used to love playing make believe. She had a vivid imagination and would pass the time creating imaginary worlds. When she began to reach an age where the other kids no longer wanted to join her, she found herself looking into acting, a way to partake in her favorite hobby of playing make believe.
“I used to ride around on my bike pretending people were chasing me and create fortresses like it was the end of the world. I loved that rush. I love the space to be weird and unusual. I don’t remember a time when I was a kid that I wasn’t dancing at traffic lights. Waiting for the lights to change I would always dance because it was too boring to wait,” she said.
Now, Evison Williams finds herself at the forefront of Australia’s entertainment industry. Her films such as Lazy Boy, Playground, and In the Wake have seen great success at many international film festivals. She has appeared in commercials for companies such as Target, Honda, Bertocci, and Ubet. However, she is best known for her work in the popular Netflix series Rostered On.
“The moment I found out Rostered On was picked up by Netflix was a highlight. It felt like my career had gone up a level. It’s been such a journey. I love living a creative life, with the people I have met and the amazing directors I have got the work with,” she said.
Rostered On is an Australian show based around the day to day struggles of working for a faceless retail corporation "Electroworld". It’s a comedy based around the day-to-day struggles of working in retail, dealing with crazy customers, management, and the corporate machine. Digging deeper, it’s also about the ever-delicate balance of working for a paycheck, whilst still pursuing creative dreams.
In the show, Evison Williams plays Sara, the wife of central character Shaun, played by Paul Moore. She is strong, supportive, fearless, level-headed and realistic. She simply wants the best for the people she loves. They have a great relationship; Sara is more go-with-the-flow of the two, encouraging Shaun to pursue other things, given he is so tired of the retail world.
Most of the action and comedy happens in store; Sara creates another space and location (their family home) and helps the audience to understand Shaun’s motivations for what he does. She calls out the ridiculous behavior and things that happen in the store. She is the voice of reason and often says what the audience is thinking.
“Sara as a character is very similar to me, as a person, so it was more about building the relationship with the character of Shaun, Sara’s partner; how long they have been together, what they love, hate, and tolerate about each other. Also, she is a new mum and the changes and challenges that come along with that,” said Evison Williams.
From the moment she auditioned for the show, Evison Williams knew she wanted to be a part of it. After immediately hitting it off with the Writer and Director, Ryan Chamley, the actress knew the show would bring on the laughs.
“Ryan likes to direct in a way that everyone feels safe to try new things, we improved a lot, he gave us a lot of freedom to ad lib, meaning much of the comedy has been improvised. He let us experiment after a successful take. It felt like we were working together to create something from nothing. We were all so dedicated to make and create content,” she said.
Rostered On initially began as a web series on YouTube, but after gaining a large following, it was picked up by Netflix, available in Australia, The United States, Canada, The United Kingdom, and many more. The pilot episode went viral online, amassing hundreds of thousands of views. Season 2 is set to begin shooting in November, with funding support from Screen Australia.
“It’s been a fantastic ride, which none of us saw coming; from a small independent web series with no budget or funding, to being on Netflix, it is totally unheard of,” said Evison Williams.
Be sure to watch Evison William’s captivating performance as Sara in Rostered On on Netflix, and keep an eye out for Season 2.