Megan Clayton played by Paige Bonnin
Megan Clayton comes from a prominent family – and that family comes with plenty of baggage.
In Showmax Original The Girl From St Agnes, the staff and students of a private girls’ school in the Midlands are torn apart by the mysterious death of popular student Lexi Summerveld. As the facts start to emerge, it seems like everyone has something to hide.
Megan, Lexi and Jenna are best friends. Lexi is beautiful, Jenna is brilliant and Megan – well, Megan comes from the right family. The Claytons are St Agnes royalty. Rich and influential, her mother, Phillipa, is a St Agnes old girl and very involved at the school. Her dad is the school governor, and he’s not above throwing his money around to get what he wants. And her brother is Jason Clayton, the most popular boy at St Ambrose, St Agnes’s brother school – and Lexi’s former boyfriend.
Megan might not be the most beautiful, smart or sporty girl in the school, but she knows just how to play her cards to her advantage. She allied herself with Lexi and Jenna early on, and they made a formidable trio.
After Lexi’s death, Megan turns to Dylan McMahon, the leader of an evangelical Christian group, searching for solace and meaning in a world turned upside down.
Lexi meant more to her than anyone – but does Megan know more than she’s saying about what happened that night? And if blood is thicker than water, how far will Megan go to protect her family?
About the actress
The Girl From St Agnes is a breakthrough role for 23-year-old Paige Bonnin. With an aunt in the industry (Charlotte Butler), it was a natural path for the talented dancer and actress. Her biggest stage before The Girl From St Agnes was the World Championships in modern dance, where she competed in small groups, and she’s also had recurring roles on Bedford Wives and Erfsondes.
“I also had friends in high school who weren’t necessarily there for me, rather than for other things,” says Paige, musing on how much she identifies with Megan. “I wanted to serve her and tell her story because I think she’s precious and I found her extremely interesting. She’s desperately trying to just be seen and I think that’s something we can all identify with: we all want to be seen and heard.”
As much as the role of Megan came along at the right time for Paige, the series is coming at the right time for the SA screen, she says. “I think it’s fresh and brave. I haven’t seen English-language South African content like this, addressing issues like sexuality and paedophilia and rape. I think it’s brave because it goes there – it doesn’t hide. The scenes are not shy. If there’s something that needs to be addressed, it’s spoken about truthfully. I’m hoping people will appreciate that.”
As a young actress, Paige relished the opportunity to learn from the more established actors on set.
“I’ve grown up watching Graham Hopkins in theatre; he’s this giant of a man. It’s been incredible for me to watch these people and learn from them. […] I loved being a sponge on the set. Every day I know for a fact I’m going to learn something new, whether that’s about a camera or acting. It also encouraged me to just show up more in everything and be present in everything. Because you can miss so much if you’re not listening.”
The experience of working on a female-led production was also positive for her. “It’s also such a pleasure working with Catharine [Cooke, the director]. I learnt a lot; she is very kind and generous in her directing. So is Cindy [Lee, the director]. They just have these wonderful energies.”