The Fame Reporter interviewed incredible multi-talented performer, Shay Debney. He is currently starring as the Elf in ‘A Very Naughty Christmas’ at La Boite Theatre until 17 December.
Brisbane’s favourite adults only Christmas comedy is back for its sixth year, and a winter wonderland has never been so hot. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, Brisbane’s sexiest carolers are ready to help you get into the holiday “spirits”. Avoid those awkward family gatherings and come spend Christmas with Santa’s favourite little helpers. Combining comedy, dancing, skits, and carols as you’ve never heard them before.
We had the exciting opportunity to sit down with brilliant, diverse performer Shay Debney. Shay talked about why he wanted to be apart of ‘A Very Naughty Christmas’ again, his experience working on Singin’ in the Rain in Concert, his love for the Brisbane theatre community and more.
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Shay, initially what sparked your interest in performing?
I first started in ballet at the age of 7 after seeing a performance on television and eventually got into many other styles of dance after.
What enticed you to want to return to the iconic ‘A very naughty Christmas’ once again?
I love the energy of live theatre and it is incredible to be able to play with the audience and engage each crowd in a different way depending on their response.
This show gives the cast a lot of freedom to play and give new jokes a go throughout the season, and that is such a wonderful opportunity to truly react on the spot. It’s scary and liberating, and I love it!
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sammy Davis Jr and Tim Minchin. Absolute legends and pioneers! But they’re also just an intelligent, earnest and downright hilarious bunch of humans. Would be a great night.
What have past theatre and dance teachers taught you that has stayed with you and how do you carry that into your career and daily life?
My first dance teacher Andrew Pronger taught me, among many things, that how you hold yourself on stage can fool the audience into thinking you’re taller than you are, which has been extremely helpful for someone short like me. Simon Dow at the Australian Ballet School taught me how to connect technique with artistry, which is a great tool for fooling the audience into making things look effortless. My teacher Maude Davey at the VCA taught me the beauty and value of every idea, and how to utilize my own creativity.
You have just performed in Singin’ in the Rain: In Concert, what was that experience like and what did you love about your character?
It is one of my all time favourite musicals so it was a dream to be able to be in the show! I loved the whole cast and creative team which always makes any season all the more memorable.
It was such a pleasure being able to play the elocution teacher because I have a proclivity to use comedy in any moment possible on stage and that scene is so full of word play and little moments for physical comedy.
What do you love about the Brisbane theatre scene?
That they really love musical theatre! I also see huge growth in the independent theatre scene which is imperative for diversity in the types of theatre that gets performed and essential for young creative individuals to get a start.
Congratulations on all your success, what is one of your proudest achievements and what are some of your future dreams?
Thank you! Probably being part of the Australian premiere of Lord of the Flies – it was an all male cast and gave the opportunity for 20 or so young males, many of whom had never danced before, to learn from industry professionals and dance on a stage in front of 2000 people.
It’s so cool to be part of someone’s journey in the arts, however small that may be. And I got to work with Sir Matthew Bourne who is an absolute living legend when it comes to dance.
What can audiences look forward to when they come and see ‘A Very Naughty Christmas’ who haven’t seen it yet?
A riotous laugh! One of the hardest parts about doing this show is trying not to laugh on stage because I find everyone so damn funny. I hope they laugh until they pee their pants… and then some more.
Fame Reporter Word Play
Movie that would be an amazing musical
The Mask (except how does anyone live up to Jim Carrey’s performance though?)
To study physical theatre and clowning in France
Favourite Dance move
The Australian Ballet School
Favourite mantra when you are down
Where focus goes, energy flows.
The Wizard of Oz
Favourite Singin’ in the Rain song
Savoury or Sweet
Sweet for sure
A Very Naughty Christmas
Dressing Room necessity
Singin’ in the Rain
Place you want to travel to
TV Show Binge
The White Lotus
Finally, favourite thing about performing
The audience reactions
Thank-you Shay for joining us at The Fame Reporter.
La Boite Theatre
Until 17 December 2022
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All photos and videos – Supplied