The Fame Reporter interviewed Lucas Stibbard starring in shake & stir’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic piece ‘A Christmas Carol’ – playing from 2 to 24 December 2021 at Playhouse Theatre, QPAC.
This December, the award-winning stage spectacle – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – returns to lift your spirits. Brimful of song, humour, love, and lashings of festive joy, A Christmas Carol is a magical, grand-in-scale production – perfect for the entire family.
It’s Christmas Eve and Ebenezer Scrooge is counting down the seconds until the silliness of the season passes. Deeply entrenched in his own misery, Scrooge receives a visit from four ghosts who whisk him away on a journey through Christmases past, present and future. Here, he revisits fragments of his life and is faced with a number of choices. Redemption is his for the taking – but is Old Scrooge capable of changing his ways before it’s too late?
We talked to Lucas about shake & stir’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ and why he keeps returning to the show, what he loves about Queensland theatre and more.
See our interview below
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Lucas, what do you love about shake & Stir’s adapted version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in particular?
Nelle Lee and Michael Futcher have done an incredible job of making this work from the 1840s accessible and vibrant and timely. It’s funny and sad and deeply touching and just a little scary and showcases the act of storytelling (which is always the best part of being with other people – sharing art to try and explain the world to each other).
How has the rehearsal process been and what made you want to return to this role of Bob Cratchit?
I will happily do this role forever. As stated below, Bob is a wonderful person to get to be for a few hours. I will never tire of this play and this company.
I adore working with the team and love that I get to share this magical story of redemption with families every year.
How have the themes of A Christmas Carol and Bob Cratchit’s story changed your take on the role?
Bob is like the best Dad in popular culture after Bandit from Bluey.
He’s unfailingly loyal, kind, caring and upbeat in the face of some pretty big issues. I wish I was more like him.
What has been the production that has impacted you the most in your career thus far?
I can count on my hand the ones that have been most meaningful and have changed my life for better or worse (who can say). They would be Richard III (twice actually once at University as the titular monarch and again as my first show with Bell Shakespeare and first National tour), boy girl wall (it’s not every day you and your friends get to ideate, write, develop and deliver a show that gets you nominated for a Helpmann against Geoffrey Rush and Richard Roxburgh and then get to tour the world with it).
As well as Peter Pan (the first show I ever performed in – special shout-out to Brisbane Arts Theatre for being that place and for helping me form the friendships I still have thirty years later), New Royal (Marcel Dorney is a genius and that show was the first time people seems to sit up and take notice of what I was doing) and Eating Ice Cream with your Eyes Closed (a total gift of a show and a chance to make something that a usual subscription audience might not otherwise see).
What do you love about the Queensland theatre community in particular?
I love that we have this amazing inter/generational stable of artists, companies and collectives in the small to medium sector that punch wayyyyy above their weight and tour nationally and internationally. I don’t love that most of the time those same people and groups have a hard time getting their work seen here at home.
What is your favourite aspect about working with the shake & stir team?
Too hard. It’s all excellent. They’re collaborative. They work ludicrously hard. They love to play.
They’re all hilarious and I consider myself deeply fortunate to get to call them friends and colleagues. It’s such a gift that Nick Skubij, Nelle Lee and Ross Balbuziente give to us all.
What do you enjoy about teaching workshops to younger performers?
Literally my favourite thing to do.
Teaching collaboration and helping to devise new art with brilliant young people is absolutely the best thing anyone can do with their day.
Also appreciating theatre is a learnt skill and the best way to learn it is by doing it.
What future upcoming projects can you tell us about and what do you hope for the future of Australian theatre?
I’m still developing a play that’s a spiritual sequel to boy girl wall – another “watch one dickhead try and tell a whole story” show. It’s a comedy about death and fatherhood and raising boys.
I’m not sure we have space for that here. I could write a book about Brisbane and SEQ theatre alone. There’s a lot to talk about. I’d love to see us catching up with the state of the art as almost nothing in the main stage here has pushed the boundaries past the nineteen seventies.
I’d love to see local artists and local creatives given control of the conversation and the state company. I’d like to see the balance between “important work” and “excellent work” start to happen. Seriously I could go on.
Why do you think audiences are thrilled to have the opportunity to experience ‘A Christmas Carol’ and what is the best way we can support the arts industry?
I think audiences love a big experience and this has it all. It’s beautiful to look at, has a decent amount of spectacle, a wonderful story that’s been artfully adapted by the brilliant Nelle Lee and then guided into 3D space/time by the genius that is Michael Futcher.
It’s heart-warming and funny and slightly spooky. What’s not to love?
The best way to help the industry is to show up. See local work. Follow local artists and tell the companies that’s what you want by doing so.
Fame Reporter Word Play
shake & stir
The. Best. Love those three. Hardest working company I know.
Appropriation. But I identify mostly as a tree panda.
Often problematic. Occasionally brilliant.
Oooh. Tough. It’s a tie between Peter Pan (my first show), Constellations (big challenge) and Pomona (desperately want to do)
Favourite mantra when you are down
This isn’t forever.
I love Assassins and Company
A Christmas Carol
Winona Ryder. Always.
Can’t live without
My family (Ned and Finn)
More good work
Favourite Christmas Tradition
The Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve.
Thank-you Lucas for joining us at The Fame Reporter and best of luck with ‘A Christmas Carol’ at QPAC this December!
All photos – Supplied