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Hosts of Christmases past bring festive classic back to QPAC

Culture

Shake & stir theatre company will bring some much-needed Christmas spirit back to Brisbane in December, with their award-winning production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol set to return to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

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The Matilda Award-winning production will be the first show staged at the Lyric Theatre since QPAC reopened its doors in September and shake & stir artistic director Nick Skubij said the company was pleased to be in a position to continue what is becoming an annual Christmas tradition.

“You hit the nail on the head with the annual tradition thing,” Skubij told InQueensland, “this will be the third year that it’s run and when we did start this production back in 2018, that was our aim – we wanted to do something that was going to be a great festive, enjoyable way to wrap the year up and offer something that could hopefully come back again and again and gives audiences and families something to look forward to.”

Arguably Dickens’ most popular and recognisable story, the well-worn tale is set on Christmas Eve, with the misanthropic Ebenezer Scrooge counting down the seconds until the silliness of the season has passed.

Entrenched in his own misery, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a journey through time to show him fragments of Christmas past, present and future and offer him a chance of redemption if he can change his miserly ways.

The source material remains as relevant today as when it was written in 1843, and it serves as a timeless lesson about the perils of selfishness and a timely reminder to think of those less fortunate and honour the true spirit of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol – which is being produced in collaboration with QPAC – will run for 14 shows at the Lyric Theatre from December 16-24, with acclaimed actor Eugene Gilfedder returning as Ebenezer Scrooge alongside a supporting cast including multi-instrumentalist Salliana Campbell and shake & stir’s artistic directors Ross Balbuziente, Nelle Lee and Skubij.

QPAC chief executive John Kotzas said he was thrilled that the venue’s largest-capacity theatre would reopen with such an acclaimed home-grown production.

“QPAC has collaborated with the formidable shake & stir to develop and stage new and captivating works for close to a decade,” Kotzas said.

“The Centre is passionate about the success of Queensland artists and companies and A Christmas Carol is another great work developed with Queensland artists that attracts large audiences to the theatre, many for the first-time.

“Returning to QPAC for its third season and becoming somewhat of an annual Christmas tradition for QPAC’s Playhouse, this uplifting production will this year light up our largest theatre for the first time and promises to enthrall and delight audiences now more than ever.”

Skubij agreed, acknowledging how much comfort nostalgia had brought to audiences amid the uncertainty of 2020 this year, and said he hoped A Christmas Carol would provide escapism.

“I think there has this weird sort of fallback on nostalgia, where you’re kind of trying to get out of your head of the present, you know, and I think people do sort of wistfully – without even intentionally thinking about it – like to think back to a time that was different or easier or more pleasant this is kind of the perfect vehicle to escape.

“You walk into the doors of the theatre and sit down and suddenly you’re whisked back in time and into Dickensian London and there’s something quite transcendental about that.

“We’re so excited about the exciting challenge about the challenge of transferring it from the Playhouse and seeing how it can fill the walls of this bigger space.  In this case, bigger will be better.”

A Christmas Carol tickets are on sale now at QPAC’s website.

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