My happy place: Lucy Lawless, actor

By Bronwyn Sell

Lucy Lawless is happiest when she's on the stage. Photo / Doug Sherring
Lucy Lawless is happiest when she's on the stage. Photo / Doug Sherring

My happiest place is at work, whether it's on a set or a stage. That's where I love to be. It all started with my mum taking me to shows when I was a kid, and I would always sit in the audience and pick which role I wanted to be and who I liked the best, and who was the best dancer, and who was the prettiest.

I must have been about 6 or 8 when we went to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, either at His Majesty's or the Mercury. The fairies and the dwarfs were wandering about in the garden and the lights went out and the paint fluoresced and that was the moment I believed in magic, that was the moment I got hooked.

I'm so ecstatic and excited about life right now because I'm working on this incredible production of Chicago with the ATC.

I probably do a play of some kind every few years. It's a very intimate and intense relationship with the director and the material.

In television you're just going like a train, but in theatre you go deep and long, and things evolve over a relatively long time.

I remember going to Theatre Corporate in my teens, and the young, bolshie enfant terrible was Michael Hurst. He was all the noise then, and I just love that he's still the noise now.

This man is a national treasure, you just can't stop him. He's directing Chicago, and it's incredible to come back and work with him - I'm living the dream, being back in Auckland with the original players.

I'll sometimes take a job based on where it takes me to - the chance to live in the Everglades of Florida or New Orleans or Outback Australia.

You get immersed very deeply and very quickly in somebody else's culture. That's one of the great pleasures of my career.

I like that expansive feeling when I walk on to a set or a stage. It's the centre of all joy. (I know I'm supposed to say that about my own home and family.) I like the joy of creativity and exploration where there are no creative boundaries. I have to take risks just to be happy in life - there's nothing I fear more than stagnation. Fear is almost my comfort zone. It's pretty hardcore to get out in your underwear in front of a home crowd, but I always try to do something that scares me. I base my decisions on that, actually. I don't want to be an old lady going, "Coulda, woulda, shoulda". It's going to be, "Yes, I did, and that was awesome".


The musical Chicago opens on Friday at Q Theatre, Auckland, and runs until mid-December. It stars Lucy Lawless, Amanda Billing and Shane Cortese, and is directed by Michael Hurst and choreographed by Shona McCullagh. www.atc.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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