Queensland native Kirby Lunn made her professional Australian theatre debut at the tender age of 18 in the hit musical Eurobeat- Almost Eurovision, after already having years of amateur theatre in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast under her belt. After understudying the character of Tracy Turnblad in the Australian Original cast of Hairspray The Musical, Kirby then travelled to London where she won the coveted role of Maureen in Rent. Following her work and studies overseas, Kirby is returning to Gold Coast stages as Sarah in the hit show Rolling Thunder Vietnam. We chatted with her before the show’s run in August.
Tell us a bit about the role of Sarah and why the character appealed to you.
I was instantly drawn to the character of Sarah because not only does she have the honour of performing a remarkable list of songs, she is also an incredibly strong young woman. I’m very passionate about playing characters that are interesting and don’t just play to a stereotype. It’s also exciting for me as she has a wonderfully layered story arc in the show, which as an actor you just can’t wait to get your hands on and start exploring.
What are some of the differences you’ve noticed between working in Australia and overseas?
The biggest difference between performing in the West End and Australia is possibly the audience. Australians are never shy to really let you know if they love something, they’ll laugh, clap and whistle. An English audience can be slightly more refined in the appreciation of your work. You might not know they are enjoying in until the very end of the show, you’ll walk out for your curtain call and you can get a shock from a large applause you weren’t expecting!
Can you tell us a bit about your time in the West End?
My time in the West End was invaluable as it taught me to focus on the craft and not just getting work. Training for an actor is very important in the industry over there and they encourage the constant learning and growing process of an actor. I felt a new-found freedom as an actor in London, as I stopped feeling too embarrassed to ask for help or to go to back to a beginner acting lesson to just really refine the basic skill. This profession is so uncertain and you can feel your life is in the hands of a panel but with training and knowledge you get to take that control back, which allows you to take risks.
What’s next for you after Rolling Thunder Vietnam?
After Rolling Thunder Vietnam I would love to go straight to New York and see the new shows of the season. I’m a huge Duncan Sheik fan so ‘American Psycho – The Musical’ with the incredible original cast is an absolute must see for me!
Rolling Thunder Vietnam is showing at Jupiters Theatre on 5 and 6 August 2016. Tickets via ticketek.com.au