MOVING: Jason, Penny Everingham and Adam Booth in the moving play Once in Royal David’s City.
MOVING: Jason, Penny Everingham and Adam Booth in the moving play Once in Royal David’s City. Philip Gostelow

Meet the members of riveting Michael Gow play

FROM one of Australia's great playwrights, Michael Gow, comes Once in Royal David's City, a story that is epic and intimate at once, tumbling from the 50s to the present, from West Berlin to Byron Bay, from brief encounters to the cycles of history.

It's about mothers and sons, lost innocence and facing mortality; about faith, rage and the brilliant possibilities of life and art.

Making his eagerly anticipated directorial debut with Queensland Theatre with this wonderful new Australian story is the new artistic director, Sam Strong.

Most recently, Sam directed a sold-out production of Jasper Jones for the Melbourne Theatre Company, gaining a five star review in The Age and six Green Room Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Production.

Once in Royal David's City is the fourth production in Sam's inaugural season for the company, which has broken season ticket and single ticket records.

And completing the triple punch is an exceptional ensemble cast led by acclaimed Brisbane force of the stage Jason Klarwein (Macbeth), and featuring some of the country's most experienced actors in Penny Everingham and Kaye Stevenson, Adam Booth, Toni Scanlan, Adam Sollis and Steve Turner.

The play deals with the death of a loved one. It is intriguing, moving, and ultimately life affirming theatre.

The Story: Will is a Theatre director. His father passed away six weeks ago.

He wants to give his widowed mother a relaxing and restorative Christmas by the ocean at Byron Bay.

But when she arrives at the airport it becomes evident she is ill herself.

Spending Christmas by her bedside, Will tries to make sense of his life, questioning the need to think keenly, feel deeply, fight for change, and keep one's curiosity and faith intact.

I asked the cast to tell us about themselves and their play role.

JASON KLARWEIN

Character: Will Drummond.

Where did you study drama? Queensland University of Technology.

Favourite spot in Brisbane? Anywhere in Northbridge.

What makes this play so special for you? Michael Gow is a dear friend of mine and I'm honoured to do his play.

Describe Once in Royal David's City in paragraph. A powerful and entertaining night in the theatre for those who love the art of theatre and the contradictions of human behaviour.

Do you have any pre-show preparation rituals? Breathing and more breathing.

ADAM BOOTH

Character: Andrez

Where did you study drama? NIDA.

Favourite spot in Brisbane? I enjoy GOMA immensely.

What makes this play so special for you? I feel very privileged to work with both Sam Strong and Michael Gow - two theatre artists I admire greatly.

Describe Once in Royal David's City in a paragraph. An intense collision of ideas within a man who is experiencing his greatest emotional loss.

Do you have any pre-show preparation rituals? Every night, in my warm up, I almost always hear the voice of my NIDA voice tutor (with whom I had a fraught relationship - but it's fair to say I learnt so much from).

PENNY EVERINGHAM

Character: Jeanie

Where did you study drama? NIDA.

Favourite spot in Brisbane? Where my sons and their families (grandchildren) are at the time, and sitting on my veranda, reading.

What makes this play so special for you? I feel very honoured to be working in this production. Michael Gow was very good to me when he was the AD here, and I am very fond of him. He is a good friend and a wonderful writer. It is a pleasure to be saying the words.

Describe Once in Royal David's City in a paragraph. You don't need me to tell you what the play is about....I agree with all the positive blurb that has been written about it ....universal themes, honesty, warmth and poignancy.

STEVE TURNER

Character: Bill and Wally.

Where did you study drama? Chimera Acting School, Perth.

Favourite spot in Brisbane? No preference.

What makes this play so special for you? I can relate to Will and find it a very unique and poignant piece of theatre.

Describe Once in Royal David's City in a paragraph. A universal yet personal story of a son's loss of family.

EMMA JACKSON

Character: Jess/ Ensemble/Carol singer.

Where did you study drama? NIDA.

Favourite spot in Brisbane? GOMA is on top of my list, and I seem to be frequenting Billykart in West End for their delicious food.

What makes this play so special for you? It is so full of heart.

Describe Once in Royal David's City in a paragraph. It is about many things: politics, religion, family. But the heart of the play is about loss. About coming to terms with losing the most important person in your life. It's about a man being confronted with "the biggest disaster that was ever known" and what that makes him question in the face of it. What does it all mean in the end?

Do you have any pre-show preparation rituals? I'm a total a warm up nerd. I'm always there well before the hour call doing yoga and vocal warm ups.

ADAM SOLLIS

Character/Role: The Boy/Ensemble.

Where did you study drama? WAAPA.

Favourite spot in Brisbane Yet to find somewhere in Brisbane that I truly love. Sorry Brisbane. It's not your fault I've just been very busy.

What makes Once in Royal David's City special for you? The people I'm working with.

KAYE STEVENSON

Character: Molly and Ensemble.

Favourite spot in Brisbane? My home in Brisbane.

What makes this play so special for you? Beautiful play about loss and redemption. Written by the wonderful and clever Michael Gow, and working with one of my best friends, Penny Everingham.

Describe Once in Royal David's City in a paragraph? A play about the loss of parents and finding your own way and the purpose for your life.

ASH GIBSON GREIG

Character/Role: Composer.

Where did you study drama? Music at University of Western Australia.

Favourite spot in Brisbane? Found an amazing burger at Miel Container.

What makes this play so special for you? Working with Sam for the first time. Such a thoughtful, creative director who creates a great vibe in the room.

Describe Once in David's Royal City in a paragraph. Bring tissues.

Once in Royal David's City, by Michael Gow, runs at the Playhouse, QPAC until May 14.

Bookings at www.queenslandtheatre.com.au or call 1800355528.


Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Dream of a blissful new life has quickly turned into a nightmare

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Thousands of Melbourne public housing residents have been provided with "detention...

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

This man miraculously survived the 9/11 terror attacks