Eastern Courier : September 12th 2014
YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Friday, September 12, 2014 Newbie up with stars By MEGHAN LAWRENCE LEIGHTON Stichbury is in acting heaven after making his professional theatre debut alongside some of New Zealand’s best known talent. The former Howick College student is starring with Michael Hurst and Theresa Healey in the Auckland Theatre Company’s new production Trees Beneath The Lake. Stichbury is thrilled to have picked up the part. ‘‘This audition was my first and I didn’t expect much from it,’’ he says. ‘‘I was really excited when I got the part, I kind of freaked out. I hadn’t even read my script, but I started telling everyone.’’ Trees Beneath The Lake has been written by talented playwright Arthur Meek and follows a family’s struggle with financial turmoil and one character’s plight to save his marriage, fortune and reputation. Stichbury plays Ross, the son of character William Campbell, a financial wizard under scrutiny. Ross is a physically large, wellmatured 14-year-old boy. ‘‘I like to refer to him as the lump,’’ the Beachlands resident says. ‘‘He spends most of his time sit- ting on the couch and playing Xbox. He was bullied in school, so his mother decided to homeschool him. He is someone who takes things very literally.’’ Working with such an experi- enced crop of actors hasn’t overwhelmed the 18-year-old, but the pressure is unlike anything he’s experienced before. ‘‘Everyone has been so accepting and lovely. I didn’t feel out of place at all. ‘‘The whole process has been really intense. ‘‘We train Monday to Friday, which is a lot of pressure. It is a very different experience from anything I have had before, especially comparing it to school.’’ Previously Stichbury starred in several productions while at school, including Pride and Prejudice and Wind in the Willows. Director Simon Bennett says the newcomer is a perfect fit for the part of Ross. ‘‘The character is quite troubled so we needed someone who could play vulnerability as well as someone who had a good sense of comic timing,’’ he says. ‘‘It was a big ask and Leighton was head and shoulders above anyone else who auditioned. ‘‘He is a good actor who plays the truth of a situation and engages strongly with his fellow actors,’’ he says. Stichbury hopes to gain further roles with the Auckland Theatre Company and would love to try out some screen work. His heart is set on going to Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School in Wellington. Trees Beneath The Lake is playing at Auckland’s Maidment Theatre until September 27. Don't go: Leighton Stichbury sharesatense scene with castmateBrooke Williams. Good laugh: Leighton Stichburyperforms alongside Michael Hurst in Auckland TheatreCompany’s Trees Beneath The Lake by Arthur Meek. I was really excited when I got the part, I kind of freaked out. I hadn’t even readmyscript, but I started telling everyone. ❝ Leighton Stichbury Star cast: Leighton Stichbury shares the stage with an all star cast. Fromleft: Catherine Wilkin, Theresa Healey, Peter Hayden and Michael Hurst.
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