Praise be for the theatre

Stella McCallum has turned one of her favourite television shows – The Vicar of Dibley – into a play. Taranaki Community News caught up with her to find out just how much TV she had to binge watch in preparation for writing and directing such a well known comedy.

What you’re working on at the moment?
I’m having the most holiest of fun directing rehearsals for New Plymouth Repertory Theatre’s upcoming show, The Vicar of Dibley. I use the term “directing” loosely because I have such a talented cast and crew that, mostly, all I have to do is watch the magic unfold at every rehearsal.   

What have the highlights been so far? 
The highlights started with binge watching episodes of the Vicar of Dibley, and then together with my writer friend Barbara Marshall, incorporating all of our favourite scenes into our own stage adaptation using the TV script that was written by a pair of comic geniuses – Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer.

Our version is quite different from other commercially available stage adaptations as we have incorporated the famous Easter bunny scene (since we go live at Easter time) and the wedding of Alice and Hugo. 

Vicar of Dibley director Stella McCallum

When did you get into the theatre scene, and what’s it like? 
Jim Paxie was the person responsible for enticing me into theatre and every play has unique experiences. Each experience usually results in me promising it’s my last – but here I am again…. It’s hard work but loads of fun and I’ve met the most incredible people. I think the only theatre job I haven’t had would be lighting operator. I’ve always wanted to operate the lights but I was told I’m not bright enough.

What do you get up to when you’re not directing shows or writing scripts? 
When I’m not writing or directing, I’m being a mum (mostly to my dog now that my twins are 19), a health and safety adviser, an occupational health nurse and a student. In my spare time, you’ll find me at the beach, lake or side of the swimming pool supporting a member of my athletic family. 

If you could be onstage with any two actors in the world, who would you choose?
If I could be onstage with any two actors in the world, I’d choose Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy (oops they’re both female – sorry guys). They just crack me up.

  • The Vicar of Dibley starring Julie Trigger, Katherine Whaley, Keegan Pullman, Alex McDougall, Terry Darby, Glenys Horsfall, John Lawson, John Collings, Barbara Marshall and Shelley McDougall is showing at New Plymouth Repertory Society from Monday April 22 to Saturday May 4, 2019. Tickets are available from Ticketek.