Date of Birth: 16th March, 1994
Status: In a relationship
Star sign: Pisces
Occupation: BA Hons. Student in Drama and Performance at Queen Margaret University
In as far as local theatre families go, Luke Mercieca comes from one of the greatest. After all, his father Edward and mother Marika are among the most well known members of the Maltese theatre industry. However, Luke has also created a career for himself, with his name appearing in the credits of Legally Blonde by Mellow Drama and in The Merchant of Venice by MADC, among many other musicals, plays and pantomimes. Moreover, Luke has also won Most Promising Actor and Best Actor awards at the MADC One Act Play Festival.
Currently, Luke’s producing the FM Theatre pantomime, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, which will take place at the Manoel Theatre over the festive season.
What made you decide on theatre as your career choice?
I grew up at the Manoel Theatre and San Anton Gardens watching various pantomimes and Shakespearean plays, so I’ve always been in this scene. I then started attending Stagecoach Theatre Arts School when I was four years old, and I loved it. Growing up, I used to play the fool whenever I could too, so I’ve always been in performance mode!
What was it like growing up in such a theatrical household?
Creative mayhem. My bedroom was flooded with dresses, wigs and costumes, and I’d often wake up to the sight of my father strutting around going over lines in funny accents. This was the norm. My mother driving us to JB Stores to get costume material was a standard Tuesday afternoon. Family road trips would consist of my sister and I singing to the soundtrack of any musical that we would have produced, while my older brother Edward is constantly on the look out for jokes for panto. It’s just how our family is. It was and still is a very active and dramatic house, and if you ever pop by for cuppa, you might never come back, but I love it.
What does the role of producer entail?
Anything – from ensuring that there’s enough toilet roll to producing a marketing campaign.
What are the challenges you face when producing a pantomime?
We produce the panto every two years, so this gives us time to refuel and re-think ideas and concepts, but we try to stick to classic fairy tales. I normally start thinking about the story 18 months prior, and I try to come up with a lively storyline full of magic and adventure. Keeping the kids on the edge of their seat and the adults entertained throughout is a huge challenge. Even so, we have an incredible team that is so inventive and great fun to work with, so the process is very playful.
So your father is wearing a dress in a pantomime that is being produced by you. How does it feel?
I love working with my dad. He’s taught me so much and we really enjoy working together. He pushes me and challenges me because I’m his son, so he expects a lot from me, but it gives us the excuse to act like kids, just play and be very silly along with Chris Gatt, the director.
What was it like seeing Maxine dressed as Robin Hood for the first time?
She’s a much cooler bloke than I am, that’s for sure. I think it’s hilarious that she falls in love with Maid Marian, who’s played by my sister Sarah, but I’m used to it. I grew up squeezing my dad’s fake breasts while he got his make up done before a show, so, you know!
Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood will take place at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta over the Christmas period, performed on the 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th December, and again between the 2nd and 4th January 2016, with matinee performances starting at 3pm and evening shows at 8pm. Tickets are priced between €18.50 and €27.50, and can be purchased from the Manoel Theatre website.