Meet Becca Payne from “Happy Christmas Shirley”

Tell us a little bit about your past theatre experience. Ever performed at Centre Stage?

I’ve been in theatrical productions on and off around the Greenville area. “Happy Christmas, Shirley” is my second show with Centre Stage. My first production was “Sisters of Swing”, which was an incredible experience! I’m very happy to have begun working with such a great theater and I look forward to what else Centre Stage has in store.


Tell us about your character in the show.  What was your process in getting prepared for the role?

My character, Jo, is Shirley’s next door neighbor. They have been neighbors and friends for quite a while. The biggest challenge for me with this role was getting the accent down. It’s a very specific dialectic accent from the north of England. So, making sure I could get the correct vowel pronunciations and syntax of their specific way of speaking was a very fun experience!


“Happy Christmas Shirley” is all about family.  What is your favorite family Holiday tradition?

My favorite holiday tradition is our Christmas Cookie night. Every December, about the week before Christmas, my mom and I make an unreasonable amount of Christmas cookies. It’s a big party! We invite all our friends over, mine, my brother’s, anyone who wants to join in the fun. Each person gets a tray of cookies to decorate while we listen to Christmas music and have a glass of wine. At the end of the night, everyone leaves with a plate full of Christmas cookies. It’s the one thing I really look forward to every year.


Centre Stage is producing the U.S. Premiere of “Happy Christmas Shirley”!  What is it like bringing a brand new play to the United States?

It’s really fun! So many times, with a play, there are previous renditions everyone is aware of or has a favorite version. With this show, it’s a little bit different because there aren’t any references in the U.S. So there’s not much that can affect the way we read the script except our own experiences and backgrounds. It’s an exciting thing to be able to breathe life into something that’s completely new.


In the play, Shirley just wants her family to experience the best Christmas possible.  In your opinion, what makes the perfect Christmas holiday?

As long as I get to celebrate the holiday with the people I love, there’s not really anything else that I need for the perfect Christmas holiday… but a nice bottle of wine never hurts.


Anything else you’d like our audiences to know about you?

In this show, my character is a nurse, but I personally don’t know much about nursing. I have several friends who are studying to be or are nurses. We think it’s fun the one friend who isn’t involved in nursing gets to pretend to be one. Acting and baking are more my thing. This show has pushed me to expand my baking knowledge. Now I can make a pretty awesome mince pie!

Don’t miss Beca in Happy Christmas Shirley running December 5th through December 17th

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