When Beauty and the Beast comes to Brisbane this month, it’s an extra special time for Jackson Head, who plays Gaston. For the first time, the Queensland Conservatorium graduate will be playing the role of the iconic villain in front of a hometown audience. 

“Growing up, the Lyric Theatre at QPAC hosted all of the big musicals when they were in town, so I spent a lot of time there and have some pretty special memories attached to those experiences,” Jackson shares.

“To now get the chance to share that stage with this incredible cast is a dream come true!”

Actor Jackson Head, a white man with brown hair, looks at the camera for a head shot.
Jackson Head is thrilled to be on stage in his hometown.

Jackson fell in love with music from a young age but didn’t initially have confidence when performing. But with a bit of practise—attending dance schools in Brisbane’s south with his brother—eventually the love for the craft overtook his stage fright. 

He kept at his passion, enrolling in a Bachelor of Musical Theatre at the Con and the rest is history, with Jackson now performing eight shows a week in the fairytale Disney musical. 

“The audition process for Beauty and the Beast was great,” Jackson says. “I think I was called in three times in total across the week and asked to read for Beast, Gaston, Lumiere and the ensemble. 

“I remember being lost for words when I got that call that I was in the show. Performing in a Disney production has always been a dream of mine, so it was an incredible honour to find out it was becoming a reality.”

Belle and the Beast cheers each other at opposite ends of a lavishly decorated table in Beauty and the Beast Brisbane Australia.
Beauty and the Beast has stunning set design and atmosphere.

When talking about the joys of playing a bad guy, Jackson is very quick to say that Gaston is not your ordinary villain. “There’s an old adage that says, ‘Everyone’s the hero of their own story’. In Gaston’s case, I think he genuinely believes this! 

“He’s just a lad who gets his way more often than is probably good for him—much like another character in the show—but how he handles his losses, plus his severe lack of empathy and compassion, lead him to progressively become one of Disney’s most villainous characters as the story unfolds. 

“It’s very fun to play indeed!”

A few quick questions

What’s your favourite song/number in the show and why? (Doesn’t have to be yours!)
My favourite number in the show has to be ‘Gaston’. There is so much going on – arrows being shot across the stage, live discus throwing, knife throwing… it’s got it all! Not to mention Nick Cox who plays Le Fou is incredible at keeping it all together and never misses a beat. Really, the song should be called Le Fou because he’s working way harder than Gaston is!

What’s your favourite local Brisbane restaurant or bar?
My go-to restaurant when in Brisbane, especially before seeing a show at QPAC, has to be Spaghetti House. The team there is great, it’s walking distance to the theatre and you can always get some quality Italian food. My wife is Italian, so this is also very important to her! We will definitely be making a stop (or three!) while we’re in town for Beauty and the Beast.

A fork is picking up two gnocchi pieces off a plate of plentiful gnocchi. A plate of basil and parmesan cheese is off to the side.
Spaghetti House Trattoria is a South Bank staple.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?
Beauty and the Beast is incredibly physically demanding, so most of my downtime is spent recovering and relaxing. In Brisbane, I’ll be making the most of the beautiful South Bank and the grassy knolls and scenic city views it plays host to. I also love taking my cavoodle to the park, playing my Nintendo switch, and making (and drinking) coffee!

Beauty and the Beast plays at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre from February 2024. See QTIX for tickets, times and prices. 

Elizabeth Best

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