No matter where he's living, St George is always home to Doug Hansell.
The actor, who grew up in Kogarah, is back in Australia to perform in the Sydney run of Come From Away.
The show tells the story of a group of air passengers stranded after 9/11 in a small Canadian town.
In the show, the townsfolk take the stranded passengers in, making them feel at home - and finding a home while away from home is something Hansell knows well.
"I had been living in London for six years and I'd just come back to Australia for a show with the Sydney Theatre Company," he said.
"I heard the [Come From Away] production was having trouble casting what is now my role, so my friend suggested I go for it. The casting director offered me the role just a day or two before I was due to go back to London, so I had to make a split second decision - do I leave my home in London and come back to my real home?
"But in terms of the actors and the creatives, it wasn't really a job I could say no to, and I found myself back here.
"I can't describe how fortuitous that was, to happen just before Covid. If I'd been in London during Covid I'd be living a very different life than I have now."
Hansell said Come From Away was one of the first shows in any of the major theatre countries to return to stage, and he was so glad he could take part from his home city. He said everyone would enjoy the heartwarming show.
"I think, given what we've all been through in the last 12 months, having the opportunity to reconnect with a community simply by going to the theatre, is more important than ever now," Hansell said.
"People go to the theatre to sit in the dark with strangers and share a story, reconnect through shared experiences.
"This show specifically is perfect, because it is so utterly and completely about normal people doing extraordinary things, and the audiences can really see themselves on that stage. We've got 12 actors playing 50 different characters, so somewhere up there there's someone that resonates with them."
Hansell's primary character is Kevin T, who, like everyone in the show, is based on a real person - Kevin Tuerff.
"Kevin T was a passenger on a flight, going from Paris to LA, and in the show he's going to Texas with his partner at the time," he said.
"They're diverted to Gander in Newfoundland. My character embraces the experience of being in Danger with all the new people and opportunities, while his partner, being a man of colour, finds it all very difficult and wants to be back home with his family in New York.
"The story charts the dissection of our priorities.
"Kevin Tuerff later developed a program called Pay It Forward and every September 11 donates to charities or strangers, pays for their cup of coffee, and hopes that people pay that generosity forward."
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