Ian Stenlake on Mamma Mia! and making family time
Actor Ian Stenlake is clearly relishing the role of Sam Carmichael in the Sydney production of Mamma Mia! The Musical. The production has been a smash hit and a national tour beckons, but Ian has been at home long enough to enjoy some family time at his Randwick apartment, and get that longed-for motorbike licence.
“I am originally from Queensland, but I have been in Sydney for about 20 years, aside from a short stint in Melbourne,” he says.
“Big musicals take a lot out of you with eight shows a week, but being in Sydney, in my home town, has been great. Even when I am travelling with the show, I try to come back home to Sydney as often as possible for some normality.”
Though there’s nothing “normal” about his whirlwind life, with Perth the next port of call for the cast, before they move on to seasons in Melbourne and Adelaide.
Ian says he wasn’t prepared for the affection people have for the show, which adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the production.
“It really snuck up on me how much it impacts the audience,” he says. “People go home feeling happy and that’s extremely rewarding.”
He takes photos of his wife, actor Amber Stenlake (nee Mulley), and family on the road to make his temporary accommodation feel like home, but other than that, flowers are a must-have. e.
“I love flowers,” Ian says. “I absolutely need to have some living things in the house and when I am on tour.”
Ian has had a dream run on the musical stage with the production but he is also looking forward d to returning to TV, having made a name for himself on shows such as Stingers and Sea Patrol.
“Top of my wish list would be to do a TV show in Sydney,” he says. “That would be a dream.”
Buddha statue I go to Bali a lot, and this statue reminds me of Bali and of peace and tranquillity. I do meditation and yoga. I’m not a tragic, but I do try to and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Piano Music is a big part of my life though I don’t play the piano enough. I learnt to play as a child, then relearnt as an adult. Every time I make the time to play, I never regret it.
Guitar I don’t play it as often as I would like, but I have spent a couple of years trying to do a show about Smoky Dawson. It really calms me to play.
Sea Patrol I was lucky enough to do Sea Patrol after quite a few musicals. I did 68 episodes and it was a great experience. erience. We shot on the Gold Coast, Mission Beach and Cairns.
Wallaby jersey I played rugby union as a kid. I purchased this to wear at a charity gold day with Jack Newton where you had to come dressed as your favourite sports team.
ShakespeareLexicon I want to do Shakespeare next. In my first years as a professional actor I was with a Shakespeare troupe and I have really fond memories.
Framed Leunig image This was given to me by one of my best friends, Matthew, and represents the dream — being able to get to a point in your life where you can just relax. That would be great.