Big man fills Santa’s shoes
Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle. He goes by many names but there’s no mistaking that big red suit.
There’s a new Santa Claus in town and he’s ready to take centrestage.
Luke Bird is the allsinging, all-dancing performer who will don the jolly old fella’s famous get-up at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park on December 13.
The alcohol-free event starts at 7.30pm.
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They are big shoes to fill but Bird says he’s the man for the job.
At 1.93 metres (6ft 4in) tall, the Mt Albert entertainer says he was never meant to go through life as a shrinking violet.
It was his stage presence that landed him the gig as Santa.
‘‘I was really excited to be asked because I’ve always wanted to be Santa in a show,’’ he says.
‘‘I remember watching it as a child and thinking he was awesome.
‘‘It’s all about the kids – everything has to be big, bright and colourful.
‘‘I’m no hip-hop dancer but you get me up on that stage and this guy is crumping and twerking.’’
Bird trained as a chef but decided the stage, not the kitchen, is his calling.
The 28-year-old has performed in productions of Cats, Hairspray and The Phantom of the Opera.
It’s his third year performing at Christmas in the Park as Saint Nick.
But it is the first time he will also be taking to the stage as him- self to Steele.
Becoming Santa for the day is not all fun and games, Bird says.
‘‘I have a fat suit and that adds another couple of degrees in there – it’s so hot.
‘‘They usually install some ice packs on my shoulders because you’re just sweltering and on top of that the whole costume is so thick and big because he’s literally just come from the North Pole.’’