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Jacqui Purvis, Luke Van Os, Matt Evans and Kirsty Marillier get into the festive spirit

Young and free.

The teenage actors of Home and Away are eager to celebrate their accomplishments and those of their fictional characters after a demanding year at work.

As Felicity, Jacqui Purvis has had to deal with some of the most difficult plots this season, but she claims to have matured both on and off screen. The icing on her fantastic 2023 was that she co-produced and starred in her own short film.

“It’s been a massive year for me and I’ve had many highlights,” she tells TV WEEK. “I also had to make a really big personal decision recently, and I was so scared of making the wrong decision that I put off making it. But I had to come to terms with the fact that I actually might make the wrong decision – and that’s OK.”

It’s been a big year too for co-star and musician Matt, who plays Theo. He has another single, “As Good As It Gets”, coming out in 2024.

“Balancing my schedule has been tough, but rewarding,” Matt says. “The grind doesn’t stop, but that’s how I like it. Singing on H&A [as a member of band Lyrik] sparked my love for music again.”

Despite being relatively new to the show, the four castmates have already developed a strong bond. Former roommates Jacqui and Matt debuted in 2021, while Luke and Kirsty, who came as Xander and Rose’s brother and sister in 2022, forged a unique bond right away.

“We all get along really well,” remarks Luke. “Kirsty and I are close and I spend time with Matt – usually getting a pub feed!”

“The cast has helped shape me in some way,” continues Jacqui.
Working with Bert LaBonté, who portrayed Kirsty’s on-screen father Samuel, was a highlight for her.

“He’s ridiculously funny in real life,” she says of the screen veteran. “We got on like a house on fire.”

Ready to unwind over the break, Matt is heading home to Perth, where he says a certain incident lives on forever.

“Falling in the pool fully clothed has definitely happened!” he says, laughing.

Melbourne-born Luke says his family gathering has an open-door policy. “Everyone is welcome – usually a lot of people who don’t have families to share the day with anymore,” he says.

Regarding peculiar Christmas presents, he can recall one specific instance.
“My mother gave me an actual bowling pin one year, and I have no idea why. Though not enough to warrant the gift, I enjoy bowling. I have no idea how or what to utilize it for. Door stopper, please?”

For Kirsty, who was born in South Africa, this year will include “cocktails, trifle, and a food coma”. Her beloved family custom, however, is significantly more active.

“The Marillier volleyball tournament in the pool!” she exclaims.

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