Before becoming a popular author, Lacey spent approximately 20 years as an actor and broadcaster, specialising in theatrical storytelling and performance poetry. He is best known for adapting Bible stories to the stage—initially as a one-man show that he performed at major Christian festivals in the UK and US, then later as a three-person show performed by the Lacey Theatre Company. Lacey's performances have attracted significant media attention, including the BBC, CNN, Fox News and USA Today.
Lacey also co-directed The Gate Arts Centre in his hometown of Cardiff, the Welsh capital. The Gate operates in a converted church building and offers a 350-seat theatre, a dance studio and art gallery.
The Word On The Street
Lacey's first major book, The Word on the Street, was originally published in 2003 as The Street Bible. The Word on the Street is described as a "dangerously real retelling of Scripture," condensing the story of the Bible in less than 500 pages, paraphrasing the text in a distinctive, urban style inspired by Lacey's performances. Major biblical stories are recast as mini-blockbusters; individual psalms are rewritten as song lyrics; the Pauline epistles become emails to the fledgling "Jesus Liberation Movement" (aka the church). The Word on the Street is published by Zondervan.
At the same time the book was launched, Lacey partnered with musicians Bill Taylor-Beales and Rachel Taylor-Beales to produce an audio CD of his 75-minute performance of the Bible. The CD was nominated for an Audie Award by the Audio Publishers Association in 2004.
While Lacey was writing The Word on the Street, he was diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer and given a year to live. Neither conventional nor alternative treatment seemed to halt the cancer's progress. However, more than two years after being diagnosed, he surprised doctors by making an unexpected recovery. Lacey chronicles his battle with cancer in his book and on his website.
The Word on the Street became a bestseller in Christian bookshops throughout the UK. In 2004 it was named the top Christian book of the year. In the US, Barnes & Noble recognized The Word on the Street as one of the ten best "religion & spirituality" books of 2004.
Lacey lost his battle with bladder cancer and died on Monday 1 May 2006, aged 43. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Harnisch-Lacey, and his two young children Lukas and Magdalena.
Lacey's last book was The Liberator, which aimed to tell the complete story of Jesus' life, based mainly on the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In addition to the paraphrased Gospel text (a continuation of the style he crafted with the word on the street), Lacey ventured into new territory, adding a sometimes tongue-in-cheek commentary, fictional newspaper interviews with key characters in the story, and satirical ideas for not taking the text seriously, called "Don't Like This?" notes. The Liberator was published by Zondervan in March 2006.
Lacey also co-authored Street Life with Nick Page which is a radical, funny book of some thirty Bible studies, covering such apparently un-Biblical topics as 'Lip gloss', 'Scaffolding' and 'Chewing Gum'.
- http://www.thewordonthestreet.co.uk/ - official website
- http://www.roblacey.com/ - publisher's promotional site
- Zondervan Remembers Award-Winning Author Rob Lacey
- http://www.thegate.org.uk/index.html- The Gate Arts Centre
- http://www.laceytheatrecompany.com/- Lacey Theatre Company