23 Aug 2011

Bruiser Graduate Academy

This past week I have been in rehearsals with Bruiser Theatre Company as part of the Bruiser Graduate Academy. The week has been intense but as the show takes shape, it is clear that it's going to be incredible for the showcase on Thursday.

The main aspect of the showcase is an ensemble performance of the farcical satire, "Out of the Flying Pan" by David Campton in the Brian Friel Theatre. Among the fantastic ten-strong cast are Natalie Murphy, Philip Rafferty, Kim Moylan, Roger Dane, Shannon Hegarty, Mary McGurk, Richard Priestly, Paula Guzzanti and Caroline Brennan. I had worked with Caroline in Lunch last year, with Philip in Hope and Roger, briefly, in Incident at Vichy, but it's the first time I've worked with everyone else. The play is being directed by Lisa May with the assistance of Bruiser's Musical Director, Ross Anderson.

Further to the play, the showcase will involve each actor performing a monologue, which we were honing today with Matthew Reeve who travelled from England. He is heavily involved in the audition process with many drama schools, most notably Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, so it was hugely beneficial hearing about the audition process from the other side of the table.

Matthew was one of several visitors from the professional theatre world who were invited to discuss professional theatre with us. Emma McCabe, who is setting up McCabe Artist Management, discussed the process of acquiring an agent. Three actors, Chris Pat Simpson, Doireann McKenna and Cat Barter, came to discuss their various paths into working professionally and the photographer Neil Harrison was brought in to do a head shot session with each of us.

Overall, the academy has been a great insight into the workings of a professional theatre company, and for me personally allowed me to work with some brilliant actors and people, as well as forge new contacts. The showcase will knock the audience flat, so I can't wait to get on!

Update 24 August 2011: Some of the names in the above piece were erroneous, but have been corrected, thanks to the help of Stephen Beggs, who was also on hand to discuss tax issues during the academy.

20 Jul 2011

Performing in the Ulster Hall with Accidental Theatre

Tonight I'll be appearing in the Ulster Hall (Group Room) as a cast member of Robots in Disguise, the first of the Biscuit Tin Readings. Rehearsals have been ongoing since Saturday, with a great cast of Ed Boyd, Emma Little, Kim Moylan and Chris McCurry, and Emily DeDakis reading stage directions, with Gayle Dennison directing. It's always great fun working with Accidental, as they have that unneutered enthusiasm of a young company that generates such great energy and creativity.

The play, by Mike Coleman, is about the toxic effect of top down government interference on people's every day live. I play Howard Chubb, the slimy weasel tasked with auditing the Smith famliy.

The entry is free, and will be a great opening to the program, which will go right through summer, finishing with my own Sitting Up For Michael, in November.