Next Up

Next up: I will be featuring in the short films Dark & Stormy and Belfast Caliber 9.

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.

4 Jul 2011

Pick N Mix, Sitting Up for Michael news, RSC Workshops, Pack Up YourTroubles

Once again I find myself in the fortunate position of being very busy over the last few weeks. In June, I performed in Red Lemon's Bouffon production, The Generous Bank, as part of the MAC's theatre festival Pick N Mix. As well as that, I was called in to deputise for John Sheyagh in Guerrilla Therapy's performed reading of Almost Stockholm. It was unfortunate that John wasn't able to do the show, but I hope I was able to perform to the standard that John would have.

While at the festival, I met Emily de Dakis, and Richard Lavery from Accidental Theatre who told me that they are picking up Sitting Up for Michael for their upcoming rehearsed reading programme, The Biscuit Tin Readings, to be performed in The Ulster Hall. This  is obviously huge news and really gives me confidence in my writing abilities, so I am going to press ahead in the coming weeks with my dark comedy Goolie's Human Taxidermy. The reading is set for Wednesday 16th November. Also on the program are Jaki McCarrick and William Patterson, whose plays I acted in last year, as part of the VI program.

Meanwhile, Fringe Benefits were chosen to be part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Open Stages project, an initiative to bridge the increasing divide between amateur and professional theatre. As part of this, they held workshops in the magnificent new Lyric Theatre. All aspects of theatre were covered, from costume to performance, and it was eyeopening to see how much work goes in to theatre (both amateur and professional) from all angles.

Sticking with Fringe Benefits, I have been asked to take part in their devised piece, Pack Up Your Troubles. This has been the company's flagship productions, and I am looking forward to taking part in it.

Also, this coming Wednesday I will be travelling to Downpatrick to film reconstructions for an upcoming TG4 documentary series. This follows on from my work in Éalú a great experience, and I can't wait to see the results.

As I said, I have been incredibly busy, and I think I have more to come over the rest of the summer.

15 Jun 2011

Pick N Mix festival - The Generous Bank with Red Lemon

I am currently deep in rehearsals for this weekend's Pick N Mix festival, part of the MACtivities aimed at raising funds for the construction of the MAC. It is a festival of theatre performances from all the major companies in Belfast all taking place in the Brian Friel Theatre. This is a great opportunity to see all the creativity going on in the city, all in one space, and the performances are only £5.

I am in Red Lemon's newwrite production, The Generous Bank, by Patrick O''Reilly. It is a chaotic mix of Bouffon theatre, circus acrobatics, musical numbers, biting satire and gay farmers. Rehearsals have been going on for the last few weeks in the newly opened Lyric Theatre. The building in beautiful and the rehearsal space has an inspiring view over the Lagan.

The ensemble features a multitalented group chosen from a series of workshops in April. John Shayegh is hilarious as the conniving bank manager, with David Stratton, Andrew Stanford and Jolene O'Hara playing his amoral staff. Rosie McClelland is frantic as the Money Making Machine, Granny Bags. Caroline Curran and Louise Mathews play the hard up victims of social mobility and Cathal J Ferris plays the manipulative robber Mark opposite my niave Tommy.

This is shaping up to be a great show, and the whole festival is sure to be one of the highlights of Belfast's packed summer calendar, so book your tickets and come enjoy the fun!

13 May 2011

Workshop with Game of Thrones star Michelle Fairley

This week I attended a workshop with the Game of Thrones star, Michelle Fairley, as part of the Cinemagic Dublin festival. The four hour workshop was brilliant, with a lot of incredible and enthusiastic young people.

It started with an in depth warm up, as Michelle walked us through the extensive 40 minute routine she goes through before she goes out on stage or on set. Then after a short break, we were put into pairs and asked to work through  Act 2, Scene 2 of Macbeth - the pivotal scene after Duncan is murdered. This has proved invaluable to me as I have an audition for Macbeth in London next week. Then we were split into groups of four to work through an early scene in Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa - a work I wasn't familiar with but will certainly try to read now.

Finally she answered questions about acting in the industry, mentioning how working in America through her Broadway work and on ...Thrones was different to Britain in both good and bad ways.

She was incredibly approachable and modest for someone who is in the biggest new show on television and it's a credit once again to Cinemagic that they can attract such stellar talent to perform these workshops.

10 May 2011

Playboy of the Western World, Undisclosed, Progressive Building Society and Generous Bank!

This Friday and Saturday, May 13th and 14th sees the performance in my second run of Playboy of the Western World, this time playing the patriarchal Michael James at the Crescent Arts Centre. The production has been an exercise in sheer efficiency, as we only started rehearsing in earnest last week. The cast and crew, all from Queen's University Players have been fantastic and have brought real life to the piece in an incredibly short amount of time. Colm Doran is directing with help from Rory Knox, Alex Stone, Simon Welch and Adam Turns in the production team. Thomas Finnegan is the title role as Christy , Christina Martin, who I directed in Fast & Loose V, plays Pegeen, Anton Thompson-McCormick is the cowardly Shaun Keogh, Nuala Donnelly is hilarious as Widow Quinn, Terry McCartan plays the drunken letch, Jimmy Farrell, James Maguire courageously stepped in at the last minute to portray Old Mahon and the three girls are played with dynamism by Shauny Shields, Vicki Mohan and Sarah McLaughlin. This is probably my favourite play, so I can't wait to get to play it for another audience. Tickets are on sale from The Crescent's website for £5.

Next week, I have a small part in an upcoming BBC drama, Undisclosed. Starring Life On Mars' Philip Glenister, I'll be playing a prison admin officer who delivers bad news to the protagonist. Although this is only a small part, it'll be a great experience to be able to work among some of the best actors around, and every step on the ladder is a good one, so I'm looking forward to being on set.

Also, if you have been watching UTV Weather in the last week or so, you'll have heard a familiar voice in the advertising wraparounds for Progressive Building Society. Listen out at about 6:25 this evening, just before the mercurial Frank Mitchell announces where the Weather-Watching Camera was today!

Finally, I have been confirmed to be part of Red Lemon's Pick n Mix show, The Generous Bank. Pick n Mix is basically an industry showcase for theatre in Belfast, so to be involved is an incredible opportunity, and one I intend to grasp with both hands.