How did you start in theatre?
I began acting and singing as a teenager in the US, doing high school musicals. I then trained on the master’s programme for acting and directing at Villanova University, which led to contracts in local Philadephia theatres, then film, voice-over and other creative work writing and directing, alongside 30 years as an acting instructor in the US and Ireland.
What would you change about Irish training?
I think the voice and movement training should be integrated as one unit, since the psychophysical process naturally connects to sound when it functions organically. And there should be more training about the business of managing a career in the creative industries.
What is the best part of your job?
Every day is different. I am always learning and get to create stories about amazing, strange, wonderful, scary and funny beings. When you spend many hours a week in this ‘state of play’, it tends to make you very present in your own life.
And your least favourite?
Endless promotion and administration.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?
Working actors, directors and writers who can balance their own authentic creative path and wellness with the madness and instability of this industry – and then give back to those in need. Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Ethan Hawke are some who spring to mind, but there are also many lesser-known heroes.
What one skill should every successful theatre/dance professional have?
How do you manage your work-life balance with the instability of a creative career?
It has been a journey requiring a lot of learning from mistakes and internal work for me to look at what I need to change in myself to continue to live my creative vision and ‘pay the rent’.