Declan Brennan as Master of Ceremonies at Think Global Awards live online presentation in 2021 (top) and 2022 (bottom).
The role of Master of Ceremonies, MC, or Emcee combines aspects of both presentation and performance. However, the stars of an awards event are the ones who have done all the advance work – the organisers, the entrants and the winners. With the ‘I’s dotted and the ‘T’s crossed, my role as MC is to join the various pieces as seamlessly as possible. What could go wrong?! Well, since I began presenting the ‘Think Global Awards’ in 2019, a global pandemic could and did force the organisers to change their best laid plans from the live presentation over dinner, which they organised in 2019, to a rapid response pre-recorded event in 2020, and then back to live presentations in April of 2021 and 2022, in the format of an online Zoom Webinar.
The Think Global Awards, which opens for entries between September and November each year, has been running since 2018. It's a way of recognising achievements and promoting an awareness of thinking globally for individuals, communities, start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses, global brands, and large-scale international organisations.
The 2019 presentation of the Think Global Awards was in Dublin on 3 April.
The range of categories in the Think Global Awards covers brands, digital transformation, the language industry, community and non-profit, retail and eCommerce, education and eLearning, media and advertising, going-global, technology, start-up, travel, sustainability, life sciences and professional services.
2022 was the fifth year of the awards and the fourth year in which I had the pleasure of being master of ceremonies for the presentation. The first year of my involvement was at a presentation of the awards before an invited audience in Dublin. And with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions into 2021, which forced a change to a pre-recorded online presentation in 2020, the organisers responded creatively with another change of format. Benefiting from the evolution and acceptance of virtual meetings, the now ubiquitous video conference service was used. The awards presentation became a Zoom Webinar in 2021. It linked guest speakers and winners of awards in several countries and time zones around the world, including Ireland, the United States, Denmark, Germany, Wales, the south coast of England, and the east coast of Australia – where the winners stayed awake until the early hours of their morning. In April 2022, the virtual format continued – perhaps 2023 will see a return to a hybrid format that includes the opportunity for some to meet again in person.
Here's to another creative response to the acknowledgment of achievement that is the Think Global Awards, organised by the Think Global Forum.
'Many Young Men of Twenty' by John B Keane
In this play by John B Keane, directed by Karen Carleton, I played Daheen Timmineen Din. Keane wrote about a theme close to his heart, emigration, a subject which he felt gave rise to political hypocrisy. He had drawn on his own experiences in London and had highlighted the emigrants homecoming on holidays and eventual return to places and jobs they hated. The underlying theme was the emigrants desire to share their life again with their own Irish people. His anger with the political establishment who sat on their hands while bemoaning the fate of their people was and is palpable.
Declan Brennan as Daheen Timmineen Din in 'Many Young Men of Twenty'.
'Within the Gates' by Sean O'Casey
In this play, which dramatises the depression after the First World War, O'Casey has created what has been called by some 'a beautiful failure and a challenge to the modern director'. Others see faults in the writing, but nevertheless consider it to be a wonderful, poetic and courageous experiment, as much a musical as a play.
Rooted in seasonal ritual it attempts what an O'Casey play always attempts: to show life in an epic sweep but concentrated into a series of scenes in which humour and gaiety are intermingled with the most serious questions: abuse, harassment, misogyny, the church, responsibility, death and salvation.
Declan Brennan (The Atheist) and Patrick Dunne (The Dreamer) in 'Within the Gates'.
'Unoriginal Sin' by David Tristram
One of the great things about this play was that, depending on how you wished to approach it, it could serve up quite a varied menu. A full, but light bowl of nourishing laughter if that's all you fancied - or a bigger helping, if you had the appetite to explore an extra layer or two as you followed these delightfully imperfect characters through a few days in their quirky lives.
Either way, with no pretence at high art, it was very enjoyable to be in the company of my fellow 'unoriginal sinners' on stage for this play, which was directed by Brian Molloy.
Three of the cast members of 'Unoriginal Sin', whose characters formed a very dysfunctional triangle on stage! Ciara O'Byrne (Jenny), Susie Nix (Eve) and Declan Brennan (Bill).
'Road to the Rising' Easter Monday 6 April 2015
For Easter Monday 6 April 2015 RTÉ organised a series of commemorative events under the title ‘Road to the Rising’. Presented in collaboration with An Post, Dublin City Council, and the Ireland 2016 initiative, the theme was an exploration of life in the Ireland of 1915.
The main thoroughfare in Dublin, O’Connell Street (shown above in an illustration from before 1916), was closed to traffic from 11am to 5pm for 'Road to the Rising' events. On Easter Monday, 6 April 2015, I delivered a series of readings by key figures from the period (l-r above) Patrick Pearse, W B Yeats, Maud Gonne, Francis Ledwidge and Augustine Birrell. The readings were part of a series of discussions hosted by RTÉ on the stage of the Abbey Theatre.
There were more than sixty events on the day including lectures, debates, displays, exhibitions, readings, screenings, walking tours and re-enactments. Staff members from the National Library of Ireland conducted assessments of memorabilia in the GPO; there were also genealogical consultations conducted by Eneclann and Timeline; and valuations of artefacts by Whyte's Auctioneers added an antiques’ roadshow to the day. My involvement was in four of those presentations — three on the stages of the Abbey Theatre and the Peacock Theatre, and one from the top of on an old tram, like the one in the image above, the type which would have brought passengers in and out of the city centre in those days.
In the Abbey Theatre, I delivered a series of readings from the period by Patrick Pearse (oration at the graveside of O'Donovan Rossa), Francis Ledwidge (Irish poet killed during World War One), W B Yeats (poem 'Easter 1916') and Augustine Birrell (British Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1907 to 1916). Then, in the afternoon, I played the role of Fr Nolan in an abridged version of ‘The Spancel of Death’ by T H Nally, adapted and directed by Gorretti Slavin for the RTÉ radio programme, 'Drama on One'. Short scenes were performed first, for the thousands who gathered in O'Connell Street, from on top of the tram outside the General Post Office (GPO) and later in the Abbey Theatre; and finally, the full abridged version was performed and recorded in the Peacock Theatre. This forgotten play was due to be performed on the stage of the Abbey Theatre in Easter Week 1916, but was abandoned because of the Rising.
One hundred years after Easter 1916, as the commemorations put the second decade of the twentieth century in the wider context of the time, not everyone may agree with the relative emphasis on the many aspects and sides that played a part in those turbulent, but formative years. However, these presentations were a reminder of just how many literary figures were involved, directly and indirectly, and the richness of what was written then about those events and other less visible, but nonetheless significant cultural influences.
'The Spancel of Death', which we performed as a radio play in the Peacock Theatre on 6 April 2015, was based on an 18th century tale of witchcraft in which Sibella Cottle (above) planned to spellbind her lover, Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, Co Mayo. Guided by a local midwife (Judy in the play), the red-haired beauty made a powerful love charm from the skin of a corpse. Known as the ‘spancel of death’, she would use it to put a spell on the 7th Baronet should he ever decide to abandon her.
'Girls in Silk Kimonos' by Miriam Gallagher
A play based on correspondence between Constance Markievicz and her sister Eva Gore-Booth.
Dublin Lyric, in association with the National Library, presented a performance of Girls in Silk Kimonos at the National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin in the Mezzanine Room in November 2018 and on a further three evenings in January & February 2019.
The play, by the late Miriam Gallagher, centres on the correspondence between Constance Markievicz and her sister Eva Gore-Booth. After the performance, director Conor O'Malley led a lively discussion with members of the audience.
The acting team was Mia Gallagher and Una McNulty in the roles of Constance and Eva respectively; and Declan Brennan in the role of Narrator, who also gives voice to another seven characters. The reading was directed by Conor O'Malley and music was provided by Ciaran Tourish of Áltan and MJ Sullivan sang James Connolly by Patrick Galvin "... the hero of each working man ...".
Countess Markievicz with her childrenConstance Markievicz with her daughter Maeve and stepson Stanislaw, at Lissadell House, Sligo. Mia Gallagher, who played Constance Markievicz, has worked as a deviser/performer with many Irish theatre companies, touring nationally and abroad. Mia is also the acclaimed author of two novels and a short-story collection, Shift, recently shortlisted for the 2018 Irish Book Awards. She is a contributing editor of the literary journal The Stinging Fly and in 2018 was elected as a member of Aosdána.
Dublin Lyric (www.dublinlyric.ie) was supported by the Commemoration Unit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for these performances.
Poster for the 2019 performances in the National Library in Dublin
'Oleanna' by David Mamet
"We can only interpret the behaviour of others through the screen we create."
So says the Professor in this play, which has triggered much debate and many arguments, over its content and meaning, since it first appeared in 1992. Mamet’s superbly crafted dialogue leads to different opinions and conclusions as audiences eavesdrop on the encounter between a student and her teacher in some university.
Both share an interest in learning and education, but that’s where the common ground ends, for in some respects, they’re like chalk and cheese. All that allows Mamet to explore themes such as language and meaning, how words can cloud not clarify and be weapons of verbal warfare; how control and status are not always linked and what happens when power gets into the mix.
Rehearsing 'Oleanna'. Aoibhinn Finnegan (Carol) and Declan Brennan (John)
'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller
"Life, woman, life is God's most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it."
There are many great lines in Miller's classic play about witch hunts, ancient and modern. The quote above is delivered by Rev. Hale in Act 4 when he is pleading with Elizabeth Proctor to persuade her husband to swallow his pride and lie to the court to save himself from a hanging, which Hale believes to be unjust.
Many years after he wrote the play, as he watched 'The Crucible' taking shape as a movie, Arthur Miller, wrote: "What terrifies one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next. I remember how in 1964, only twenty years after the war, Harold Clurman, the director of 'Incident at Vichy', showed the cast a film of a Hitler speech, hoping to give them a sense of the Nazi period in which my play took place. They watched as Hitler, facing a vast stadium full of adoring people, went up on his toes in ecstasy, hands clasped under his chin, a sublimely self-gratified grin on his face, his body swivelling rather cutely, and they giggled at his overacting".
This small production by Balally Players blended the skills of a large ensemble of amateur and professional practitioners to produce a show which filled the theatre and thrilled audiences throughout the week in which it was presented in the Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin in March 2014.
A montage of images taken on stage before a performance of 'The Crucible' in the Mill Theatre
'The Life of Galileo' by Bertolt Brecht
In The International Year of Astronomy (2009), Dublin Lyric Players presented a production of this classic play directed by Conor O'Malley in Dublin between 13 and 17 July 2009. The play is about the Italian scientist and philosopher Galileo Galilei whose discoveries, which convinced him that the Sun was the centre of the solar system, resulted in him being brought to trial by the Church and forced to deny the truth of what he learned about the universe.
'The Life of Galileo' was written by the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht in the 1930s. The play covers the later period in Galileo's life and the story deals with the conflict between his scientific discoveries and the teachings of the Catholic Church. The powerful influences of science and religion on society are explored together with Galileo's personal struggle with the choices he made.
The play was presented in association with Astronomy Ireland and the performances were in the exhibition space, 'The Atrium', at the centre of, what was at the time, the headquarters of the Office of Public Works 51, St Stephen's Green South, Dublin.
The Cardinal Inquisitor (Declan Brennan) with The Pope (Neil Hogan)
'Bloomsday' Dublin 16 June
As a schoolboy in Belvedere College, James Joyce and his classmates were asked to write an essay on ‘My Favourite Hero’. His essay was on Ulysses. He later wrote to Carlo Linati in 1920 that ‘The character of Ulysses has fascinated me ever since boyhood'. The work, which bears the name of his hero, was intended to be about and for everyone. Some would say that it has become one of the best known, but least read books. It is also said to have influenced many writers who followed in the footsteps of Joyce during the twentieth century.
Outside the Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin, after the 'Bloomsday Brunch' in Roly's Restaurant on 16 June 2013, where the entertainment included songs and excerpts from James Joyce’s novel ‘Ulysses’. (l-r) Liz Ryan (Drawing Room Opera Company), Judy McKeever (Mill Theatre Marketing) and Declan Brennan.
'Seachtar na Cásca' TG4 television series
This seven part historical documentary series was narrated by Brendan Gleeson and featured dramatic reconstructions of key scenes, which examined the lives of the seven men who were the signatories to the 1916 Easter Proclamation. It was the first major television series on the Rising since the 50th anniversary in 1966. In that year RTÉ produced ‘Insurrection’, which was presented in the format of a series of nightly news broadcasts.
These revolutionaries, the fathers of modern Ireland, were a varied collection of individuals. The promotional material for the series describes them as follows: ‘One was crippled by polio at the advanced age of 28. Another was an accountant and a gifted piper who had played for Pope Pius X in Rome in 1908. One of them had spent eight years studying for the priesthood while another was a Scotsman by birth. One signatory had spent 15 long years in a British jail before 1900, convicted of Republican crimes and yet another signatory was the son of a wealthy Dublin landlord. The most famous [Padraig Pearse] was an educational theorist, a loner with a gift for oratory who was also an acclaimed poet and short story writer.’
The series was produced for TG4 by Abú Media - Pierce Boyce and directed by Dathaí Keane, the script was written by Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh and music was composed by Ronan Browne.
A scene from the TG4 television series 'Seachtar na Cásca' produced by Abú Media.
'Pull Down A Horseman' by Eugene McCabe
The play is about a secret meeting, between Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), which is said to have taken place in January 1916. Top of the agenda on the weekend of the meeting was a discussion about plans for the Rising and agreement on a date for it. The script is a fictional documentation of a private discussion between Pearse and Connolly during the three days on which the meeting is said to have taken place — the weekend of 19 January 1916. The factual outcome was that Connolly joined the IRB and committed the Citizen Army to join with the Irish Volunteers and a date was finally set for the Rising.
The meeting has a basis in fact, with Connolly 'invited' — some say 'kidnapped' — to join the most senior members of the IRB leadership, who wanted to convince him to join their efforts. The short one-act play is packed with historical detail, based on both the writings and known views of the two protagonists. Their arguments and ideas are pitched against each other in dramatic fashion.
I played the role of Patrick Pearse in presentations of the play directed by Conor O'Malley in 2007, 2010 and again in a new production presented in 2016 for the centenary of the events of 1916, which led to the establishment of the modern Irish state. 'Pull Down a Horseman' was written by the Monaghan based playwright, Eugene McCabe for the 50th Anniversary of the Rising in 1966 and was later presented on the Peacock stage in the Abbey Theatre. The play has become a classic of Irish political theatre.
While the play is based on historical research, no one knows for certain what happened at this meeting. However, as the two characters discuss, debate, argue and verbally joust with one another over whether and when to go ahead with the Rising, a fascinating insight into the two characters emerges. They were two very different people — intellectually well matched, but with very different backgrounds, political philosophies and perspectives.
The Dublin venues included Áras an Uachtaráin, the National Library, Kildare Street, Liberty Hall, the Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham and the National Museum, Benburb Street, which was home to soldiers (first British and then Irish) for 300 years. The 2016 production also included the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. In the 2016 production, directed by Conor O'Malley, Declan Brennan played Patrick Pearse and MJ Sullivan played James Connolly.
For more about the play and this production, see the Dublin Lyric website.
(l-r) Conor O'Malley (Director), Declan Brennan (Pearse), President Michael D Higgins, Mrs Sabina Higgins, MJ Sullivan (Connolly) at a performance of 'Pull Down a Horseman' on 9 February 2016 in Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare
'No one is likely to accept another man's reading of Hamlet'
— E. M. W. Tillyard
With that quote in mind I approached the various roles I had in the Mill Productions presentation of 'Hamlet' in 2016, directed by Geoff O'Keeffe. In addition to a number of the supporting roles (First Player, Player King, Sailor and Gravedigger), I provided still images and video sequences, designed sound for the play and created the multimedia representation of the Ghost.
As I sought inspiration for the sound and visual design, I found that the Ghost was behind much of the conflict in this very intellectual play centred on the young Prince of Denmark. That is not to say that emotion plays no part – it does. In this production, staged for schools by day and adults on some evenings during its four week run, Hamlet (the man and his story) displayed the full gamut of emotions – there were plenty of opportunities to laugh and cry – but the mental battles that drive him to the edge of his sanity (be it real or an "antic disposition") stem from what this student of philosophy has learned; what that learning leads him to believe; and how it sits with how he feels.
The Ghost is also a focal point around which Shakespeare spins the attitudes to such supernatural things in 1600, and all the unanswered questions in the play — about what's right and wrong; about being and dying; about what comes after, and what might come after you in the dead of night!
Shakespeare's time shares with ours many different ideas and some fearful puzzlement about the 'other world'. Elizabethan views of ghosts encompass a conflict of opinion that contributes to the ambiguity, contradiction and inconsistency at the heart of the questions posed throughout the play. In Shakespeare's time, one of religious conflicts, there were three different views about ghosts. A 'good ghost' might come back with divine permission to do something to help them purge their soul in Purgatory, so perhaps they should be welcomed and obeyed. However, as the Protestant Reformation had dispensed with Purgatory, those who followed that belief considered a supernatural visit to be a 'bad ghost', much more likely to have come from Hell – and probably a demon with the appearance of a dead relative to con you into doing something that would ensnare your soul into damnation. However, the university at Wittenberg, where Hamlet studied philosophy (as did Martin Luther) espoused the Humanist view of ghosts as manifestations of a troubled mind – figments of the imagination of people, like Hamlet, who have been through disturbing events, or have grappled with dilemmas that leave them in a 'bad place' where they conjure the ghosts out of their own mental distress.
Shakespeare does not make up his mind about which view should prevail. In fact, he uses all three as a foundation for some of the philosophical gymnastics and questioning in which Hamlet indulges, and exploits the conflict of Renaissance opinion to create uncertainty and doubt in the minds of his characters and his audience. An indecisive, procrastinating, immature young man is one view of the main character that emerges from this. However, in this production Hamlet was positioned as a more interesting, intelligent, passionate, funny and at times impetuous soul, who wrestles with profound questions thrown up by all that goes on around him – "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy".
Around 5,500 people saw this production. Shane O'Regan played Hamlet, and the 27 performances were in the dlr Mill Theatre in Dublin during the month of October 2016.
This photograph was one of several which I shot as part of a set to record the set and lighting for the production of 'Hamlet' in the dlr Mill Theatre. The characters shown in this photograph feature one of a number of roles that Brian Molloy and I played. The Gravediggers (l-r) Declan Brennan and Brian Molloy.
'King Lear' by William Shakespeare
Once again Shakespeare challenges us to garner sympathy for a man who is 'losing it'. And in one sense that's what this play is all about — loss — the man who can have, in the words of his doctor, "any thing", finds himself losing things he has no control over — the vim and vigour of his younger days, the power and status of his position, the respect of his courtiers, the love of his daughters and his tenuous grip on reality close to the thin border of sanity. The foolishness of the king who begins the play morphs into the sadness of an old man who seems to realise what he has lost and that he can do nothing about it as he starts to "crawl toward death". Little wonder then that King Lear has been described by some as a most depressing play. It also has, in the gouging of Gloucester's eyes, the most horrific Shakespearean scene. But against all that it's a story with insights into family strife that are contemporary in nature and it's darkness is counterpointed by moments of pure comedy that make it unashamedly entertaining. All of which has made it well worth the time and effort devoted to it and I hope those who come to see it will feel the same way.
The Sound Design that I created reflected the light and shade of the story, its characters and the approach taken by the director. Given its primary audience of young students of the drama, the sound design used the vocabulary of cinema and television, with which they would be familiar, to frame, link and integrate the many threads in this great play and to support the actors in their work. An example is the storm, which is symbolic of the explosive destruction of order and reason and also a metaphor for what happens to Lear's mind. In this production it has lots of inevitable thunder, wind and rain sounds, but it is corrupted by strange effects from the other side of sanity — harsh metallic sounds, animals whining and calling, forming a smothering cacophony against which Lear competes.
This photograph was one of several which I shot in a session for Mill Productions. One of the images was used on the cover of the programme for the play. Others, including this one, were used for publicity. The characters above are (l-r) The Fool (Shane O'Regan) and King Lear (Lenny Hayden).
'Othello' by William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice, explores many themes including jealousy and betrayal; and the challenges and responses of those perceived to be different. The position of the outsider in society is explored, not alone by virtue of race, but also as determined by social class, education, power or influence.
The play was directed by Geoff O’Keeffe, who worked with Gerard Bourke on Set Design, Kris Mooney on Lighting Design and Sinead Roberts on Costume Design. In addition to taking two of the supporting roles (The Duke and Lodovico) I designed the sound and composed original music for the production. My work as part of the creative team behind the production is covered in a teaching resource video which I produced for the 56 schools that attended performances of Othello in the Mill Theatre. An extract from that video is on the Multimedia page with a link to the full 30 minute video on the theatre's YouTube Channel.
The final scene just before Othello kills himself and Lodovico brings the play to a close. The characters above (from a photograph by Emer Roberts) are (l-r) Cassio (Keith Hanna), Othello (Steve Hartland), Iago (Robert Fawsitt), Desdemona (Siobhan Cullen), Lodovico (Declan Brennan), Montano (Steve Curran), Emilia (Nichola MacEvilly) and a Gentleman (Pat O'Grady).
'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare
Macbeth is without doubt a dark play. It’s Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, but packs a powerful punch. It explores a heady mix of ambition, privilege and superstition and follows the leading man and his lady down a ruthless spiral of arrogance, madness and death.
Director Geoff O’Keeffe, working with designer Gerard Bourke, created a suitably monochromatic setting within which I could overlay sound and visual projections that prepared the audience and the stark space for the strength of the performances delivered by Bob Kelly (Macbeth) and Hilda Fay (Lady Macbeth). My acting roles were minor by comparison, but wonderful to play. I played the wavering Lennox, who followed the prevailing political wind; and the Doctor who had seen it all, knew where it was going, but also knew that, in the words of the First Tempter in T.S. Eliot's 'Murder in the Cathedral' spoken to Thomas Becket, “the easy man lives to eat the best dinners”!
During one of the rehearsals, director Geoff O'Keeffe and lighting designer Barry Donaldson set up Act 5 Scene 1 for Lady Macbeth's sleep-walking episode so that I could capture this image of myself playing the Doctor, Muriel Caslin-O'Hagan playing the Nurse and Hilda Fay who was Lady Macbeth.
'Our Town' by Thornton Wilder
'Our Town' is all about life and people living in Grover's Corner, New Hampshire. To quote the play - "This is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century". Throughout the three-act play, we learn details about the town, the families and individuals who live there, love, marriage, life and death. "In a nutshell, this is an age of transition." said Thornton Wilder in a 1973 interview. "An age of transition is difficult for everybody. But it is an exciting age. Something is straining to be born."
The Mill Theatre in the Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin was officially opened by President Mary McAleese on Thursday 4 May 2006. The opening ceremony was followed by a performance (one of ten) of 'Our Town'.
Director Brian de Salvo (standing, left) with the cast and crew of 'Our Town' the first production in the Mill Theatre in May 2006.
'Seven Lives For Liberty'
I played Thomas MacDonagh in ‘Seven Lives For Liberty’, created by the director/producer team of Frank Allen and James Connolly Heron. McDonagh was a teacher with Patrick Pearse and, like Pearse, was also a poet and a fighter. The show set out to show, in their words, accompanied by music, song and images from the period, the people behind what they have come to symbolise.
The 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising will be commemorated by a wide range of groups in Ireland. Given the equally wide range of views of those events and how they should be remembered, it’s bound to raise a lot of interest and probably some controversy. Getting to know a little more about the minds behind the historic figures, and the lives they lived at the time, gives another insight into what happened and some of the reasons why; even if all aspects of it don’t fit as well into everyone’s worldview 100 years on. They had their differences too.
The Metropole Hotel and the General Post Office (GPO) Dublin after the Easter Rising in 1916.
'Barefoot in the Park' by Neil Simon
As one of the characters in this play says, "there are watchers and doers in this world". It was fun to engage in both of those activities with a great team of players lead by director Donal Courtney and producers Kelly-Anne Byrne and Laura McNicholas. This 2007 production of the play written by Neil Simon (which was also performed on screen by Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in 1967) was a first venture for 925 Productions. The company brought the play to 'Smock Alley' and later to the Andrews Lane Studio. In fact, this production of 'Barefoot in the Park' was one of the last plays performed in the Andrews Lane Studio before it closed its doors.
This shot taken during a rehearsal shows Jose Mantero (Paul Bratter), Declan Brennan (Victor Velasco) and Kelly-Anne Byrne (Corie Bratter).
'Albert Einstein Meets Doctor Who' by Justin Richards
The writer Justin Richards called me to let me know that I had been immortalised in a new encyclopaedic volume about Dr Who. Justin wrote a 45 minute two-hander in which I played the good, time-travelling doctor. It was performed during the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in the 2005 Year of Physics.
I won a tender to produce a show for BT Ireland early in their sponsorship of the Young Scientist Exhibition. Working with actor, director and drama tutor Donal Courtney on the project in 2004, we performed as Dr Who and Einstein, respectively, in Albert Einstein Meets Doctor Who. It was part of BT’s sponsorship of the ‘Young Scientist Exhibition’ in Dublin. The show, which was written by Justin Richards for BBC Worldwide and the Institute of Physics, was performed a couple of times each day in the RDS, Dublin during the exhibition in January 2005. The largest audience of around 1,200 adults and children was on the final weekend.
This book, full of facts, figures and stories from every iteration of the character's long life, is a treasure trove for dedicated followers of Whovian lore - and there are legions of them. As one reviewer wrote on Amazon Books, "every possible fact has been unearthed and researched", including my appearance as the good doctor, which is honoured on page 343!
The book is ‘Doctor Who: Who-ology’ by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright. The ISBN, because I know you’ll want to rush out and buy it, is: 978-1849906197
I created this collage from images produced for the show by photographer Donal Moloney and scans of the book by Scott and Wright, published by BBC Books in 2013. The part of Albert Einstein was played by Donal Courtney (top right), who also directed the play.