C

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Sean Caffrey

Born Belfast 1st April 1940

Died Belfast 25th April 2013

 

Largely unsung and seasoned actor, who at one time was a potential leading man and whose efficacy was given an early test in writer Patrick Galvin’s televised play ‘Boy in the Smoke’ 1965, in which he starred as Paddy, a newly arrived Irish immigrant in London. The same year, in his film debut, he appeared as Colin Foley in the Irish set ‘I Was Happy Here’ with Sarah Miles and Cyril Cusack and in 1966 played opposite a young Francesca Annis in another low budget drama, ‘Run With the Wind’. Following this he had a brief spell with Hornchurch Repertory Company taking the not too insignificant role of Hotspur in an enterprising production of  ‘ Henry IV, Part I, staged at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch in 1967.

In the final series of the popular police drama ‘No Hiding place’ 1967, he took the role of Detective Sgt Gregg, but was back to type the next year in another Irish role, playing Pat Donovan in a two part ‘Z Cars’ story. The next year in the summer of 1968, he showed up in the credit list of Coronation Street, in a short lived role as escaped convict Frank Riley and in 1970 appeared in what would be his last film for several years, the wretched ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth’. In the 70’s he found irregular television work with guest roles in ‘Paul Temple’1971, ‘Z Cars’1973, ‘Sutherlands Law’1975, and ‘Doctor Who’ in 1977.

He returned to the big screen in 1976 with a leading part in the musical- cum- social comment, ‘ Moon Over the Alley ‘, which despite it’s curiosity value, was reasonably well received but had a less exalted casting in director Otto Preminger’s final film, ‘The Human Factor’ 1979.  During the 80’s and 90’s  he experienced few television highlights worthy of mention, consisting of only a handful of subsidiary roles, although he did enjoy a solid cameo as Inspector Howard Rennie in the 1982 Belfast set television drama, ‘Harry’s Game’. His big screen involvement during this time was restricted to marginal parts in two 1983 films, writer/director Edward Bennett’s ‘ Ascendancy ‘ and the comedically reduced ‘Curse of the Pink Panther’, patently missing the genius of Peter Sellers. He was a little  more successful on television with guest credits in series such as ‘ Lytton’s Diaries ‘ 1984,’ Edge Of Darkness ‘ 1985 and ‘ The Collectors ‘ 1986. He made an attempt to correct the imbalance between his stage and screen credentials with a short season at Bristol Old Vic  in 1987, where he gave noteworthy performances in Joe Orton’s black farce ‘ Loot ‘ and ‘ Macbeth’, which also featured Dublin born Dearbhla Molloy. More low profile television work in the late eighties and early nineties was followed by a return to Belfast, with Caffrey now into his mid fifties, determined to make a mark on the local stage. He appeared at the  Old Museum Arts Centre in Glenn Patterson’s ‘Monday Night Little Ireland, North of England’ in 1994, Bill Morrison’s ‘Drive On ‘ 1996 and an adaptation of Brian Moore’s ‘The Feast of Lupercal’ 1997, both at the Lyric Theatre.
In his capacity as Artistic Director of the newly formed North Face Theatre company, he wrote and appeared in ‘Out Come the Bastards’ at the Crescent Arts Centre Belfast in 1999. In 2000, in his first major West End stage production, he played RUC Detective Bill Byrne in Gary Mitchell’s ‘The Force of Change’ and after a long period of inactivity reappeared in G B Shaw’s ‘John Bull’s Other Island’ at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2004.

Sean Caffrey began his career high on promise but by the time he had reached thirty his future was less so, instead he met with a disappointing mixture of minor roles and inferior product.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

– The Hostage(1970) Greenwich Theatre, London

– It’s a Two Foot Six Inches Above the Ground World (1971)                                 Palace Theatre, Watford

– Lengthening Shadows (1995) Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Film

– The Viking Queen(1967)
– Divorcing Jack(1998)

TV
– A Private Place (1968)
– A Human Element (1970)
– Hold the Dream (1986)
– Crossfire (1988)
– The Hen House (1989)

Beatrice Campbell

Born Belfast 31st July 1922
Died London 10th May 1979

Vivacious post war British film actor, who for a decade aspired to stardom but whose ambitions ultimately fell short of the target. She first appeared fleetingly on screen in director Lawrence Huntington’s routine crime drama, ‘Wanted for Murder’1946 and had another uncredited role in the musical ‘The Laughing Lady’ later the same year. She saw her name on the credit list for the first time in the role of Joyce Prescott in Francis Searle’s comedy/horror ‘Things Happen at Night’ 1947 and the following year appeared with husband to be Nigel Patrick, in director Lance Comfort’s taut family drama ‘Silent Dust’ in which she produced a disciplined performance in a mature role which belied her young age. In Harold Francis’ 1948 tearjerker ‘My Brother Jonathan’, she had her first taste of co-star status opposite another husband and wife team, Michael Dennison and Dulcie Grey but she had to wait until the new decade before her name was considered notable enough to warrant more demanding roles.

Her first starring role was as Sheila Rockingham, playing opposite Alec Guinness in the comedy ‘The Last Holiday’1950, which was the last film produced at the old Welwyn Studios in Hertfordshire and was cast again with Guinness later the same year in director Jean Nugulesco’s period drama ‘The Mudlark’, in which she played a lady- in- waiting to Irene Dunne’s Queen Victoria. In 1951 she appeared in ‘Laughter in Paradise’ notable for the film debut of the princess of chic, Audrey Hepburn and also that year gave her most critically acclaimed performance as Katie Pettigrew in Roy Baker’s ‘The House in the Square’, starring Hollywood veterans Tyrone Power and Ann Blyth.

Following a break of two years she co-starred with the physically declining Errol Flynn in the frivolous ‘Master of Ballintrae’1953, somewhat trashing the Robert Louis Stevenson classic adventure story in the process. Her second film with Nigel Patrick , director Bob McNaught’s 1954 crime thriller ‘Grand National Night’, saw both of them produce an ease of performance that could only be expected from a happily married couple. Her final film, the British war yarn ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’ in 1955, directed by Jose Ferrer, brought the curtain down on the acting career of Beatrice Campbell, whose endearing provincial charm was one of her undoubted strengths. She failed to attain household name popularity, but in the general scheme of things was at least seen to try.

Other Theatre and Film credits:

Theatre

– Who Goes There(1951) Duke Of York’s, London

Film
– Meet Me at Dawn (1947)
– Now Barabbas (1949)
– No Place for Jennifer (1950)

 

Joyce Campion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born Ballycastle 1923

Died Stratford, Ontario 3rd September 2014

Irrepressible and instinctive Canadian based character actor, primarily on stage and a long-time contributor to the celebrated Stratford and Shaw Festivals in Ontario. Following a functional period in repertory in Ireland and England in the late fifties, she moved to Canada, impressing in early appearances, touring with the avant-garde Canadian Players in roles such as Mistress Quickly in ‘Henry IV Part One’ and as Katherine Stockmann in Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’, both 1963.

In 1965, her first season at the Shaw Festival, she gave a glimpse of her potential with cogent performances in ‘Pygmalion’ and in the first ever change of the dedicated programme, Sean O’Casey’s ‘The Shadow of a Gunman’, both staged at the Courthouse Theatre, Niagara-on the Lake. Her inaugural season at the Stratford Festival in 1968 saw her take supporting roles in ‘The Three Musketeers’, ‘Tartuffe’ and most notably as Romeo’s mother, Lady Montague, in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, directed by Douglas Campbell. Other festival appearances in the late 60s were her cameos as Player Queen in a rather stolid production of ‘Hamlet’ and as the nun, Francisca in ‘Measure for Measure’, both 1969.

Her screen debut that year was equally low-key, with an uncredited role in a television adaptation of ‘The Three Musketeers’, which featured an emerging Christopher Walken as the Puritan assassin John Felton. She continued to build a reputation with the Stratford Festival into the 1970s, cast in minor roles, including Lady-in-Waiting Helen, in ‘Cymbeline’ 1970 and as Hero’s maidservant, Ursula in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ in 1971.

A second screen appearance in 1974 came with her peripheral role as Mrs McDuatt in director Milad Bessada’s stagey, Canadian produced, political drama, ‘A Quiet Day in Belfast’, starring a nonplussed Barry Foster and Margot Kidder, both struggling with implausible accents and exaggerated script.

In the mid-seventies, in arguably her strongest casting to date, she took the role of Aline Solness opposite Maurice Good in Ibsen’s ‘The Master Builder’, directed by John Neville and presented at the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton in December 1976. She registered two assertive credits in theatre in 1978, the first as fading courtesan Prudence Duvernoy in Tennessee William’s perplexing drama ‘Camino Real’ at the NAC in Ottowa and at the end of that year, as the strait-laced governess Miss Prism in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, at the Alley Theatre, Houston, Texas.

Her feature film debut in 1981 was unremarkable, a supplemental role in director Alvin Rakoff’s asinine comedy ‘Dirty Tricks’, in a cast headed by Elliott Gould and Kate Jackson. Her turn as doctor’s wife Violet Bradman, in the NAC’s 1983 production of Noel Coward’s sardonic comedy ‘Blithe Spirit’, was less than challenging, but she fared a little better playing good- natured nurse Marina Timofeevna in director Derek Goldby’s production of Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’, translated by John Murrell and staged at the Tarragon Theatre, Toronto in 1985.

Incidental screen work in the late 80s was balanced by a number of noteworthy stage appearances. The best of these won her a Dora Award for her portrayal of the hypochondriacal Aunt Charlotte in Michael Tremblay’s complex psychodrama ‘Bonjour, la, Bonjour’ at the CentreStage, Toronto in 1986 and in 1987 at the Toronto Free Theatre, she appeared as talent agent Elaine Ross in Australian writer David Williamson’s pacy satire ‘Emerald City’.

At the end of the eighties she proved a deft scene stealer as Solveig’s mother in ‘Peer Gynt’, presented as part of the Shaw Festival and staged at the Courthouse Theatre in 1989. The nineties was arguably her busiest decade, with an abundance of work on both stage and screen. An irregular association with the Tarragon Theatre yielded some decent performances in the early 90s. She played the old nurse Margaret in John Osborne’s reworking of August Strindberg’s ‘The Father’ 1990 and interfering mother, Bunty, in Nick Enright’s romantic comedy ‘Daylight Saving’ 1991.

In 1992 director Mimi Leder cast her sparingly as Pearl in the television film drama ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’, featuring Cloris Leachman and in a supporting role the same year played the chaste and ageing Anne, in writer/director Gail Harvey’s first time effort ‘The Shower’, a Genie Award nominated film comedy, stifled by it’s limited release.

Following a serious accident during rehearsals for a production of ‘Macbeth’ at the Stratford Festival in 1995, she returned convincingly a few months later as Aunt Grace in Morris Panych’s two-handed, mordant comedy ‘Vigil’ at the Tarragon in Toronto in December 1995. Back at the Stratford Festival in 1996, she figured prominently as the conciliatory Aunt Nonnie in Tennessee Williams’ haunting tragedy ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ and in 1997 played the unfailing Linda Loman in Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ and was the anguished Duchess of York in the John Wood directed ‘Richard III’.

Into her late seventies at the turn of the new millennium, she was still producing sterling work at the Stratford Festival. A short but sweet median casting as the near sighted wardrobe mistress Kate Tardwell, in the world premiere of Timothy Findley’s ‘Elizabeth Rex’ in 2000 was followed by an imposing portrayal of antipathetic Mag Folan in Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’, which opened at the NAC, Ottowa in April 2001.

At Stratford in 2002 she made the most of her stage time as Henry’s mother, Mrs Higgins, in director Richard Monette’s blithesome adaptation of ‘My Fair Lady’ and a year later aged eighty, was in fine fettle and had more than a passing interest in several productions.

She was faultless as the wise and stern Amish matriarch Hannah Bauman in Anne Chislett’s WW1 family drama ‘Quiet in the Land’, demonstrated her dexterity in ‘Evangeline; A Musical Romance’ and was conspicuous in an incisive cameo as La Falourdel, in ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. Following director Barbara Willis Sweete’s television reprise and cast intact production of ‘Elizabeth Rex’ in 2004, she determinedly made the most of her remaining years on stage.

At the 2005 Stratford Festival she took small but eye-catching parts as the maid, Saunders in Noel Coward’s trenchant comedy ‘Fallen Angels’ and as Sister Temple in Tennessee Williams’ ‘Orpheus Descending’. She was still a valued Festival player during 2006/2008, giving balanced, observed performances in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ 2006 and as the choleric Mrs. Dubose in Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ 2007. In her final year 2009, she epitomised the meaning of old trouper, perfectly cast as the aged nurse Anfisa in director Jackie Maxwell’s adaptation of Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’, which brought the curtain down on a long and distinguished career in Canadian theatre.

 

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

-Trelawney of the Wells(1990) Shaw Festival, Ontario

-Transit of Venus(1992) Manitoba Theatre Centre

-Rococo(1994) Shaw Festival, Ontario

-Little Women(1997) Stratford Festival, Ontario

-A Man for All Seasons(1998) NAC, Ottowa

-Macbeth(1999) Stratford Festival, Ontario

-King Henry VIII(2004) Stratford Festival, Ontario

-Homechild(2006) Bluma Appel Theatre, Toronto

-Fuente Ovejuna(2008) Stratford Festival, Ontario

-The Trojan Women(2008) Stratford Theatre, Ontario

 

Film

-Fancy Dancing(2002)

-Aurora Borealis(2005)

 

TV

-The Campbells(1986)

-Lantern Hill(1989)

-Street Legal(1991/94)

-Due South(1996)

 

Billy Carter

Born Bangor 7th July 1969

Convincing and instinctive actor, with a background of amateur dramatics in his native Bangor and later in Belfast during the early nineties. A graduate of the Guildford School of Acting in 1996, he found early work both on stage and screen with appearances as Jay, in Judy Upton’s ‘Bruises’ at the Royal Court in 1995 and as P. Company instructor, in an episode of the army drama series ‘Soldier Soldier’ 1996. He followed this with a starring role in his film debut alongside Ulster born Clare Cathcart, in writer/director Simon Moore’s musical ‘Up on the Roof ‘ 1997 and a leading part in Patrick Marber’s debut play ‘Dealers Choice’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 1999.

His stage career gathered speed from 2000, with many critically acclaimed performances, including an excellent Casimir in Brian Friel’s ‘Aristocrats’ at the Minerva Studio Chichester in 2000 and a season with the RSC in 2002 which produced two wonderful interpretations, as Quicksilver in ‘Eastward Ho’ and Ferneze in ‘The Malcontent’, both at the Swan Theatre, Stratford. On television he was less fortunate, with moderate success in the Irish comedy series ‘The Fitz’ 2001 and director Tom Poole’s comedy take on a group of Belfast lawyer friends, ‘I Fought the Law’ 2003. However he continued to improve in theatre and registered another notable performance as Sparky, in John Arden’s ‘Serjeant Musgraves Dance’ at the Oxford Playhouse in 2003.

In 2005 he made two high profile stage appearances, first as Ross in ‘Macbeth’ at the Almeida London and as Owen in Brian Freil’s National Theatre Production of ‘Translations’ at the Cottesloe and the same year he took a prominent role in writer/director Annie Griffin’s Edinburgh set black comedy film, ‘Festival,’ in a cast of able, but virtually unknown actors.

A major breakthrough came in late 2006, with his recruitment by Kevin Spacey for the role of T. Steadman Harder, in the Old Vic’s Production of Eugene O’Neill’s ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten’, which after a prodigious run, opened in the early spring of 2007 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York. Theatre as expected predominated from 2008 and included several strong performances.

He was the much chagrined Private Christopher Roulston in ‘ Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme ‘, at the Hampstead Theatre, London and the aspiring Belfast comic George McBrain in Trevor Griffiths’  ‘Comedians’  at the Lyric Hammersmith, both 2009. In another acute character study, he took the central role of resolute Roman Catholic shipyard worker  Peter O’Boyle, in an outstanding revival of Sam Thompson’s sectarian charged classic, ‘ Over the Bridge’, staged at the Waterfront Studio, Belfast in 2010.

He relocated to New York in early 2013 and appeared at the Irish Repertory Theatre, cast as the publican Brendan in Conor McPherson’s tragicomedy ‘The Weir’. In November of that year he took the role of Tommy, the station porter in Samuel Beckett’s ‘All That Fall’, opposite Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins, which after it’s successful West End run, opened at the 59E59 Theatres, again directed by Trevor Nunn. He returned to the Irish Repertory Theatre in 2014, in another Conor McPherson work, this time the masterful three hander ‘Port Authority’, ably supported by Peter Maloney and James Russell.  In 2015, at the Union Square Theatre, New York, he was Clown 1 in a spoof reworking of John Buchan’s ’39 Steps’, a breathtaking revival of Patrick Barlow’s acclaimed adaptation, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, at the Airlines Theatre, New York in January 2008.

Billy Carter’s destiny might ultimately be dictated by theatre, where he has already experienced critical success and in consideration a concentrated screen career would be nothing less than an optimistic alternative.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre
– The Soldier’s Song (1996)
– Theatre Royal, London
– My Boy Jack (2000) Hampstead Theatre, London
– The Island Princess (2002) RSC  Swan Theatre, Stratford
– Assassins (2006) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
– I’ll Be the Devil (2008) Tricycle Theatre, London

– Birdsong(2010) Comedy Theatre, London

– I can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical(2014) London Palladium

TV
– M.I.T. (2003)
– Primeval (2007)

– Titanic: Blood and Steel(2012)

– Sons of Liberty(2015)

Clare Cathcart

Born Bellanaleck, Co.Fermanagh 3rd October 1965

Died Brighton 4th September 2014

Cogent but undervalued actor, with a solid stage and screen profile, developed during a professional career which began in the mid-eighties.

She made an early stage appearance as Maureen in Christina Reid’s ‘Joyriders’ at the Tricycle Theatre Kilburn in 1986 and in her small screen debut, played Jane, in the 17th Century set Ulster/Scots drama documentary mini-series, ‘God’s Frontiersmen’1988.

Director Howard Davies gave her an opportunity to sample life at the top tier of English theatre, offering her a minor role in the National Theatre’s 1990 production of Arthur Miller’s  ‘ The Crucible ‘, presented on the Olivier Stage, but three years later she was still struggling in the lower reaches of television credit lists.

The best of her 1993 output was a small role in the 1930’s set, gentleman sleuth series, ‘Inspector Alleyn Mysteries’ and in 1994 in what was probably her most meaningful television role, she played Mirielle in the one season madcap comedy series ‘Paris’, starring Alexei Sayle and Neil Morrisey.

Between 1995 and 1996 she found work on an assortment of popular television series including episodes of ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ and ‘Father Ted’ both 1995 and played Yvonne, love interest of philandering Reg Holdsworth, in ‘Coronation Street’ in 1996.

She was promoted to co-starring status in the television thriller ‘Kiss and Tell’ 1996, an early sighting here of James Bond star Daniel Craig, and had a starring role in the film adaptation of Simon Moore’s musical comedy ‘Up on the Roof ‘1997, an unexceptional former stage production which failed miserably on screen.

In 1999 she was downgraded again, appearing in the mini-series ‘Psychos’ and in a surge of screen work in 2000 she produced a brace of praiseworthy performances in the film comedy ‘Hotel Splendide’, starring Toni Collette and Daniel Craig, and in Tony Garnett’s television drama ‘Attachments’.

Stage appearances in 2000 included Tinderbox’s portmanteau play ‘Convictions’, consisting of seven collectively themed playlets by local writers which drew inspiration from, and was presented at the old Crumlin Road courthouse in Belfast.

Following further low-key work on television during 2001/2002 she gave a forceful performance as Gail, the obdurate Rathcoole UDA woman, in Gary Mitchell’s implacable stage play ‘Loyal Women’, at the Royal Court in 2003.

She could not capitalize on this success and was reduced to transitory appearances on television such as the hospital soap ‘Holby City’ and the supernatural drama series ‘Afterlife’, both 2005 and on stage played the nurse in the RSC production of ‘The Indian Boy’ at the Cube in 2006. She was able to sustain some consistency on television during 2009/10, with guest appearances in a variety of productions, all series, some long, but most short-lived.

In ‘Doctors’ 2009, she appeared as DCI Wendy Bateman in a two-part story line and in arguably the best of the others, played a poetry teacher in an episode of the Maureen Lipman/Anne Reid comedy ‘Ladies of Letters’ 2010. A return to the National Theatre’s Olivier stage in 2011 saw her as the maid Luce in Dominic Cooke’s contemporary dress production of Shakespeare’s romp, ‘ The Comedy of Errors ‘, which also featured Lenny Henry as identical twin Antipholus.

Clare Cathcart’s bites at the bigger cherry were limited and although capable of much more,  she found it difficult to register a lasting impression, particularly on screen, where even her rare co-starring credits proved somewhat confined and had little  influence on what should have been a more rewarding career.

Other Theatre and TV credits:

Theatre

– Translations(1992) Donmar Warehouse, London

– Gone To L.A.(2000) Hampstead Theatre, London

– Private Life(2010) Royal Court, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs

– Once a Catholic(2013) Tricycle Theatre, London

TV

– Searching (1995)
– Over Here (1996)
– Secret Society (2000)
– After Life (2005)

– Come Fly With Me(2010)

– New Tricks(2014)

– Call the Midwife(2014)

 

Mary Charleson

Born Dungannon 18th May 1890
Died Los Angeles 3rd December 1961

Beguiling leading actor, whose career began in the infancy of silent film and ended eight years later, still a long way short of sound. Born into a theatrical family who emigrated to the U.S.A. in the mid 1890s, she made her first stage appearance with the Grand Opera Stock Company in Los Angeles, circa 1910. Her film career began as a short term contract player with the Vitagraph Company Of America, appearing in a myriad of one-reelers, making her debut as Monah in actor/director D. Rollins Sturgeon’s drama ‘The Ancient Bow’ in 1912. She made no less than fifty of these shorts, working with Sturgeon and other actor/directors Maurice Costello and Robert Gaillard until 1914, when Vitagraph rewarded her endurance with the role of Margy in writer/director Charles L. Gaskill’s feature length romantic drama ‘The Strange Story of Sylvia Gray’. In 1915 she moved to Lubin Manufacturing Company’s studios and was immediately given star billing in’ The Road O’ Strife’ opposite the multi-jobbing Crane Wilbur, who apart from his acting duties, was also a prolific screen writer and an efficient director in waiting. After this however Lubin reduced her to the short format, employing her well tested talents in this genre in a variety of story lines until her departure at the end of 1915.

She made a couple of out of contract films for smaller studios before she was signed to the much larger Essanay Film Company, appearing as Joan Wentworth in director Henry Beaumont’s 1916 mystery drama ‘The Truant Soul’, which starred future husband, Broadway veteran and silent screen icon Henry B. Walthall. Essanay teamed them again in three quality dramas during 1917, including the socially aware ‘The Saint’s Adventure’ and following their starring roles in director Rex Ingram’s crime drama ‘Robe of Honor’ in early 1918, the couple were married. She made several films with her husband throughout 1918/19, the best of which was the sparkling comedy drama ‘Humdrum Brown’1918. Arguably her strongest role was as Rosalie in the much hyped ‘Upstairs and Down’ 1919, which starred the tragic Olive Thomas who died the following year aged twenty six, accidentally poisoned by her own hand during a holiday in France. Mary Charleson’s next film appearance was in a co-starring role as Lee Tyndall in B. Reeves-Easton’s routine western ‘Human Stuff’ in 1920 and planned or otherwise it was also her last. Thus a relatively brief screen career came to an end, choosing it seemed to concentrate her energies in support of her higher profiled husband Henry B. Walthall.

Other Film credits:

Film
– Sealed Lips (1915)
– The Prince Chap (1916)
– The Country That God Forgot (1916)
– Burning Candle (1917)
– The Little Shoes (1917)
– Satan’s Private Door (1917)
– With Hoops 0f Steel (1918)
– The Long Lane’s Turning (1919)

Billy Clarke

Born Belfast 1958

Earnest character player, whose introduction to theatre was arguably, due to his age and experience, the sternest test of his long career. Taking the central role of Len in Edward Bond’s stark exposition of sexual profligacy, the much maligned and little revived ‘Saved’, presented at the Lyric Drama Studio in 1979. Following a brief period in local repertory, he left for England in the early eighties, where he found a modicum of stage work and included a median credit as Bowman in Belfast born playwright Daniel Mornin’s ‘Short of Mutiny’, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1983.

His television debut in 1986 was similarly functional, appearing as Benny in a ‘Screen Two’ dramatization of the events surrounding stolen Derby winner ‘Shergar’, which also featured Stephen Rea and Ian McElhinney. Notable among his stage appearances in the late eighties were dual roles in the premieres of Christina Reid’s ‘Did You Hear the One About the Irishman’ at the King’s Head Theatre, London in 1987 and as Sean in Kevin Fegan’s verse play ‘McAlpine’s Fusilier’, at the Contact Theatre, Manchester in 1988. He appeared in another Kevin Fegan premiere, the comedy drama ‘Private Times’, presented at the Library Theatre, Manchester in 1990 and the same year was seen briefly in an episode of the cult comedy series ,‘One Foot in the Grave’. Another guest role as Raymond Murray in the dire Belfast set comedy series, ‘So You Think You’ve Got Troubles’ 1991, preceded his commendable performance as Company Sergeant Major Rivers, in a revival of Peter Whelan’s poignant WW1 drama, ‘The Accrington Pals’, which opened at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre in 1992. He returned to Belfast in 1993 for the role of Machiavellian jester Trinculo, in the Lyric Theatre’s production of ‘The Tempest’ and two years later at the Playhouse in Derry, played irascible husband Jamesey, in Charabanc’s production of Sue Ashby’s compelling study of domestic violence, ‘A Wife, A Dog and A Maple Tree’ Ten years after his first television appearance, he made his film debut, with a subsidiary role as Sam in director Stuart Gordon’s, Ardmore Studios made, sci-fi comedy, ‘Space Truckers’, 1996, with an obviously strong Irish cast, including Tim Loane and Ian Beattie.

Following further low-key film work in the Irish themed and German produced ‘Warshots’ 1996, he made two further films in the nineties, both Belfast based, Eoin McNamee’s unrelentingly violent ‘Resurrection Man’, 1998 and Dudie Appleton’s unsubtle comedy, The Most Fertile Man in Ireland’, 1999. At the Liverpool Playhouse in 2003 he proved an ideal Jimmy Farrell, fellow farmer and drinking companion of Pegeen’s father, Michael Flaherty, in Synge’s ‘The Playboy of the Western World’, directed by the multi-award winning Robert Delamere. Three very different on-screen character studies from 2004 provided opportunities to broaden his ethnic compass, beginning that year with director Pete Travis’ acclaimed television docu-drama, ’Omagh’, playing with respectful awareness, bereaved husband Kevin Skelton. In ’Hunger’, 2008, writer/director Steve McQueen’s big screen statement on the final days of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, he was Chief Medical Officer of the Maze Prison and in 2010 delivered a sharp little cameo of Portadown Orangeman Harold Gracey in director Philip Martin’s insightful television biopic ’Mo’, with Julie Walters transcendent as colourful Secretary Of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam.

Billy Clarke has, despite his durability, been somewhat neglected for the greater part of his career, a reliable performer whose work both on stage and screen, although praiseworthy, has been effected largely at the wrong end of the credits.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre
– Built On Sand (1987) Royal Court, London
– The Life Of Galileo, Young Vic Studio, London
– The Chronicles Of Long Kesh (2008) Waterfront Studio, Belfast

– The Hallowe’en Sessions(2012) Leicester Square Theatre

Film

– The Carrier(2015)

TV
– The Monocled Mutineer (1986)
– Boon (1989)
– I Fought The Law (2003)

– Hollyoaks(2012)

– Holby City(2013)

Kathy Kiera Clarke

Born Belfast 1971

Enterprising and vivacious actor with an undoubted stage presence, who as a teenager was a founder member of the St Louisa’s College based Marillac Theatre Company in Belfast during the late eighties.

Upon leaving school she was fortunate to be cast in the title role of director Michael Winterbottom’s short lived children’s television series ‘Flash McVeigh’, first broadcast in 1990. One of her first professional stage appearances was as Rosemary, in Frank McGuinness’comedy drama ‘Factory Girls’, at the Tricycle Theatre Kilburn in 1990 and at the same venue in 1992, was in Mary O’Malley’s well travelled convent schoolgirl comedy ‘Once a Catholic’.

She appeared in many productions with the Glasgow Citizens Theatre during the nineties, making her debut there in ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde’ in 1993 and the same year, in her first television role, played schoolgirl Bernadette Brennan, in the one season comedy drama series ‘Head Over Heels’.

She received good notices appearing as Leonora D’Este, in Goethe’s ‘Torquato Tasso’, a Glasgow Citizens production at the Royal Lyceum Theatre during the1994 Edinburgh Festival and a year later was in Lurgan born Joseph Crilly’s ‘Shuttle’ at the Red Room London. One of her better stage appearances came in another Glasgow Citizens presentation ‘Media’ in 1998, in which she gave a spellbinding performance in the title role.

Her feature film debut finally arrived in director Dudie Appleton’s 1999 Irish produced comedy, ‘The Most Fertile Man in Ireland’, playing Rosie in a cast which also featured James Nesbitt and Bronagh Gallagher.

From 2000 she has worked steadily in film, theatre and television with mixed success, she had a small part in the Colin Bateman comedy drama, ‘Wild About Harry’ 2000, which included Margaret D’Arcy, Eileen Pollock and Tara Lynne O’Neill all in minor roles. On stage at the Lyric Belfast in 2002 she played Lady Macbeth in Prime Cut’s Production of ‘Macbeth’, with Stephen Scott in the title role and also that year had a medial role in Paul Greengrass’ acclaimed film ‘Bloody Sunday’. In 2003 she landed another choice part, this time in Owen McCafferty’s, ‘Scenes From the Big Picture,’ a National Theatre production on the Cottesloe stage where she shared the plaudits with a marvellous mainly Ulster born cast and on television played Una, the exasperated partner of Ciaran McMenamin’s Ta McKeown, in the short lived but popular West Belfast set comedy series ‘Pulling Moves’.

In 2004 she had a leading role opposite Michael McElhatton in Conor McPherson’s superior work, ‘Shining City’ at the Royal Court, which later transferred to Dublin’s Gate Theatre and that year played Elizabeth Gibson, in Pete Travis’ commendable television film, ‘Omagh’.
Kathy Kiera Clarke’s screen projects have not matched the many stage successes she has accumulated in the last fifteen years and from 2005 has managed only a handful of screen roles. She did land a regular role in the Irish produced drama series ‘Proof ‘ in 2005 and had a co-starring role as Agnes in another local production, Niall Heery’s black comedy, ‘Small Engine Repair’ 2007. In Stacey Gregg’s post-troubles, Belfast set drama, ‘Lagan’, which opened at the Oval House, London in 2011, she was impressive in dual roles as Anne and Fiona, with an excellent Pauline Hutton, the fulcrum of an admirable supporting cast.

Kathy Kiera Clarke’s screen persona has struggled to co-exist with her natural theatre playing ability, but will no doubt have other opportunities to correct this dubious imbalance.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre
– Borders of Paradise (1995) Palace Theatre, Watford
– Brilliant Traces (1998) Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast
– Summit Conference (1998) Glasgow Citizens Theatre
– Don Carlos (2007) Project Arts Centre, Dublin
– The Recruiting Officer (2007) Abbey Theatre, Dublin
– Love 2.0 (2008) Project ArtsCentre, Dublin
– Woman And Scarecrow (2009) An Griannan, Donegal

Film
– Solid Air (2003)
– Cherrybomb (2009)

– Bitter Harvest(2015)

TV
– Eskimo Day (1996)

– Ice Cream Girls(2013)

Michael Colgan(Hughes)

Born Keady, Co Armagh

Discerning but ostensibly inhibited second lead actor, who following his graduation from Oxford university in the early nineties, went to Jacques Lecoq’s International School of Theatre in Paris. Within a year he made his screen debut as computer nerd O’Brien in his brother Enda Hughes’ basement budget, Northern Irish produced horror film, ‘The Eliminator’ 1996. That same year an early stage appearance saw him as the ultra loyal propagandist Squealer in Nelson Bond’s adaptation of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, directed by David Grant at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. At the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1998 he played Eddie in Michael Harding’s idiosyncratic ‘Amazing Grace’ and a year later at the same venue was cast as Skinner Fitzgerald in Brian Friel’s politically themed ‘ The Freedom of the City’.

At the Abbey in 2000 he was most convincing as the anglophobic Irish army officer Justin West in Frank McGuinness’  ‘ Dolly West’s Kitchen’, which had transferred from the Old Vic and in 2001 had a co-starring role in writer Ronan Bennett’s post Easter Rising television mini-series ‘Rebel Heart’. In 2002 he delivered an enterprising  performance as the love-struck Lysander in a frenetic but innovative RSC touring production of  ‘ A Midsummer Night’s Dream ‘ directed by Richard Jones. On screen that year he had a supporting role in Jimmy McGovern’s award winning television docudrama, ‘Sunday’, an unambiguous account of events on the day of Bloody Sunday 1971, took a leading credit in the low key Irish thriller ‘ This is Not a Love Song’ and an incidental part in the Magdalene laundry influenced television film, ‘Sinners’.

Back with the Abbey in 2004 he was particularly plausible as the perpetual student Trofimov in Terry Murphy’s adaptation of Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’ and in the same year had a small but praiseworthy role in Bille Eltringham’s acclaimed mini-series ‘The Long Firm’. He displayed a sharp comedic edge as Salvador Dali in Terry Johnson’s farce ‘Hysteria’ at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter in 2005 and followed this a year later with a median role as murder suspect Connor in director Edmund Coulthard’s television mystery thriller ‘Soundproof ‘, starring Susan Lynch.

Functional television appearances from 2008, the majority of which were brief, were easily eclipsed by higher profile stage work during the same period. A recurring role as head-chef Mal Martin in RTE’s Dublin set series ‘ Raw ‘ 2008 , was preceded by his cigar salesman Herr Austrian, in Enda Walsh’s translation of Bertolt Brecht’s eve of war analogy, ‘ How Much is Your Iron ‘  at the Old Vic and a much lauded central performance in Headlong Theatre Company’s touring production of ‘ Faustus ‘, both 2007.

Further prime stage roles saw him in contemporary mode at the Young Vic as the cajoling Duke Of Albany opposite Pete Postlethwaite’s towering ‘ King Lear ‘ in 2008 and in 2009 as the philandering Jerry in Harold Pinter’s ‘ Betrayal ‘ at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. In 2010 he worked for Edmund Coulthard again, cast as the Beatles’ press officer Derek Taylor in the television film, ‘ Lennon Naked ‘, with Christopher Ecclestone in the title role.

At the Gate Theatre, London that same year, he played the peurile artist Schwartz  in Headlong’s world premiere adaptation of Fred Widekind’s classic femme fatale creation ‘ Lulu ‘. From 2010 he has worked steadily on screen, most notably as tabloid journalist Declan in three episodes of the hugely popular political satire ‘ The Thick of It’ in 2012. In 2013 in perhaps his most high profile role to date, he was the exasperated Dave Hyndman,  business associate of feckless record dealer and producer Terri Hooley, played by Richard Dormer in the Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson biopic ‘Good Vibrations’. He was in fine form at the Arcola Theatre, London in 2014, suitably conniving as estate agent Anton, in Marius von Mayenburg’s delphic parable ‘Eldorado and on screen the same year, took a co-starring credit in Jan Vardoen’s Norwegian produced docu-drama ‘Heart of Lightness’.

Michael Colgan’s screen work to date has been indifferent and with a decidedly better stage pedigree he may find more comfort in theatre, where his acknowledged skills would be better appreciated.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

– The Voyage Of The Dawn Trader(1997) Lyric Theatre, Belfast

– How I Learned To Drive(1998) Donmar Warehouse, London

– The Tempest(1999) Abbey Theatre, Dublin

– Faithful Dealing(2001) Soho Theatre, London

– 10 Rounds(2002) Tricycle Theatre, London

– The Playboy Of The Western World(2003) Royal Exchange, Manchester

– This Lime Tree Bower(2005) Young Vic, London

– One Of These Days(2006) RSC, Stratford

– Blue On Blue(2006) Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke

TV
– Wall of Silence (2004)
– Silent Witness (2007)

– Occupation(2009)

– The Bill(2010)

– Holby City(2010)

– New Tricks(2011)

– Great Expectations(2011)

– The Fall(2013)

– What Remains(2013)

– Suspects(2014)

Ruairi Conaghan

Born Magherafelt 1966

Purposeful and consistent Liverpool John Moores University graduate in drama and English, 1986-1989. He had early professional experience with the Northcott Theatre, Exeter, when during a short season in early 1991, he appeared in a series of plays including Conall Morrison’s ‘Rough Justice’ and Len Collin’s ‘Box’.

He returned to Liverpool later that year joining John Doyle’s Everyman Theatre Company, taking minor roles in productions such as ‘Othello’, ‘School For Scandal’ and ‘The White Devil’. He made his screen debut as a B Special in an episode of the television series ‘Screen Two’, writer/director Barry Devlin’s ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, broadcast in 1994 and featuring Gabriel Byrne and Barbara Adair. A long association with  writer Gary Mitchell began with Belfast based Replay’s, school touring production of ‘That Driving Ambition’, a compelling tale of street law in a harsh Belfast backdrop, directed by Brenda Winter in 1995.

Another Gary Mitchell piece, ‘Sinking’ in 1997, again with Replay, this time addressing the subject of bullying, was followed by Mitchell’s late 17th century, Co. Armagh set ‘Tearing The Loom’, in which he played staunch Orangeman William Hamill, a Lyric Theatre production directed by David Grant in 1998. In the RTE commissioned ‘The Officer From France’, Gary Mitchell’s made for television film based on the final days of United Irishmen leader Wolfe Tone, he was cast as Harper, a character based on Irish Rebellion leader James Hope with Adrian Dunbar as Wolfe Tone, directed by Tony Barry and broadcast in 1998.

His appearance in yet another Gary Mitchell play, the award winning ‘Trust’, was arguably his most significant, commendable in the role of insecure ex-paramilitary prisoner, Trevor and  directed by Mick Gordon, it was performed at the Royal Court, London in 1999. A much lower credit listing brought him back to the daily grind with a functional role in Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’, directed by Conall Morrison for the National Theatre and presented on the Olivier stage in 2000.

In the early 2000s his work rate stuttered, but did include two noteworthy stage appearances. He played Paul Fogarty in a 2003 National Theatre production on the Cottesloe stage, of Owen McCafferty’s whistle- stop portrait of a day in the life of Belfast, ‘Scenes From the Big Picture’ and was Edward, a Beirut hostage in Frank McGuinness’ ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ at the Theatre Royal, Northampton in 2004. Two central roles in theatre during 2005, although not game changing, certainly improved his profile. In June at Southwark Playhouse in A.N. Zakarian’s debut play ‘A Thousand Yards’, he played war photographer Hal and later in a return to the Everyman Theatre, he was melancholic accountant Dermot, in Conor McPherson’s three man fugue, ‘Port Authority’, directed by the emerging Matthew Dunster.

He registered two London stage appearances during 2006/07, but was less successful on screen, with a brace of inconspicuous roles on television. At the Alcora Theatre in 2006, he played as intrinsically complaisant, the manager, Rohan, in Frank McGuinness’ first play ‘The Factory Girls’ and the following year at the Bush Theatre, was Jim, a Northern Irish film maker in Georgia Fitch’s somewhat compressed drama, ‘I Like Mine With a Kiss’. He experienced another undemanding spell from 2008, punctuated with only a guest role in the medi-soap ‘Doctors’ in 2010, but recovered to a degree with a decent run of stage and screen work in 2011. He had a pivotal part as malevolent witchfinder, Reverend Hale, in Arthur Miller’s sublime ‘The Crucible’, the curtain raising play at the newly renovated Lyric Theatre, Belfast in May 2011. In September of that year he appeared in a modest role at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, in writer/director Debbie Tucker Green’s series of vignettes, ‘Truth and Reconciliation’.

On screen in 2012 there was little improvement, with a subsidiary cameo as farmer, Thomas Benger in the television film ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’. This preceded a higher profile appearance the same year, as assertive motor mechanic Kieran Branson in Julian Fellowes’ double Golden Globe winning television series ‘Downton Abbey’. He endorsed his stage status with a multiple role performance in a revival of Brian Friel’s enduring comedy drama ‘Philadelphia Here I Come’, which opened at the Donmar Warehouse, London in September 2012 and then struck a rich vein of form with two quite different roles. First a delightful cameo as the ribald dung carter Christy, in Samuel Beckett’s beautifully paced ‘All That Fall’, a never before staged radio play from 1957, opened at the compact Jermyn Street Theatre, London in October 2012.

At the fringe theatre venue, The Print Room, London, in March 2013, he took deserved plaudits for his performance as anxious husband Frank Sweeney, in Brian Friel’s understated piece ‘Molly Sweeney’. Later in 2013 ‘All That Fall’ transferred to the Off- Broadway 59E59 Theatre with the original sterling cast, headed by Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins. Ruairi Conaghan’s successes have been overwhelmingly been played out on stage and have easily overshadowed a surprisingly more muted alternative screen career.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

-Put Out That Light(1991) Lyric Theatre, Belfast

-Fall From Grace(1994) Liverpool Playhouse

-Romeo and Juliet(2000)NT Olivier

-Elegies(2012) King’s Head Theatre, London

-White Star of The North(2012) Lyric Theatre, Belfast

– The Bombing of the Grand Hotel(2015) Cockpit Theatre, London

– Hamlet(2015) Barbican, London

Film

-Wreckers(2011)

TV

-The Bill(various 1995/2005)

-Murphy’s Law(2003)

-Silent Witness(2004)

-Waking The Dead(2007)

-Supergrass(2007)

 

Colin Connor

 

Born Belfast 25th September 1969

Purposeful and collected supporting actor/playwright, who made two screen appearances in his mid-teens, although was also glimpsed as an eleven year old in a 1981 BBC ‘Play for Today’, Stewart Parker’s gritty Belfast set ‘Iris in the Traffic, Ruby in the Rain’.

His legitimate debut in 1986 was as west Belfast teenager Arthur, in Bill Miskelly’s locally produced, feelgood family feature, ‘The End of the World Man’. The following year he played professional football aspirant Cherry, one of a group taken for a weekend’s tutelage by Ray McAnally’s Palmer, in Frank McGuinness’ ‘Scout’, which also co-starred Stephen Rea as dipsomaniac, ex footballer Marshall.

A self imposed exile from acting then ensued, lasting fifteen years and in what was a year zero return, he enrolled at the Manchester School of Theatre in 2002. Shortly after completing his course he was cast as Pat Kilbride, father of Moors Murder victim John Kilbride, in director Christopher Menaul’s compelling Bafta award winning mini-series ‘See No Evil: The Moors Murderers’ in 2006. In 2007 at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, he appeared as merchant seaman Paddy in John Fay’s splendid WW2 reminiscence piece ‘Cruel Sea’ and took a minor role in an episode of the sixties embracing medi-soap series ‘The Royal’. Further television roles during 2007/10 included multiple appearances as priest Father Desmond in the early evening angst fest soap ‘Hollyoaks’, between 2007/08 and as nightclub owner Gary McFarlane in ‘Emmerdale’ in 2008.

During that period he was also credited in an assortment of guest parts in ‘Coronation Street’ and in early 2010 began his association with the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, where in April 2010 he was offered an ensemble role as Northern Irish comic George McBrain in Trevor Griffiths ‘Comedians’. Notable among his many subsequent appearances were, ‘Love on the Dole’ 2010, Walter Greenwood’s tough social narrative set in early thirties Lancashire and a bravura performance as legendary Bolton steeplejack and television personality Fred Dibnah in ‘The Demolition Man’ 2011.

Again at the Octagon that same year he shone as Mr Shanks in Alan Bennett’s bawdy comedy ‘Habeas Corpus’ and was first-rate as the superficial Baldy in ‘The Towers of Babel’, a 24:7 Manchester Theatre Festival production in 2012. After a two year absence from the screen, he took a functional guest role in two episodes of writer Julie Geary’s ‘Prisoners Wives’ in 2012 and at the Octagon enjoyed a prolific period from 2013, with a number of leading credits.

These included the dull husband Giovanni in Dario Fo’s political farce ‘Can’t Pay? Wont Pay! and as the bully Carlson in ‘Of Mice and Men’, both 2013. At the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2013 he partnered Ballymena born Glen Wallace in Marie Jones’ ubiquitous tragicomedy ‘Stones in His Pockets’ and brought a new measure of physicality to the role of Jake Quinn. Further television work during 2014/15, albeit in top rated series, was wastefully minimal for an actor worthy of much more.

Other Theatre and Television credits:

Theatre

-A Streetcar Named Desire(2010) Octagon Theatre, Bolton

-Romeo and Juliet(2011) Octagon Theatre, Bolton

-Tuppence to Cross the Mersey(2012) Liverpool Empire

-Tull(2013) Octagon Theatre, Bolton

-Piaf(2013) Octagon Theatre, Bolton

-The Jungle Book(2013) West Yorkshire Playhouse

-Journey’s End(2014) Octagon Theatre, Bolton

-Early One Morning(2014) Octagon Theatre, Bolton

-A View From the Bridge(2015) Octagon Theatre, Bolton

TV

-The Underground(2008),

-Peaky Blinders(2014),

-Scott&Bailey(2014),

-Foyles War(2015)

 

Colm Convey

Born Belfast 1960

Irascible and credible character actor who studied at RADA for three years until 1981, before appearing in his first television role as young, ineffectual UDA thug Ian, in Graham Reid’s ‘Too Late to Talk to Billy’ 1982. After a short period with a repertory company in Stoke-on-Trent during 1982, he arrived in Belfast for a short season at the Lyric, where he made appearances in Sam McCready’s ‘Yeats in Limbo’ and as Kieran in Martin Lynch’s ‘Castles In The Air’. Following television appearances in the two subsequent Billy plays, he made his West End debut as IRA suspect Roche, in Ron Hutchinson’s ‘Rat In the Skull’ at the Royal Court in 1984, which subsequently transferred to the Joseph Papp Theatre New York in 1985.

From the mid eighties his screen work rate slowed considerably, with only a small part in the Liam Neeson film ‘Lamb’ 1986 and a television role as Sgt. Freddie Lewis in the Squaddie drama series ‘Soldier Soldier’ in 1991 to keep him busy. However his luck changed for the better in the nineties and he found himself much busier with several film and television roles, including the comedy drama series ‘The Darling Buds of May’ 1993 and ‘Madson’ 1996. He also had time for some serious stage work, appearing with the RSC at Stratford during 1995/96, as Duke Frederick in ‘As You Like It’ 1995 and as Macduff  in ‘ Macbeth ‘ 1996.

In 1998 in his first appearance at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, he was frighteningly proficient as Larry in Gary Mitchell’s potent ‘As The Beast Sleeps’ and the following year was in similarly sterling form as Arty in another Mitchell play ‘Trust’ at the Royal Court. In the late nineties and early 2000’s he maintained a ratio of modest guest starring roles in soaps and crime dramas, which included a reprise of his stage role as Larry in the Television adaptation of ‘As The Beast Sleeps’ in 2002 and as distressed Catholic father Gerry McClure in ‘Holy Cross’ 2003.

In common with many Ulster born actors of his generation, Colum Convey had no difficulty finding work on the troubles infused production line, a reluctant if dependent participant, whose undoubted ability perhaps deserved a little more.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

– The Royal Hunt Of the Sun(1989) Theatre Royal, Bath

TV
– Seconds Out (1993)
– Hostages (1993)
– Kavanagh QC ( 1998)

Film
– An Everlasting Piece (2000)

Terence Cooper

Born Carnmoney 5th July 1933
Died Cairns, Australia 16th September 1997

Spirited, one time West End musical stalwart who became a cast regular in many successful productions during the late fifties. After National Service and graduation from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he made his film debut in the Die Fledermaus inspired operetta ‘Oh Rosalinda’ in 1955. His first television appearance came a year later when he played Blackbeard in the opening episode of the pirate adventure series ‘The Buccaneers’, starring Robert Shaw and in 1958 appeared at the Palace Theatre in his first West End show, playing Jack Chesney, friend and room mate of Norman Wisdom in Frank Loesser’s long running comedy, ‘Where’s Charlie’.

The next year he was in the top rated musical ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’ at the Mermaid Theatre and enjoyed another decent run in ‘A Little Ray of Sunshine’ at the Comedy Theatre in 1962. The next five years were spent in low budget films and television serials, until his appearance in the John Huston directed ‘Casino Royale’ 1967, in which he had a not too insubstantial role as a surrogate Bond to David Niven’s retired Sir James Bond. The film despite it’s stellar cast was a universal flop and in the aftermath a line was drawn on his career in Britain. For two years he found little or no employment and subsequently left for Australia in 1970. Almost immediately he was offered an also starring role in an episode of the police drama series ‘Division Four’, which created sufficient interest for him to sustain at least an acceptable level of work throughout the 1970s. He went on to make guest appearances in almost all of Australian television’s most popular shows of the time, including ‘Homicide’ 1973 and ‘Hunters Gold’ 1977. His circumstances changed for the worse in the 1980s and he eked out a living as nothing more than a journeyman actor, appearing in nondescript films such as ‘Hot Target’ 1985 and ‘No Way Out’ 1987 and finished his career down under in the routine film drama ‘Fatal Past’ 1993.

Terence Cooper’s time and place was a short lived period in late fifties London, where as a twenty something enthusiast of the musical genre, he actively pursued his dream.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

– Make Me An Offer(1960) Bristol Hippodrome

– The Fantasticks(1961) Apollo Theatre, London

Film
– Walk a Tight Rope (1965)
– Sylvia(1985)
– Kingpin (1985)
– Hot Pursuit (1987)
– The Grass Cutter( 1990)

TV
– Number 96 (1973)
– Mortimer’s Patch (1982)
– Bony(1992)

Arthur Cox

Born Banbridge 7th April 1934

Avuncular character actor, whose career although varied, has been somewhat stage driven down the years. He was in theatre in Belfast from the mid to late fifties, appearing in an Arts Theatre Production of Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ and made his Dublin stage debut as Ordulto in an Edwards/McLiammor play, ‘The Masquerade of Henry IV at the Gate in 1955.

In the early sixties he spent a year with Hornchurch Repertory Company, appearing in a string of contemporary plays such as Jean Kerr’s phenomenally  successful comedy ‘ Mary Mary ‘,  ‘Dial M For Murder ‘ and Emlyn Williams’ crime thriller ‘ Someone Waiting ‘, all 1964.

His first television role was in an episode of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ in 1966, identified on the credit list as Hall and the same year had an uncredited film debut as a male nurse in Francois Truffaut’s sci-fi drama ‘Fahrenheit 451’. Following some low key work on television which included an appearance as Cully in several episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ in 1968, he made his earliest traceable and credited London stage appearance at the Saville Theatre in Bertolt Brecht’s 1969 production of ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’, memorable for Leonardo Rossiter’s virtuoso performance in the title role. In the early seventies he was offered intermittent television work with guest appearances in crime and action series icluding ‘Department S’ and ‘UFO’ both 1970 and ‘Softly Softly’ 1972. However he found refuge in theatre and had better luck in ‘The Malcontent’, directed by Jonathan Miller at the Globe in 1973 and with the Oxford Theatre Company in ‘As You Like It ‘ at the Wimbledon Theatre in 1975. Towards the end of the seventies he was a constant in South of England repertory circles but his screen work was scant and his only film appearance during that time was a small part as a detective, in the second but unsuccessful version of ‘The Sweeney’ 1978.

His television profile was raised in the early part of the eighties, with a minor, but not so insignificant role as cabinet minister Jim Hackett’s driver George, in ‘Yes Minister’ 1981 and for four episodes was Inspector Marriott in Agatha Christie’s ‘Partners in Crime’, 1983.

On stage in 1983 he was in Shakespeare’s tragicomedy ‘Pericles’ at the Theatre Royal, London, which also featured fellow Ulster actor Gerard Murphy and for a few weeks in 1984, appeared before the biggest audience of his career, as the obnoxious church fund chairman Mr. Barker in the indestructible soap ‘Coronation Street’. Following this relatively hectic period he must have thought his fortunes had changed for the better but unfortunately it proved not to be and he continued through the eighties on a diet of inconsequential roles on film and television, although he had some success working on quality theatre projects such as ‘The Corn Is Green’ at the Old Vic in 1985.

The best of his nugatory parts on television were arguably two ‘Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries’, ‘Strong Poison’ and ‘Have His Carcase’ both 1987 and feature films ‘Castaway’ 1986, ‘Personal Services’ and ‘Hope and Glory’ both 1987. With the RSC in the nineties he appeared in a number of major productions, including ‘Loves Labour Lost’ 1995 and ‘Macbeth’ 1996, both at the Barbican and also that year was in ‘As You Like It’ at the Globe and toured with ‘The Seagull’ in 1997, which then played at the Donmar Warehouse, London.

Film and television highlights in the nineties were few, but he did have a co-starring role in the televised mini series ‘Jewels’ 1992 and guested in the series ‘Poirot’ 1993, ‘Casualty’ 1998 and ‘Harbour Lights’ 1999.  He returned to the RSC , Stratford in 2000, playing Bardolph in Henry IV Parts One and Two at the Swan Theatre and ‘ Henry V ‘ at the RST  and was the Trojan Priest, Calchas in ‘ Troilus and Cressida’ at the RST in 2006.

Arthur Cox’s career could be unfairly categorised as dull but reliable, but after more than fifty years as an actor he deserves an appropriately studied and more respectful assessment of his achievements.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

– Guilty Party(1961) Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
– Threepenny Opera (1974) Palace Theatre, Watford
– Pygmalion (1976) Palace Theatre, Watford

– The Philanderer(1980) Bristol Old Vic

– The Government Inspector(1991) Greenwich Theatre, London

– Zenobia(1995) RSC, Young Vic, London

– Platanov(2001) Almeida Theatre, London

Film
– Shuttlecock (1991)
– Tom’s Midnight Garden (1999)

TV
– The Bone Grinder (1968)
– The Tragedy of Richard III (1983)
– Passport to Murder (1993)
– The 10th Kingdom (2000)
– Jane Eyre (2006)
– Doctor Who (2010)

Diane Craig

Born Bangor 9th June 1949

Self collected and prolific Australian based stage and screen actor, whose studies at Sydney’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Arts, were fortuitously interrupted, when, without any professional experience she was chosen to play Maggie Kelly in director Tony Richardson’s problematic bio-pic ‘Ned Kelly’ 1970.

Marianne Faithful was originally cast as the sister of the iconic bush outlaw, played by a bemused Mick Jagger, but pre-production relationship difficulties with the Stones front man resulted in her being declared medically unfit, leaving precious little time to fill the void. Following this startling debut in which she acquitted herself favourably, she made her first television appearance as Teresa Doherty in director Eric Taylor’s pre WW1 saga ‘Dead Men Running’ 1971 and the same year with husband-to-be, actor Garry McDonald, played at the Theatre Royal, Hobart in Victorien Sardou’s comedy, ‘Let’s Get a Divorce’.

Then began a television excursion which saw her guesting in many early Australian police drama series, such as ‘Homicide’ 1972, starring Belfast born John Fegan, ‘Matlock Police’, appearing occasionally from 1971/74 and ‘Division Four’ 1973/74. Further television work in the seventies gave her many opportunities to expand her range and included the period family drama ‘The Sullivan’s’ 1976, ‘Cop Shop’ 1977 and ‘The Restless Years’ 1977. Sandwiched between these she played Ginger opposite George Lazenby in the turgid thriller ‘The Newman Shame’ and the ill conceived melodrama ‘Roses Bloom Twice’ , both 1977. The year was not a complete write- off as she took a co-starring role as Miss Pringle in director Kevin James Dobson’s excellent 1940’s rural Australian set ’The Mango Tree’.

Television was to provide her main source of work from the end of the seventies and due to her non- committal to any long running series she was free to take guest roles and probably more importantly stage and film projects that happened along the way.

In the early eighties her television output could best be described as uninspiring, although in 1983 she produced better performances in two mini-series, taking leading parts in ‘Scales of Justice’ and more notably as Miss Barrett in the romantic drama ‘All the Rivers Run’ and on the big screen as Miss Stevens in Brian Kavanagh’s thriller ‘Double Deal’. On stage that year, a medium reluctantly neglected, she showed no signs of uncertainty in the role of governess Toby Parks in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Alex Buzo’s superior 1950s Fiji set ‘The Marginal Farm’.
Her first protracted role in a television series came in 1985 when cast as maverick nun Sister Anita Selby, in the retrospectively regarded cult drama ‘Prisioner’ having appeared briefly five years earlier as another inmate, Jackie Nolan. The latter half of the eighties, although busy, brought her no closer to success beyond the Australian product, with the exception of the television drama ‘After Marcuse’ 1988 and Eugene Schluster’s 1989 film ‘A Sting in the Tale’, role perfect as Diane Lane, first woman PM of Australia. Theatre and television became her main focus from 1990, with a repeating diet on screen but with a much better stage exposition, proving her worth in a wide mix of productions with some of Australia’s more accomplished companies.

In 1991 she effortlessly moved from the Melbourne based comedy series ‘Acropolis Now’, to a longer stint as Dr Elly Fielding in Ten Network’s ‘E Street’, a hard hitting drama set in inner city Sydney, until her departure in 1993. On stage with the Ensemble Theatre in 1994, she was a convincing Barbara Hoyle in Jon Robin Baitz’s engrossing two hander, ‘Three Hotels’ and a year later was cast as a schoolteacher in two television series. In the first she played Teresa Lynch in the maudlin soap ‘Home And Away’ and then June Dyson, principle of the angst filled and aptly named ‘Heartbreak High’. Back with Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre in 1996, she produced another fine performance in David Williamson’s fraught and convoluted ‘Money And Friends’ and later in a now familiar routine stepped onto the television merry-go-round for more of the same. The most noteworthy of her late nineties efforts were director David Elfick’s television film ‘Never Tell Me Never’ and the above average crime drama series ‘Wildside’, both 1998.

She did pay more attention to her stage persona during 1998/99 with several high profile Sydney Theatre appearances. These included Peta Murray’s ‘Wallflowering’ for the Railway Theatre Company in 1998, Jeffrey Beatty’s ‘Scam’, a Belvoir St Theatre production in 1999 and ‘Face to Face’, first in his Jack Manning Trilogy, by veteran Australian playwright David Williamson, presented by the Ensemble Theatre in 1999. In 2001 she appeared in the second piece of Williamson’s trilogy, ‘A Conversation’, again with the Ensemble Theatre and whether planned or otherwise the new century would bring a dramatic change to her hitherto copious work schedule. Indeed from that point until a screen return in 2008, she registered only two further stage appearances, which despite the paucity were impressive nevertheless. She was an ambrosial Lydia in the all-female cast of Alma De Groen’s black comedy ‘Wicked Sisters’, a 2003 Ensemble Theatre presentation and a brilliantly decorous politician’s wife Fiona, in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Hannie Rayson’s ‘Two Brothers’ in 2005.

Following the longest period off screen in her long career, she made a somewhat disappointing return in the toothless murder mystery series ‘Out of the Blue’ 2008, but as anticipated redeemed herself as Marjorie in the the award winning drama ‘Underbelly’ 2009. Diane Craig’s fast track to potential stardom proved frustratingly circuitous and instead she took a more parochial route, which ultimately constricted her international aspirations.

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre
– The Heidi Chronicles (1994) Perth Theatre Co
– Arms and the Man (1999) Railway St Theatre, Penrith NSW

– Don Parties On(2011) Arts Centre Playhouse, Melbourne

– Rupture, Blister, Burn(2013) Ensemble Theatre, Sydney

Film
– Travelling North (1987)
– Traveling Man (1989)

TV
– Snake Gully With Dad and Dave (1972)
– Certain Women (1973)
– And the Big Men Fly (1974)
– Chopper Squad (1979)
– Bellamy (1981)
– The Highest Honour (1982)
– Mother and Son (1988)
– True Believers (1988)
– Family and Friends (1990)
– Murder Call (1997)
– Medivac (1998)
– Packed to the Rafters (2009)

– Crownies(2011)

 

Rick Crawford

Born Belfast 10th April 1976

Atypical, industrious stage and screen actor and QUB graduate, who after a low key- period in local theatre, left Belfast for Los Angeles in 2005 to work in his chosen field of electrical engineering.

He was soon appearing in inconspicuous theatre productions on the Greater Los Angeles fringe circuit. These included supporting roles in plays such as J.M. Synge’s imperishable comedy ‘The Well of Saints’, at the Celtic Arts Centre, North Hollywood and ‘The McMartin-Preschool Trial’, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Centre in South Bay, both 2005.

Notable among his 2006 stage appearances, all in modest venues, were his dual roles as Paddy/Georgie in William Weber’s Irish famine inspired ‘No Second Trumpet’, performed at the Celtic Arts Centre and as diehard UDA man Stanley Brown in Gary Mitchell’s unyielding Belfast set ‘Force of Change’, at the McGadden Theatre, Hollywood.

His film debut in 2007 was a co-starring credit as Expert Harry Truman, in writer/director Thomas Griffith’s micro budget political sci-fi tale, ‘Chronicles of Roman Numeral X. This was followed by another indie venture, writer/director Elliott Hong’s drama ‘Never Divided Again’.

On stage in 2007 he played Private Walter Morgan in Irwin Shaw’s anti-war narrative ‘Bury the Dead’, presented at Park La Brea, Hollywood and directed by Anthony Di Pietro.

With the exeption of three theatre sabbaticals, his screen projects from 2008 have been predominately focussed on the west coast underground scene, where budgets of 500,000 dollars are regarded as fanciful. The more appreciable of these were his starring roles in director Vincent Mongan’s factual drama ‘Some Sunny Day’ in 2008 and Chris Witherspoon’s horror thriller ‘Rage’ in 2010.

In director Ian Fitzgibbon’s Dublin set crime comedy ‘Perrier’s Bounty’, released in 2010, he at least was elevated to rare feature film status, despite his lowly credit, working alongside Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Conleth Hill and Jim Broadbent. A milestone year in 2011 saw him co-write and star as former IRA man Mickey O’Hara, in the action thriller ‘No Saints For Sinners’, in a cast which also included fellow Belfast born Marty Maguire. In early May of that year he returned home and was part of a large cast assembled for the opening production at the newly built Lyric Theatre, joining Patrick O’Kane and Ruairi Conaghan in director Conall Morrison’s pithy adaptation of Arthur Miller’s trenchant allegory, ‘The Crucible’.

In 2012 he was offered the role of Minister Geoghan in Desmond Bell’s Irish/Uk co-produced ‘The Enigma of Frank Ryan’, a docudrama tracing the compelling life of the Irish republican and International Brigade volunteer, who died incongruously in Dresden in 1944. Back in the indie world of Hollywood he worked with varying degrees of significance on five films during 2013/15. The best of these were arguably the fantasy horror ‘Plum’ in 2013, ‘When Life Keeps Getting in the Way’ and the unsparing feature ‘Mile Marker Seven’, both 2014.

In theatre in 2013, he was convincing as guilt-ridden RUC officer Victor, in Graham Reid’s 1984 bittersweet comedy/drama ‘Remembrance’, staged at Theatre 40, Beverly Hills and directed by Tim Byron Owen. Rick Crawford’s screen career has by preference, largely been played out on the periphery of mainstream film making and with only sporadic stage interest, any meaningful recognition is probably not a short term prospect.

 

Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:

Theatre

-A Christmas Carol(2014) Long Beach Theatre Co

Film

-Valley of Angels(2008)

-Wild Sunflowers(2008)

-Platinum The Dance Movie(2014)

-Land of Leopold(2014)

TV

-Terriers(2010)

 

Kieran Creggan

Born Dungannon 29th April 1964
Died London 1st March 2009

Genial actor/dancer/singer, who was with Belfast’s Phase Dance Company for three years from 1982, before joining The Ulster Youth Theatre, where, during his two year stay was in four productions, including ‘Grease’ and ‘The Boyfriend’. In 1987 he founded the short lived Ulster Dance Theatre, which folded in quick time but undeterred he finished the year, making his professional stage debut as Scarecrow in’ The Wizard of Oz ‘at the Arts Theatre Belfast. At the same venue in 1988 he played Basil Carrington in Sam Cree’s farce ‘Don’t Tell the Wife’ and had a tiny part in his first television appearance, playing Kelly, in an adaptation of Bernard McLaverty’s ‘The Elephant’. Later that year he enrolled at the Guildford School of Acting , where in his second year he appeared in Maurice Leitch’s 1989 television Drama ‘Chinese Whispers’ and after graduation did not have long to wait before landing leading stage roles in ‘God’s Pen’ at Oldham’s Coliseum and ‘Chicago’ at the Haymarket in Leicester. He had his first break on a national level in 1992, when he embarked on a ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ 20th anniversary tour with David Essex and in 1994 took the role of Fyedka in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at the London Palladium.

An undoubted career highpoint was his Royal National Theatre appearance playing Sky Masterson in the Laurence Olivier award winning ‘Guys and Dolls’ 1996 and he stretched his singing range to a new level in two Tony Britten directed operas, ‘Eugene Onegin’ and ‘Die Fledermaus’, both at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1999.

At the Duke of York’s Theatre London in 2001 he proved a more than adequate replacement for Conleth Hill, when taking the role of Charlie Conlon opposite Kieran Lagan in Marie Jones’ comedy two-hander and worldwide hit ‘Stones in His Pockets’. In a decidedly belated screen career, which only began in earnest in 2001, he co-starred as Rihabb in director Martin Gooch’s ‘Grounded’, made exclusively for the US television market and for a short period played Patrick Murphy in the long running police drama series ‘The Bill’, 2003. Also that year he made his feature film debut in the Craig Ferguson romantic comedy ‘I’ll Be There’, playing a Staff  Nurse, in a cast which included Imelda Staunton and Jemma Redgrave and had a minor role in the award winning television drama ‘Holycross’. His health began to deteriorate around this time, having earlier been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Work became an impossibility and although he fought to retain a reasonable quality of life, he succumbed in March 2009, aged just forty four. Kieran Creggan was a multi-task performer who unfortunately could not establish a solid foothold in any of his chosen disciplines, a case perhaps of dream chasing down one or two avenues too many.

Other Theatre credits:

Theatre
– Crazy for You (1993) Prince Edward Theatre, London
– The Girl With the Roses (1999) Bloomsbury Theatre, London

Evin Crowley

Born Bangor 5th December 1945

Capable but unfulfilled character player, whose early promise melted away in a short screen career lasting barely six years. Following some stage experience in the mid to late sixties with the Lyric Players, then located in Derryvolgie Avenue Belfast, she made her television debut as Sister Magdalene in ‘The Sinners’, a 1970 series based on a compendium of Irish short stories.

That same year in an eye-catching supporting role, she was ideal as scheming village girl Maureen Cassidy in David Lean’s imperfect epic ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, rubbing shoulders with screen giants such as Robert Mitchum, John Mills and Trevor Howard.

For Crowley in only her first year as a screen actor, this was a significant step, bringing her it would seem to the cusp of instant stardom.
During 1971/72 she made several appearances as tragic scullery maid Emily in the hugely popular ‘Upstairs Downstairs’, but the contract was limited and abruptly ended with her character’s suicide after just five episodes. In retrospect this short period of success proved a false dawn, as the next four years produced little of consequence and any work she did undertake placed her at the wrong end of the credit lists.

Two guest roles in episodes of ‘Thirty Minute Theatre’ 1972 and the prison bound series ‘Within These Walls’ 1974, could not be confused with progression and almost as soon as it began her career petered out, with further low profile appearances in the Australian set bio-drama ‘Ben Hall’ and the ponderous ‘Churchill’s People’, both 1975. She finally bowed out in another guest role, appearing as Joan Fisher in the police drama series ‘Softly Softly’ in 1976, ending what was seemingly an acting fling, but in truth Evin Crowley had more than sufficient ability to forge a name in a profession where good fortune often proves elusive.