Born Lisburn 28th October 1941
Died Clifton, Oxfordshire 14th November 2006
Complaisant, but slightly affected thespian, who managed to come up short in a theatre career which at best was repertorially efficient but was however more productive on screen and indulged himself on many occasions with booming voice and theatrical overload. He made his first professional stage appearance in Ted Willis’ ‘Woman in a Dressing Gown’ in Margate 1964 and later that year was in the National Theatre’s production of ‘Royal Hunt of the Sun’ presented at the Chichester Festival. He returned with the National a year later appearing in several productions, most notably as Tam Armstrong in John Arden’s ‘ Armstrong’s Last Goodnight ‘, but was lost in an extraordinary gifted cast, boasting such luminaries as Albert Finney, Robert Stephens and Derek Jacobi.
Active in provincial English theatre during the sixties he made his film debut as an unnamed British cavalry officer in director Tony Richardson’s ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ 1968 and the same year appeared in his first television role as Abel Jackson, in the police drama series ‘Softly Softly’. He closed the sixties with an RSC season at Stratford which included ‘ Pericles ‘ and ‘ The Winter’s Tale ‘, both 1969. He began the new decade with creditable appearances in four films in 1971, the best of which was his Nagorny in ‘Nicholas and Alexandria’, amidst a heavyweight Brit cast including Laurence Olivier and Michael Redgrave.
His better big screen work in the seventies included, the cult classic ‘The Wicker Man’ 1973, ‘Hennessy’ 1975 and ‘Love and Bullets’ 1979. On television his guest roles were plentiful, taking a starring role as Captain Beever in the period drama ‘Dominic’ 1976 and another significant part as Harry Farmer in the Air Force inspired series ‘Wings’ 1977/78. He was entering middle age with a recognisable face, but with a journeyman character actor’s status and a stalled stage career, which took a backseat during his screen forays in the seventies. Film projects in the eighties were decidedly bland, with a mixture of swashbucklers and thrillers including director Bruce Beresford’s much maligned ‘King David’, starring an unfortunately miscast Richard Gere and a children’s movie, ‘Santa Claus’ both 1985. The following year in a rare theatre appearance, he enjoyed a trod on the boards in a reasonably well received Young Vic production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
In 1988 he was offered the part of Barnsy Barnes, ex cell mate of Dirty Den Watts in ‘Eastenders’, where he stayed until 1990 and then almost immediately moved from London’s East End to the Yorkshire Dales, morphing into farmworker Terry Prince in the rural soap ‘Emmerdale’. His countryside tenure lasted one season and in 1991 was freelancing again with a small part in the big budget ‘Robin Hood Prince of Theives’ starring Kevin Costner and a supporting role in the police drama series ‘Bergerac’. Work began to thin out during the nineties and he had only very minor roles in forgettable films such as ‘Kull the Conqueror’ 1997 and ‘The Incredible Adventures of Marco Polo’in 1998 to sustain him. In his final screen appearance he played The Demon in the mammoth television production of the fairytale ‘Arabian Knights’, broadcast in 2000.
John Hallam’s career, which began with a degree of promise was now in decline, in retrospect he had too few good chances to impress and was cast perhaps unfairly at the wrong end of too many credit lists.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– A Bond Honoured (1966) NT Queen’s Theatre, London
– The Madras House(1992) Lyric Theatre, London
– The Last Valley (1971)
– Anthony and Cleopatra (1972)
– The Offence (1973)
– Dragonslayer (1981)
– The Four Feathers (1973)
– The Pallisers (1974)
– The Master of Ballantrae (1984)
– White Peak Farm (1998)
Born Belfast 23rd January 1958
Diffident and persevering actor who almost immediately after completing her studies in drama at Exeter University in 1979, took to the stage at the Roundhouse in London in maverick genius Ken Campbell’s extraordinary off the wall marathon ‘The Warp’. This twenty two hour extravaganza, co-written with Neil Oram was a veritable carnival of fast moving playlets which later transferred to that years Edinburgh Festival, confounding both audience and critics alike.
In the early eighties her stage apprenticeship saw her rack up the miles, with appearances in Imani Harrington’s aids exposition ‘Love and Danger’ at the Westbeth Theatre, New York and in a short stint at Nottingham Playhouse in 1983, took central roles in ‘Example’ and Ray Bradbury’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’.
She returned to Belfast in 1983 for two plays at the Lyric, playing Pauline Fullerton in Martin Lynch’s Belfast social housing statement, ‘Castles in the Air’ and Beth in the Queens Festival contribution, Christina Reid’s ‘Tea in a China Cup’.
Her television debut came in 1984 with the role of Laura in an adaptation of Anne Devlin’s short story ‘Passages’, entitled ‘A Woman Calling’ and she followed this the same year with another small screen appearance in writer/director Douglas Livingstone’s ‘After You’ve Gone’. A busy 1985 saw her undertake further television work and included a leading role opposite Brid Brennan in Mike Leigh’s splendid black comedy ‘Four Days In July’ and on the Cottesloe stage gave an incisive performance as Frances, in the National Theatre’s production of Daniel Mornin’s Belfast set, loyalist angled, ‘The Murderers’.
In 1987 she accepted an invitation from Field Day to join a strong cast, assembled at the Guildhall Derry for the premiere of Stewart Parker’s acclaimed final play ‘Pentecost’, starring Stephen Rea and Eileen Pollock and marked her first film appearance with a bit part in Steven Spielberg’s WW2 drama ‘Empire of the Sun’.
Such limited screen time inevitably proved worthless and with the exception of a guest role in the hospital soap ‘Casualty’ 1988, film work of any kind in the remainder of the eighties was non-existent.
In the nineties she worked sporadically on screen but any moderate success was diluted due to the infrequency of the assignments. The few highlights included a co-starring role in writer Ronan Bennett’s troubles infused television drama, ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ 1993 and on the big screen a small part in writer/director Henry Cole’s thriller ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ and a pivotal role in Tom Waller’s romantic drama, ‘Monk Dawson’ 1998. Her position changed little from 2000 and was cheerless, save a brief sighting in Jamie Thrave’s 2000 film ‘The Lowdown’ and a one-off appearance in the army adventure series ‘Ultimate Force’ 2002.
Paula Hamilton could also have done without sharing a name with a former model and re-invented television celebrity but it would be naive to suggest this had any bearing on her career development.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
-Riff Raff Rules(1980) Theatre Royal, Stratford East
-The Rocky Horror Show(1980)(German tour)
-The School for Wives(1989) Arts Theatre, Belfast
-Bold Girls(1991) 7:84 Theatre Company
– Titanic Town(1998)
-We’ll Support You Evermore(1985)
-An Unsuitable Job for a Woman(2001)
Born Belfast 1979
Imaginative and versatile supporting actor and QUB graduate in drama who began his professional life at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2000, appearing in Patrick Jones’ sad song of rural Wales, ‘Everything Must Go’ and David Johnston’s translation of Lope De Vega’s ‘The Great Pretenders’.
His television debut was a surreal credit in an episode of the BBC N. Ireland satirical comedy series ‘Give My Head Peace’ in 2001 and in a short spell at directing during 2003, was assistant to Paula McFettridge at the Lyric in Shelagh Stephenson’s comedy ‘The Memory of Water’. Later that year as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival he directed Lisa McGee’s critically acclaimed promenade piece, ‘Jump’and in 2004 took a snapshot role in an episode of the hugely popular and wantonly axed, west Belfast set comedy series ‘Pulling Moves’.
He was absent from the screen for several years until his re-emergence in a low- key role in director Kari Skogland’s political crime thriller ‘Fifty Dead Men Walking’, released in 2008. In a relative glut of screen work in 2009 he appeared sparingly in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s television film ‘Five Minutes of Heaven’, shot on location in Belfast and Lurgan and starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt. Then followed a co-starring credit in the micro- budgeted Northern Irish produced film ‘Ditching’ and in writer Andrea Levy’s post WW2 two part television drama ‘Small Island’, played to odious effect, a bellicose and racist London postal worker.
His intermittent theatre work around this time included a leading role as ‘Man’ in Declan Feenan’s short play ‘Keem’ at the Arcola Theatre, London and two which were even shorter for Box of Tricks at Theatre 503, London, ‘Safety’ and ‘That Dark Place’, all 2010. At the Finborough Theatre, London in 2011 in his most consequential stage role to date, he played United Irishman Henry Joy McCracken in Stewart Parker’s seminal work ‘Northern Star’, but was reduced once again on screen, this time as tagalong detective Sammy Pavis in writer/director Terry George’s comedy drama ‘Whole Lotta Sole’ 2012, featuring bemused leads Brendan Fraser and Colm Meaney.
Generally his screen appearances in 2012, although numerous, proved ineffectual in terms of a breakthrough. The best of these was his ill-fated schoolteacher Walter Hill in an episode of the De Angelis Group production ‘Titanic: Blood and Steel’ and as Aidan Gillen’s colleague Stephen in writer/director Phil Harrison’s debut, independent film ‘The Good Man’. A coveted National Theatre appearance in Maxim Gorky’s little seen, tragicomic ‘Children of the Sun’, saw him as the stranger, Yakov, directed by Howard Davies and presented on the Lyttleton stage in 2013.
Screen opportunities in 2013 were scant, with only a television guest role in ‘The Mimic’ and a modest credit in the Ralph Fiennes directed ‘The Invisible Woman’, in which Fiennes also starred as chief protagonist Charles Dickens. Another cursory film role in 2015 was in the multitasking Ricci Hartnett’s crime drama ‘Rise of the Footsoldier Part II, produced by the indie company Richwater Films and featuring Steven Berkoff. Two further minor film appearances in 2015/16 were an improvement, a supporting role as Mark in writer/director Davd Farr’s psychological thriller ‘The Ones Below’ and as Gleeson, in director Declan Recks’ Northern Irish produced ‘The Truth Commissioner’, starring Roger Allam and Conleth Hill. He was more fortunate on television in 2015, landing a decent recurring role as forensic pathologist Sean Rawlins, in Chris Lang’s excellent crime drama series ‘The Unforgotten’.
Jonathan Harden has been luckless in securing a decent train of work on either stage or screen, despite an evident ability, engendered in both mediums.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– Sanctuary(2011) Arcola Theatre, London
– Ghost Machine(2009)
– Coming Up(2010)
– The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby (2012)
Born Belfast 31st July 1981
Insightful, self-assured actor and Queen’s University, Belfast drama graduate, who following a short spell with children’s theatre group Replay Productions in 2006, made her legitimate stage debut at the Waterfront Studio, Belfast in 2007.
A positive appearance as the musing Maggie Lyttle in Owen McCafferty’s much worked, tentacled overview of an unusually glorious summer day in the life of an always suspecting Belfast. This proved a springboard to a busy period during 2008, with roles in three feature films. Her first a fleeting glimpse as a novice nun in director Eric Styles’ romantic comedy ‘Miss Conception’ was followed by writer/director Steve McQueen’s multi- award winning political drama ‘Hunger’, starring Michael Fassbender as ill fated IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.
That same year she appeared as the unfortunate young Newry woman Pearl Gamble in director Linda Smith’s commendable television docudrama ‘Last Man Hanging’, depicting the 1961 murder trial of subject of the title Robert McGladdery.
Her gold rush year was further augmented with her role as Lynsey Nolan in ten episodes of ‘Hollyoaks Later’, a more grittier late evening spin-off of the teatime Chester set soap ‘Hollyoaks’. In 2009, in another cause celebre television docudrama, she was once more the ultimate casualty, this time judge’s daughter Patricia Curran in writer/director Michael McDowell’s well constructed ‘Scapegoat’, which also featured Marty McCann as the wrongly convicted Ian Hay Gordon.
A year later she was back as the conciliatory but soon to be tormented Lynsey Nolan in the cast of ‘Hollyoaks’, which although short of career changing, produced her longest spell of work to date , 161 episodes over a two year period between 2010/12 until her character’s violent demise. In a return to the Waterfront Studio, Belfast in March of 2010, she was an entirely credible Marian Mitchell, daughter of righteous shop steward Davy Mitchell in ‘Over the Bridge’, Martin Lynch’s outstanding adaptation of Sam Thompson’s masterful indictment of the religious discrimination practices at large in the Belfast shipyard of his youth.
The in-the-round Green Shoot production saw several emotionally draining performances most notably Walter McMonagle as Davy Mitchell and Lalor Roddy as his selfish status seeking brother George. Small screen appearances in 2012/13 included a guest role in the eternal hospital soap ‘Casualty’ and potential murder victim, accountant Annie Brawley in the acclaimed psychological thriller ‘The Fall’.
The series set in contemporary Belfast, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan offered her , despite constrained screen time, the biggest audience of her career. At the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2013 she was distinctly comfortable as Nora Murray in director Jimmy Fay’s revival of St John Greer Ervine’s first full length play ‘Mixed Marriage’, first produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1911 and which remarkably had played only once before in the city of it’s setting, at the Grand Opera House, Belfast in 1932. An also-starring credit as Becky, in Simon Powell’s modest social drama, ‘The Caravan’ in 2015, was followed by guest appearances in the Irish/Canadian produced television series, ‘Vikings’ 2015 and ‘Suspects’ 2016.
Karen Hassan’s higher profile output from 2008 placed her in a better position than perhaps even she would have reasonably expected, considering her tentative beginning in children’s theatre just a few years earlier.
Other Film and TV credits:
-Fifty Dead Men Walking(2008)
-Sketchy With Diarmuid Corr(2010/11)
Born Derry 1950
Constrained but intelligent exponent of heavyweight stage productions, UCD educated and former LAMDA student, who despite her evidential talent, could not establish a sustainable profile to move to another level. As a student in Dublin she enrolled at the Abbey School Of Acting, appearing in multiple roles in the 15th century English morality play ‘Everyman’ on the Peacock stage in 1969.
Following appearances at the Lyric Belfast, most notably in the title role of ‘St. Joan’ in 1973, she joined the RSC and was in the deep end immediately, playing Lady Percy in ‘Henry IV Parts 1 and 2’ at the RST and Jane Douglas in ‘Perkin Warbeck’ at The Other Place, both 1975.
Her 1976 television debut as Juliet, opposite Chistopher Neame, in director Joan Kemp’s BAFTA nominated mini-series, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, was followed by a low key role in another mini- series, this time director Christopher Barry’s adaptation of ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ in 1977. In 1980 she was recruited by the newly formed Field Day Theatre Company, appearing as Sarah in Brian Friel’s inaugural and inspirational ‘Translations’, presented at the Guildhall in Derry and two years later at the same venue, played Susan Donovan in his quasi farce ‘The Communication Cord’, in a cast including Stephen Rea and Gerard McSorley.
A none too heady first film appearance in 1982, saw her as First Maid, in writer/director Edward Bennett’s post WWI, Belfast set ‘Ascendancy’ and with the exception of a small role in Mike Leigh’s television play ‘Four Days in July’ 1985 and a more significant credit in another teleplay ‘The Venus De Milo Instead’ 1987, she would work exclusively in theatre. In the nineties she had substantial roles in two RSC productions, Anne Devlin’s ‘After Easter’ at The Other Place, Stratford in 1994 and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Barbican, London in 1995 and also featured in the cast of the touring production of the latter, which presented at the Lunt/Fontaine Theatre New York in 1996.
Since then she has been missing, presumed retired, which is unfortunate, as she did display a measure of quality in a short career, which was definitely stage disposed and as it transpired, regretfully unfulfilled.
Other Theatre and TV credits:
– Richard III(1975) The Other Place, Stratford
– The Merry Wives of Windsor (1976) RSC Aldwych Theatre, London
– Hayfever(1977) Vienna English Theatre
– Shadow of a Gunman(1978) Nottingham Playhouse
– The Schoolmistress (1979) Manchester Royal Exchange
– Lorna Doone(1976)
– The MacKenzie Affair(1977)
– Joyce in June (1982)
– We’ll Support You Evermore (1985)
– Going Home(1985)
Born Portadown 9th August 1932
Died Hove, E.Sussex 16th October 2009
Urbane and somewhat studied actor, who as a teenager was a member of the Lurgan Play Actors and appeared as the tragic Stephen Quinn in the premiere of Joseph Tomelty’s compelling ‘All Souls’ Night’, at the Group Theatre, Belfast in 1948. He was an intermittent Group Player whilst studying law at Queen’s University, conspicuous in roles such as Pat O’Neill in Patrick Riddell’s family drama ‘The House of Mallon’ in 1952. Two notable appearances in 1953 saw him in Jack Loudan’s ‘A Lock of the General’s Hair’ and Paul Vincent Carroll’s ‘The White Steed’, featuring the indomitable Margaret D’Arcy.
His gold plated apprenticeship in the inspiring atmosphere at the Group continued, with leading roles in the C.K. Munro comedy ‘Diana’ and St. John Ervine’s ‘Martha’, both 1955. By 1956 he had secured his position as a Group regular and that year in Patricia O’Connor’s black comedy ‘Who Saw Her Die’ he was ideally cast as murder suspect Billy Harron and his cuckolded husband Thomas Carstairs in Louis Macneice’s splendid ‘Traitors in Our Way’ 1957, was another role he executed with relish and was arguably the highlight of his group tenure.
1958 proved to be his last year at the theatre and it was marked with controversy, which proved a precursor to the company’s eventual demise. Supposed public sensitivity versus art was tested when playwright Gerard Mclarnon’s scheduled Group presentation ‘The Bonefire’ was compelled to transfer to the Grand Opera House, where, needless to say, the production directed by Tyrone Guthrie and featuring the Group’s finest including Hawthorne, enjoyed positive box office returns, the public it seemed needed no lessons in religious mores. At the end of the summer of 1958 he found he was surplus to requirements at the Group and with six years of exacting repertory experience under his belt, he left for London.
He spent the early sixties working on radio and the unperturbed world of home counties theatre and in 1965 made his first television appearance as Bob Beggs in another Sam Thompson hot potato, ‘Cemented With Love’. Originally set for broadcast in December 1964, the play, after much wrangling with an overly cautious BBC N.Ireland, was finally screened in May 1965, just weeks after Thompson’s untimely death. Following more low key stage work his CV was blighted by superficial roles in two valueless soft porn films, ‘The Wife Swappers’ 1970 and ‘Suburban Wives’ 1971.
His reputation was quickly redeemed though, when in 1972 he was appointed producer of BBC N.Ireland radio drama, holding the post for eighteen months before returning to London, where on his arrival he landed the role of Dr. Peter Mayes in the prison drama series ‘Within These Walls’, which ran from 1974 until 1978. His fortunes took another turn for the better from 1980, with a small role that year in the one season RTE series, ‘Strumpet City’ and in 1981 joined the Irish Theatre Company tour, with Denis Johnston’s, ‘The Scythe and the Sunset’ and Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’.
As a regular performer with Birmingham repertory company, he appeared in their 1981 Edinburgh Festival offering ‘As You Like It’ and in 1982 played English teacher Tony Cairns in Graham Reid’s ‘The Hidden Curriculum’at the Lyric Theatre Belfast. Other theatre appearances at that time were restricted to suburban venues such as the Palace Theatre Watford, where he took prominent roles in ‘Raffles’ 1984 and ‘I Do Not Like Thee Dr. Fell’ 1985.
In 1984 he was part of a commendable cast including James Ellis and Adrian Dunbar, in the television adaptation of Anne Devlin’s ‘The Long March’ and was a stuffy small town hotel manager in Alan Bennett’s sparkling film comedy ‘A Private Function’. He was very much at home as Mr. Henderson, in Bernard McLaverty’s televised play ‘The Daily Woman’ 1986 and the same year at the Manchester Royal Exchange he gave a meticulous performance as Bill Dunham in Robin Glendinning’s Belfast set school drama ‘Mumbo Jumbo’. A Dublin stage outing in 1988 saw him display a remarkable tenderness in Aidan Matthews’ bittersweet ‘Exit Entrance’, an Abbey Theatre production on the Peacock stage and that year’s television output included a very credible cameo as a senior policeman, in writer/director David Wickes’ no more than adequate version of ‘Jack the Ripper’.
He was more visible on stage in the nineties with some quality work for the RSC at the Barbican, most notably ‘Henry IV Parts One and Two’ , ‘ Oedipus At Colonus ‘ both 1992 and as Duncan, King of Scotland in ‘Macbeth’, 1993. Director Jim Sheridan employed him to good effect as an appeal judge in his Belfast set feature film ‘In the Name of the Father ’1993, and in ‘Emma’ 1996 was heroine Gwyneth Paltrow’s emotionally dependent father Mr. Woodhouse, in Douglas McGrath’s acceptable attempt at the Jane Austen classic.
With little or no high profile stage or screen work available to him in the new century, he sustained himself with radio work, a medium he had made his own for over forty years. Denys Hawthorne could never be described as the archetypal Ulster actor, indeed it seemed that even from his earliest years in the profession he was spared any roles deemed lower than middle class.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– Night Must Fall(1986) Greenwich Theatre, London
– Busman’s Honeymoon(1988) Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith
– Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (1995) Abbey Theatre, Dublin
– Uncle Vanya (1995) Guildhall, Derry
– The Human Factor (1979)
– The House of the Spirits (1993).
– Grange Hill (1978)
– Easter 2016 (1982)
– Capital City (1989)
– Dandelion Dead (1994)
Born Southport, Lancashire 24th October 1892
Died Belfast 13th October 1964
* Included due to a lifetime contribution to local stage and screen
Actor/director/writer/musician and enthusiastic standard bearer of Ulster popular culture, whose fondness of all things homespun seemingly knew no bounds. One of six children of a shipping agent father who relocated from England to Larne in the late 1890s, he became entranced from an early age with the music and song of his adopted home. A co-founder of the Belfast Radio Players in 1924 and co-founder of the Belfast Repertory Theatre Company in 1929, he joined the Ulster Literary Theatre Company circa 1920 and had his own play, ‘The Jews Fiddle’, accepted and presented by them at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in 1920.
Hayward, who at almost thirty and hardly a wide-eyed starstruck youth, took to the stage with a confidence that belied his inexperience, appearing as Holy Joe in Charles K.Ayres’ comedy ‘Loaves and Fishes’ at the Grand Opera House Belfast in 1921. Although established at the beginning of the twentieth century, the ULTC was a virtual touring troupe, presenting at a variety of venues, including the Gaiety in Dublin.
During the twenties he was involved in many successful productions at the Gaiety, such as Rutherford Mayne’s ‘Phantoms’ 1923, Dorothea Donn-Byrne’s ‘The Land of the Strangers’, St John Ervine’s ‘The Ship’ and his own ‘Huge Love’, all 1924. His final two years with the ULTC were spent as before, travelling between Belfast and Dublin, although the Grand Opera House was at least assuming a semblance of permanancy, hosting two plays by Gerald McNamara, ‘No Surrender’ 1928, starring the splendid character player J.R.Mageean and ‘Who Fears to Speak’ 1929.
Considering himself now sufficiently proficient, Hayward decided it was time to break with the ULTC and in 1929 formed the Belfast Repertory Theatre Company but this new beginning apart from the name change, would in effect experience a familiar theatrical lifestyle of homelessness and continuous travel. He immediately imposed a parochially aesthetic raison d’etre, which was to vigorously promote the works of local writers who espoused distinctly ethnic themes. One such playwright was Sandy Row born Thomas Carnduff, a former Belfast shipyard worker, whose first piece, succinctly entitled ‘Workers’, which had previously been accepted by the ULTC but rejected by the Grand Opera House as a threat to family values, eventually saw light of day at the Abbey in 1932.
Hayward, who directed all four of Carnduff’s plays, took the role of thuggish husband John Waddell, with his then wife Elma as suffering stage wife Susan and had a starring role in another of the writer’s common man studies, ‘Machinery’, this time set in a Shankill Road weaving mill, which opened at the Abbey in 1933. In 1934 at the Empire Theatre Belfast, in arguably the most powerful of Carnduff’s social observations, ‘Traitors’, a story of life on the margins in a grim inner city Belfast, Hayward, with just a hint of nepotism, cast himself as lead and his son Noel as a newspaper boy. ‘Castlereagh’, Carnduff’s final work under the auspices of the Belfast Repertory Theatre Company, was an unequivocal shift from his earlier belt and braces trilogy. Set in an eighteenth century Ulster of power and privilege, it opened at the Empire in January 1935, with both Haywards leading the way as Lord and Lady Castlereagh.
A relatively brief but rewarding film career began in 1935 when he was offered the role of the Earl Of Cameron in writer/director Donovan Pedelty’s cut price historical feature, ‘Flame in the Heather’, notable only for it’s affirmation as the first Scottish talkie. This was followed by ‘The Luck of the Irish’ 1935, based on a novel by Victor Haddick and directed again by Pedelty, it was legitimately marketed as Northern Ireland’s first feature film and played to enthusiastic audiences throughout it’s run at the Imperial Cinema Belfast in December 1935. Pedelty’s own company Crusade Films took control of their third film together, an adaptation of James McGregor Douglas’ comedy play ‘The Early Bird’ 1936, which Hayward, as actor and producer had presented at the Empire in January 1936. This film proved as popular as the earlier ‘The Luck of the Irish’ and with the same year release of Oswald Mitchell’s musical comedy Shipmates’, Hayward’s parallel singing career, now developing at a fast rate, was boosted by a recording contract with Decca Records.
In the quirky romantic comedy ‘Irish and Proud of It’, adapted from a story by Dorothea Donn-Byrne and co-starring English starlet Dinah Sheridan, Hayward appeared for the last time in a Pedelty managed quota film. Indeed his short mid thirties screen excursion was brought to a conclusion with his own creation, ‘Devil’s Rock’ 1938, a musical drama in which he resurrected his ‘The Luck of the Irish’ hero Sam Mulhearn, who meandered his way through a plot containing all the usual ingredients of singing, dancing and unbridled community spirit.1938 also marked the end of the Belfast Repertory Theatre Company, a consequence of Hayward’s myriad of interests and as in the case of the ULTC, an inability to secure a definable residence. He continued with his increasingly popular singing career into the forties and fifties, receiving a monumental commendation in 1952, when his composition ‘The Humour Is On Me Now’, featured on the soundtrack of John Ford’s fabled ‘The Quiet Man’, a much prized credit which gave him at least a glimpse of immortality.
He made just one further screen appearance, taking a small and very brief role as a Victualling Officer, in director Roy Ward Baker’s outstanding telling of the Titanic disaster, ‘A Night to Remember’ 1958. Richard Hayward’s name is now largely forgotten but during his watershed decade, the thirties, he cut a considerable figure in all media. As an actor his style is permanently locked in the period and milieu, however his personality was such that a genre, peculiar only to the North East region of Ireland, thrived for an ephemeral period on screen.
He died as a result of injuries sustained in a road accident outside Ballymena in October 1964.
Other Theatre credits:
– Missing Links (1925) Gaiety Theatre, Dublin
Born Motherwell, Scotland 29th January 1929
Died Belfast 23rd December 1997
* Included due to a lifetime contribution to local stage and screen
Reputable stage actor, a member of the Ulster Group Players during the final years, first appearing in two 1956 productions, as Mary Harrow in Patricia O’Connor’s ‘Who Saw Her Die’ and Patrick J.McLaughlin’s ‘Ill Fares the Land’, the latter with Group giants Elizabeth Begley and JG.Devlin.
She made many more appearances on the Group stage in the late fifties including, ‘The Mustard Seed’ 1957 and another Patricia O’Connor piece, ‘The Sparrows Fall’ 1959. Following the well documented impasse and eventual implosion at the Group in 1959, she found work with the Arts Theatre Belfast, appearing in Tennessee Williams’ ‘Orpheus Descending’, an untypical if not ambitious inaugural production at the new Botanic Avenue site in 1959. During the sixties she became a Sam Cree stalwart in the plethora of farces presented there, showing a fine comedic line in such pulp fare as ‘Second Honeymoon’ 1962, ‘For Love or Money’ 1963 and a ‘Carry On’ inspired ‘Stop it Nurse’ 1968.
Her television debut was a low key appearance in an ITV ‘Play of the Week’, entitled ‘The Search Party’ 1960 and in 1965 took the role of Bridget Byrne in Sam Thompson’s televised play ‘Cemented With Love’, which following the furore kicked up with his earlier ‘Over the Bridge’, was denied a screening for almost a year, when yet again his socialist conscience collided with an entrenched and twitchy local establishment. More guest roles on television in the remainder of the sixties was followed by a return to legitimate theatre, appearing at the Lyric Belfast in Patrick Galvin’s ‘Nightfall to Belfast’ 1973 and in 1975 she undertook a tour with the Irish Theatre Company, in David French’s ‘Leaving Home’ and the now obscure ‘Out of Town’.
In a surprisingly late first film role, in a perfectly nuanced cameo, she played Aunt Marjorie in Bill Miskelly’s West Belfast set ‘The End of the World Man’ 1985 and for the next ten years made infrequent but selective appearances in theatre. This late flourish included important roles in Michael Harding’s ‘Strawboys’ at the Abbey 1987, Frank McGuinness’ ‘Factory Girls’ for the Druid in Galway, ‘Peer Gynt’ at the Gate Dublin, both 1988 and Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’ at the Abbey in 1989. A third appearance at the Abbey in 1990 was made to measure, producing a comfortable performance as maiden aunt Hannah Hawke in Sebastian Barry’s intricate late 19th century, South West Cork set ‘ Prayers of Sherkin ‘.
An ambition was realised in 1994, when she took to the RSC stage, playing the significant part of matriarch Rose Flynn, in the premiere of Anne Devlin’s comic tragedy ‘After Easter’, presented at The Other Place in Stratford. On television in 1996 she was faultless as Amanda Burton’s mother, Beryl, in four episodes of the drama series ‘Silent Witness’ and in what proved to be her last screen appearance, was offered a small role in director Roger Michell’s troubles based film drama, ‘ Titanic Town’ 1998.
Although Doreen Hepburn missed a large part of the Group’s most productive years, she will always be remembered in the roll call of names associated with the relatively short lived but iconic theatre.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– The Far Off Hills (1957) Group Theatre, Belfast
– Strictly for the Birds(1963) Arts Theatre, Belfast
– Hedda Gabler(1991) Playhouse Theatre, London
– The Broken Heart(1995) RSC The Pit, London
– The Cripple of Inishmaan (1996) NT Cottesloe Theatre, London
– Da (1988)
– The Playboys (1992)
– The Borderers (1970)
– Mr Singh, My Heart’s Delight(1974)
– My Dear Palestrina(1980)
– Phonefun Limited (1982)
Born Belfast 15th May 1951
Died Coleraine 29th November 2008
Unflappable, localised stage actor, whose career highpoints were largely confined to that medium and in retrospect somewhat unnecessarily. An early experience on the legitimate stage, whilst still a schoolboy, offered him the opportunity to test himself in multiple roles in ‘The Tragedy of King Richard II’, staged at the old Lyric Theatre in Derryvolgie Avenue, Belfast in 1967. After a three year course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the only meaningful work he could muster was a three month stint with the Belgrade Theatre Company in Coventry. Returning home in 1973, he made his professional stage debut in September of that year in the Lyric’s production of Shaw’s ‘Saint Joan’ and shortly afterwards crossed town to take the role of Jesus, in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at the Arts Theatre.
In his early years he appeared in Lyric productions such as ‘Macbeth’ 1973 and two Patrick Galvin plays, ‘The Last Burning’ 1974 and ‘We Do It For Love’ 1975. He spent the remainder of the seventies working between both Belfast theatres and following his role as Charlie (now) in Hugh Leonard’s ‘Da’ at the Arts in1981, he made his first television appearance as UDA leader John Fletcher, in Graham Reid’s ‘Too Late to Talk to Billy’ 1982. With him now ensconced as a safe pair of hands, he found stage work readily available and was in most of the local repertory productions throughout the eighties and included two noteworthy performances at the Lyric, in ‘Northern Star’ 1984 and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ 1985. That year also saw him as former IRA man Malachy, in Anne Devlin’s combustible drama, ‘ Ourselves Alone ‘, presented first at the Playhouse Studio, Liverpool and later at the Royal Court, London. He also celebrated his film debut at this time with top billing, playing Johnson in director Bill Miskelly’s West Belfast set ‘The End of the World Man’, which also marked the first big screen appearances of several Ulster born actors.
With his name now seemingly enshrined on the credit lists of most the local fare available to him, employment, at least for the foreseeable future was guaranteed, and indeed this state of well-being was consolidated with principle roles in some praiseworthy productions towards the end of the decade. At the Lyric he played Tommy Doran in Robin Glendinning’s welcome departure from politically slanted themes, ‘Culture Vultures’ 1988 and the unbending Unionist politician Jack, in Christina Reid’s absorbing drama, ‘The Belle of Belfast City’ 1989.
Work beyond the confines of theatre was frustratingly scarce in the nineties, with the imbalance only to a moderate extent corrected, with an appearance in the television adaptation of Graham Reid’s ‘Life After Life’ 1995 and a small role in Jim Sheridan’s feature film ‘The Boxer’ 1997, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the chief protagonist Danny Flynn. On stage he was still very much in demand, expending his usual energy, sometimes a little further afield than Belfast, with strong roles in Jim Nolan’s ‘The Guernica Hotel’, at the Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford 1994 and Joseph Crilly’s ‘Second Hand Thunder’ at the Playhouse Derry in 1998.
He did have a comparatively rewarding period from 2000, with more Lyric appearances in ‘The Butterfly of Killybegs’ 2000, Marie Jones’ ‘The Blind Fiddler’ 2003 and guest roles in two television comedy series, ‘I Fought the Law’ and ‘Pulling Moves’, both 2003. At the Down Arts Centre in 2007 he was part of an exceptional cast, assembled for the premiere and subsequent Irish tour of Big Telly Theatre Company’s production of ‘Bog People’, a series of playlets based on the ‘Bog Poems’ of Seamus Heaney.
John Hewitt’s career was not so much one of missed opportunities, but cocooned within the laager of Ulster repertory theatre, he found little or no work on a grander stage and on screen could not reach beyond the stock Irish product. However he was certainly capable
of much more testing projects further afield, had he grasped the nettle all those years ago.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– Horseman Pass By (1985) Lyric Theatre, Belfast
– Criminal Genius (1999) Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast
– Fire At Magilligan (1984)
– We’ll Support You Evermore (1985)
– Four Days in July (1985)
– Henri (1994)
– Cinderella (2008)
Born Ballycastle 24th November 1964
Engaging, spirited and avowed stage player, a former Ulster Youth Theatre and Guildhall School Of Music And Drama student, who reached heady heights wih his scintillating performance as Charlie Conlon, in Marie Jones’ outstanding comedy play ‘Stones in His Pockets’. His television debut, uncredited in an episode of ‘Boon’ 1988, was followed in 1989 by two stage appearances at the Arts Theatre Belfast, in Moliere’s ‘The School for Wives’ and Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.
His television work in the early nineties included roles in the series ‘Medics’ 1990, ‘Blue Heaven’, written by and starring Frank Skinner and the Dennis Waterman comedy ‘On The Up’, both 1992. In 1993 he appeared as the Headmaster in Dubbeljoint’s production of Marie Jones’ ‘The Government Inspector’, an adaptation of the Gogol classic, presented at the Theatre On The Rock in West Belfast and in 1994 made his big screen entrance as Michael, in Ronan Bennett’s ‘A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’. Another Jones/Dubbeljoint project in the spring of 1996, saw him at the Grand Opera House in Belfast in the comedy fantasy ‘Eddie Bottom’s Dream’ and at the Theatre on the Rock, during the West Belfast Festival in the summer of that year, played Charlie for the first time in the original working of ‘Stones in His Pockets’.
For the remainder of the nineties he worked exclusively in theatre, with some noteworthy performances in productions such as Andrew Hinds’ ‘The Starving’, at the Crypt Arts Centre Dublin in 1998 and his now celebrated Charlie Conlon, in the re-worked version of ‘Stones in His Pockets’, at the Lyric Theatre Belfast 1999. Following rave reviews during it’s London run at the New Ambassadors and Duke Of Yorks in 2000, culminating with a deserved Olivier Award, both he and fellow cast member Sean Campion made their Broadway debuts in the play, which opened to great critical acclaim at the John Golden Theatre in 2001. In 2002 he appeared with Adrian Dunbar in Tom Murphy’s ‘Conversations on a Homecoming’, a Lyric Theatre producton presented at the Gaiety during the Dublin Theatre Festival and had a significant co-starring role in the television version of the 1939 tear jerker, ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’.
He saw his stock rise further in 2005, with his exceptional performance at the Theatre Royal London, as cross dressing director Roger DeBris, in Mel Brooks manic masterwork ‘The Producers’, for whch he won his second Olivier Award. At the Trafalgar Studios London later that year, he played Petesy in Owen McCafferty’s bittersweet comedy, ‘Shoot the Crow’ and in 2006/7 conjured up more delights, with his roles as Ivan in Conor McPherson’s ‘The Seafarer’, a National Theatre production at the Cottesloe in 2006, transferring to the Booth Theatre New York in December 2007 and Hamm in Beckett’s ‘Endgame’ at Belfast’s Waterfront, 2007.
From 2000, for obvious reasons his screen persona has been neglected, with the role of Jennifer Saunders’ husband Jared, in the one off comedy series ‘The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle’, the only high profile contribution he made in what was the most theatre driven period of his career. He did however enjoy a sustained spell on screen in 2009, appearing as the dog loving Dublin hard-man Russ in director Ian Fitzgibbon’s action comedy ‘ Perrier’s Bounty ‘ and as the braggart Parolles in ‘ All’s Well That Ends Well ‘, a live television broadcast from the National Theatre’s Olivier Stage, directed by Marianne Elliott. Back at the National in 2010, this time on the Lyttleton Stage, he was a marvellously duplicitous Lieutenant Shervinsky in Mikhail Bulgakov’s little seen Ukranian war drama ‘ The White Guard ‘, a perfectly structured production which deservedly won the Olivier Best Director Award for Howard Davies.
A year later in the lavish HBO series ‘ Game of Thrones ‘, based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga and filmed in part at the Paint Hall Studio in Belfast, he took the role of Varys, Master Of Whispers working alongside a number of Ulster actors including Ian McElhinney and Michelle Fairley. An effortless performance in the title role of Brian Friel’s minimalist adaptation of ‘Uncle Vanya’ at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2012, was followed by his ebullient senior lecturer, Henry, opposite Rowan Atkinson’s St John Quartermaine, in Simon Gray’s bittersweet ‘Quartermaine’s Terms’, presented at Wyndham’s Theatre, London in 2013. Screen projects dominated from 2014 and included writer/director Matthew Butler Hart’s thriller ‘Two Down’ 2014, a sizeable role as MI6 head Sir Ian Woodhead, in the final episode of ‘Foyle’s War’ and was Sergeant Upton in the biographical mini-series ‘Arthur & George’ , both 2015.
Conleth Hill, given the quality role offers, could certainly be as potent on screen as he is on stage, where he continues to excel across the theatrical spectrum.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– The Iceman Cometh (1990) Lyric Theatre, Belfast
– Shining Souls(1997) Old Vic, London
– After Darwin (2003) Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast
– Democracy (2004) Wyndhams Theatre, London
– Philistines (2007) NT Lyttleton Theatre, London
– The Home Place (2009) Grand Opera House, Belfast
– Whatever Works(2009)
– Shooting for Socrates(2014)
– Meaningful Sex (2000)
– TV To Go (2001)
Born Belfast 9th February 1953
Austere but gifted leading actor, who following an aborted law course at Queens University, Belfast, enrolled at RADA and after graduating in 1976, went first to Glasgow Citizens Theatre , where his apprenticeship embraced the full range of provincial theatre, from pantomime to Shakespeare. His Christmas 1976 debut at the Citizens was a little less than authoritative, playing the back end of a horse in ‘Cinderella’, although he did escape with some dignity in his other role as a courtier.
In 1977/78 he made many appearances with the Glasgow company and included prominent roles in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, Noel Coward’s ‘Semi-Monde, as McLeavy in Joe Orton’s ‘Loot’, all 1977 and ‘The Threepenny Opera’ 1978. He returned to Belfast in 1978 for a small role in ‘Equus’ at the Lyric and was back the following year for a short season as solicitor Philip Hill, in Brian Clark’s ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway’ and as Derek the teddy boy in Mary O’Malley’s runaway hit, ‘Once a Catholic’. He continued his stage education with the Citizens into the early eighties, taking significant roles in Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’, ‘Don Juan’, both 1980, ‘Madame Louise’ 1981 and Sean O’Casey’s ‘Red Roses for Me’ 1982. In 1981 he made his hesitant film debut, cast as Lot in John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ but was to find any potential screen career deferred for a further eight years, with the exception of a minor role in the television adaptation of Anne Devlin’s ‘The Long March’ 1984.
During the mid to late eighties his theatre output was phenomenal, spending 1983 with the Citizens and included starring roles in weighty productions such as ‘The Merchant of Venice’, ‘Arms and the Man’ and ‘Juno and the Paycock’. In the late spring of 1983, in another visit to the Lyric in Belfast, he appeared as Cathal Dillon in Jennifer Johnston’s ‘Indian Summer’ and was in the cast of two Field Day productions, ‘The Riot Act’ and ‘Hightime’, presented at the Guildhall Derry in 1984. With no distractions other than theatre, his 1985 schedule amounted to no less than seven plays, highlights of which were his appearances in Galway with the Druid Theatre Company, as Giovanni in John Ford’s ‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore’ and Jack Clitheroe in ‘The Importance 0f Being Earnest’. At the Hampstead Theatre in 1986 he was inch perfect as George Anderson, in Frank McGuinness’s ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme’ and celebrated his tenth year as a stage actor, with an extensive world tour in 1987, as Ashwattaman in Peter Brook’s epic ‘The Mahabharata’.
In his last year as an exclusive theatre performer, he rubber stamped his ability with a sterling performance in the title role of Jon Pope’s contemporary production of ‘Richard III’, at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre in 1988. His reintroduction to the screen was a straightforward reprise of his stage role in the television mini series ‘The Mahabharata’ 1989, followed the same year by Peter Greenaway’s acclaimed but peculiar feature film ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Lover’. In director Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s Irish produced ‘December Bride’ 1990, he played Frank Echlin, one of two farming brothers on the Ards Peninsula in the early 20th century. The film, which also starred Donal McCann as elder brother Hamilton and Saskia Reeves as the housekeeper/lover of both, was a brilliantly observed study of life within a close knit, rural Presbyterian community.
Between 1990 and 1993 he made many appearances with the RSC, which included seasons at Stratford 1990, London 1991 and a 1992/93 regional and small scale world tour in the title role of Sam Mendes’ ‘Richard III. His early nineties screen work was largely confined to guest starring roles in crime thrillers but did include a memorable performance as Brian Keenan, in the television adaptation of Bernard MacLaverty’s ‘Hostages’ 1993. His film career eventually found a higher gear from 1995 and included a co-starring role in Pat O’Connor’s ‘Circle of Friends’ and his breakthrough part as Captain Wentworth, in a superb production of Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’, both 1995.
Other big screen highlights during the nineties were ‘Mary O’Reilly and ‘Some Mother’s Son’ in 1996 and Roger Michell’s Belfast set ‘Titanic Town’ 1998, starring a credible Julie Walters, sporting a more than acceptable local accent. He even found time for some stage work, taking the role of Larry in Patrick Marber’s ‘Closer’, first at the National Theatre in 1997 and two years later at the Music Box Theatre in New York.
From 2000 the diversity of his screen roles bordered on the extraordinary, cutting a swathe across the genres, he was Russian President Nemerov in ‘The Sum of All Fears’ 2002, Dublin gangster John Traynor in ‘Veronica Guerin’, Helen Mirren’s husband Rod Harper, in the comedy/drama ‘Calender Girls’, both 2003 and the same year on television played Michael Henchard in the ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’. A co-starring role in director Joel Schumacher’s watchable ‘The Phantom 0f the Opera’ in 2004, was followed by his imposing Julius Caesar, in HBO’s internationally successful two season series, ‘Rome’ 2005/2007.
In 2005 Stephen Spielberg cast him as ex Mossad operative Carl, in his account of the 1972 Munich Olympics tragedy, ‘Munich’ and in 2006 he played an FBI agent in Michael Mann’s big screen version of his popular late eighties television series, ‘Miami Vice’. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Academy Award winning ‘There Will Be Blood’ 2007, gave him further Hollywood exposure, with the role of Daniel Day- Lewis’ business partner, Fletcher Hamilton, a performance unfortunately overshadowed by Day- Lewis’s remarkable interpretation of his character, Daniel Plainview.
His busy schedule continued with a glut of film work and a reprise of his 2008 television role as unyielding DCI James Langton, in Lynda La Plante’s taut and cogent mini-series ‘Above Suspicion’, 2010. Most notable among many film appearances at this time, were his haunted widower David, in writer/director Conor McPherson’s coastal, rural Irish set ‘The Eclipse’, 2009 and as yet another ex -Mossad agent in director John Madden’s political thriller ‘The Debt’, 2011. At the Richard Rodger’s Theatre, New York in 2012, director Rob Ashford cast him in the celebrated and testing role of Big Daddy, in an exemplary revival of Tennessee Williams’ great American drama, ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, ably supported by Scarlett Johansson as the despairing, frustrated Maggie.
A year later in HBO”s all conquering fantasy drama series, ‘Game of Thrones’, he played the doomed King-Beyond-the Wall, Mance Rayder and at the Donmar Warehouse, London the same year, he was a commanding presence as the undiscriminating Tommy, in Conor McPherson’s trenchant drama, ‘The Night Alive’. On the big screen during 2013/15, he was less fortunate, although the mixed bag did produce a couple of decent performances. In John Banville’s soul searching, ‘The Sea’ in 2013, he was faultless as the grieving Max Morden and in writer/director Rodrigo Garcia’s biblical exposition, ‘Last Days in the Desert’, played Father, in a cast headed by Ewan McGregor as Jesus/ Devil, released in 2015.
His work in theatre during this time was met with conflicting reviews and included central parts in Mark O’Rawe’s family tragedy, ‘Our Few and Evil Days’ at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 2014 and at the Barbican, London, the following year, was Claudius, to Benedict Cumberbatch’s eponymous hero, in director Lyndsey Turner’s much hyped adaptation of ‘Hamlet’.
Despite his overt solemnity, Ciaran Hinds has become a perceptive stage and screen player, regularly delivering high value performances in a wide variety of roles.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– The Seagull(1978) Glasgow Citizens Theatre
– Krieg (1981) Project Arts Centre, Dublin
– White Devil (1984) Greenwich Theatre, London
– The Cuchullain Cycle (1982) Abbey Theatre, Dublin
– Edward II (1990) RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford
– Assassins(1992) Donmar Warehouse, London
– Machinal(1993) NT Lyttleton, London
– The Seafarer (2007) Booth Theatre, New York
– The Lost Son (1999)
– Road to Perdition (2002)
– The Statement (2003)
– Stop-Loss (2008)
– Life During Wartime(2009)
– The Rite(2011)
– Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy(2011)
– The Woman in Black(2012)
– Bleed for This(2015)
– Hitman: Agent 47(2015)
– Yellowbacks (1990)
– Prime Suspect 3 (1993)
– The Sleeper (2000)
– Above Suspicion (2008)
– Political Animals(2012)
Born Larne 14th April 1917
Died London 13th November 1998
Elegant, graceful, queen of poise, who was given opportunities early in her professional life and had been to Hollywood and back before she was twenty years old. After two periods at RADA, the first as a young girl and a brief dalliance with ballet, she made her uncredited film debut in Michael Powell’s ‘His Lordship’ 1932 and landed her first professional stage role a few months later, when aged fifteen she played Gracie, in the operetta ‘Ball at the Savoy’ at Drury Lane in 1933.
After a run of routine British melodramas, in which her ingenue tag, despite her tender years, was becoming decidedly worn, she was offered a contract with Universal and left for the USA in 1934. Her big screen Hollywood entrance was as Mimi, in writer Jean Bart’s clumsily titled drama ‘The Man Who Reclaimed His Head’ 1934, although she did shoot some scenes earlier that year in director Stuart Walker’s original version of ‘Great Expectations’, which were subsequently deleted.
During her two years in Hollywood she managed at least a couple of box office successes, with co- starring roles in ‘Mystery of Edwin Drood’ and James Whales’ ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, both 1935. Following Universal’s take over by Columbia and the inevitable contractual wrangles, she returned to England in 1936 and almost immediately went to work on ‘Secret of Stamboul’, which starred the rising young male lead James Mason. She worked without interruption on screen throughout the remainder of the thirties, most notably in ‘Jump for Glory’ 1937 but nevertheless failed to make any significant progress as a serious leading lady. She was more fortunate in the forties, indeed her work in the early part of the decade was instrumental in creating the refined feminine persona she purposefully assumed until the end of her career. One of her greatest wishes was realized in David Lean’s 1946 cinema triumph ‘Great Expectations’, when she was asked to play the adult Estella, a part it seems Dickens wrote especially with her in mind. The same year, in director Compton Bennett’s adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘The Years Between’, she again played a tailor made role, that of Diane Wentworth, wife of MP Michael Redgrave, who while on active war duty, is reported missing, presumed dead, she is duly elected to his seat but in an emotional ending , he returns a hero.
In 1949 she took another comfortable role, playing Edith, in Ealing Studios meticulously crafted ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’, with virtuoso playing from the film’s leading actors, Dennis Price and the multi faceted Alec Guinness. Her own contribution was not without praise, giving a delightfully mannered performance, which introduced her, albeit belatedly, to the complex world of black comedy. A starring role with John Mills, in an adaptation of DH.Lawrence’s short story ‘The Rocking Horse Winner’ 1950, gave her a confident start to the new decade but with the exception of director Ronald Neame’s period comedy, ‘The Card’ 1952, cast again with Alec Guinness, her final years in the industry consisted of unmemorable roles in a string of British cardboard dramas. She was however offered a final fling on stage, with the role of Anna, opposite Herbert Lom’s King, in an acclaimed production of ‘The King and I’ at Drury Lane in 1953. Due to the social demands of her second marriage to Conservative MP John Profumo, she made her screen exit in writer/director Rene Clement’s ‘Knave of Hearts’ 1954, a strangely out of time sex comedy, perhaps not the last hurrah she would have wished for.
It could be argued that Valerie Hobson had much more to offer and indeed her brushes with comedy uncovered solid evidence in support of such reasoning.
Other Film credits:
– Q Planes (1939)
– Atlantic Ferry (1941)
– Blanche Fury (1947)
– The Small Voice (1948)
– The Voice Of Merrill (1952)
Born Lisburn 30th April 1955
Genial and robust multi- purpose player, a former musician in the late seventies, who first appeared as a professional actor as Shane O’Neill, in the Ulster Actors production of ‘The Queen’s O’Neill’, presented at the Arts Theatre Belfast in 1980. He was on much safer ground the following year at the same venue in the musical nostalgia trip ‘The Rockin Fifties’ and continued his learning curve at the Arts, in George Shiels’ minor classic ‘The Passing Day’ 1981. He was now active in both Belfast theatres, with appearances at the Lyric in Martin Lynch’s ‘The Interrogation Of Ambrose Fogarty’ and at the Arts in the whimsical ‘The Heart’s A Wonder’, a musical version of ‘The Playboy of the Western World’, both 1982.
He became a regular with the Ulster Actors Company, then in residence at the Arts, appearing in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, ‘Juno and the Paycock’, both 1983 and in the premiere of Paddy Devlin’s no holds barred, ‘Strike’1984. In 1987 he made his television debut as a Spanish sailor, in an episode of the childrens anthology series ‘Dramarama’, entitled ‘Undertow of the Armada’ and followed this with a minor role in the series ‘Foreign Bodies’, also 1987. After a dormant period in theatre, he reappeared at the Ardhowen Theatre Enniskillen in Marie Jones’ ‘Hang All The Harpers’ 1991 and made his big screen entrance, perfectly cast as Jake, in the nasty paramilitary driven feature, ‘Nothing Personal’ 1995. A year later in arguably his career highpoint, he appeared in the Academy Award nominated film short, ‘Dance Lexie Dance’, as Lexie the single parent of ten year old dance obsessed Laura, which was a Raw Nerve Productions project directed by Tim Loane.
His characterization of the numbskull paramilitary Big Mervyn, in the 1998 television comedy series ‘Give My Head Peace’, was a million laughs away from his psychopathic roles in the aforementioned ‘Nothing Personal’ and ‘Resurrection Man’ 1998, in which he played a cerebrally challenged strong arm dupe, to Stuart Townsend’s violent, scheming bigot, Victor. 1998 was by far his most prolific year on screen, with assorted credits in five films, the best of which were ‘Titanic Town’ and Colin Bateman’s successful black comedy ‘Divorcing Jack’, which starred David Thewlis and featured a brilliant cameo by Bronagh Gallagher as a Belfast taxi driver. Following this glut of film work, he experienced a period of relative inactivity, until further appearances in ‘Give My Head Peace’ 2001, minor roles in writer Ronan Bennett’s mini series ‘Rebel Heart’, 2001 and the film adaptation of Spike Milligan’s ‘Puckoon’ 2002, reignited his low profile screen career.
He made a confident return to Befast theatre, with a trademark performance as Teach, in David Mamet’s study of failed serial opportunists, ‘American Buffalo’ at the Lyric in 2002 and took a prominent role in Marie Jones’ melodrama, ‘The Blind Fiddler’ at the Grand Opera House in 2004. In Terry Loane’s directorial debut ‘Mickybo And Me’ 2004, a faithful adaptation of Owen McCafferty’s play, he was once again in the lower reaches of the credits, in a cast dominated by local actors, Ciaran Hinds, Adrian Dunbar and Susan Lynch.
After another quiet spell, which involved some inconsequential television appearances, he was offered a low key role in Richard Attenborough’s locally shot, ‘Closing the Ring’ 2007, lost in a heavyweight cast headed by Shirley Maclaine, Christopher Plummer and Pete Postlethwaite. In another low profile credit in 2011, he played Addam Marbrand in HBO’s hugely successful series ‘Game of Thrones’, but was more fortunate as the grieving Ian Kay, father of murder victim Sarah, in the first series of Allan Cubitt’s psychological crime drama ‘The Fall’, 2013.
BJ. Hogg, with no shortage of optimism, has managed to keep his profile high enough above the parapet to sustain more than a functional work rate for almost thirty years.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– One for the Road (1985) Lyric Theatre, Belfast
– Two (1992) Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast
– The Plough and the Stars(1994) Tour
– The Memory of Water(2003) Lyric Theatre, Belfast
– Titanic Town (1998)
– The Hanging Gale (1995)
– Rough Diamond (2007)
Born Randalstown, Co. Antrim 1983
Winsome and percipient, former Lyric Youth Theatre member from age fourteen, where under the direction of Natalie Hardwick-Gilbert, she appeared in several productions, including Robin F. Brancato’s ‘War of Words’ 1996 and ‘The Fisher King’ 1999.
Then with the Ulster Youth Theatre, she took a feature role as the Wicked Witch of the West in Michael Poynor’s vibrant ‘Wizard of Oz’, staged at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast in 2000. A bold move to London at eighteen brought her a modicum of functional stage work and included a small role in David Williams’ ‘War Crimes Tribunal’, performed at the Soho Theatre in 2002 and later that year at Sadlers Wells’ Lilian Baylis Theatre, she played Min in William Carlos Williams’ prose infused ‘Many Loves’.
Still foraging on the periphery, she displayed her dexterity in Jude Alderson’s ‘In the Jungle of the City’ at the Drill Hall, London and was even more comfortable as teenage mother Jenny in Gary Mitchell’s uncompromising, paramilitary driven ‘Loyal Women’ at the Royal Court, both 2003. Her screen debut in 2004, in director Omar Madha’s television mystery drama ‘Fallen’, offered her little, as did a minor guest role in ‘The Bill’ the same year, but was fortunate in 2005 with three stage appearances and two further television credits.
Jude Alderson cast her again in two plays at the Soho Theatre, as Rose in ‘Waning and Waxing’ and Becca in ‘Tarmacking the Belt’. On television she had a much meatier part as Leah, disinclined partner in a murderous menage-et-trois, in the psychological thriller series ‘Wire in the Blood’. Her big screen introduction came with a low- key role as Kerry, in debutant director Yousaf Ali Khan’s 2006 social drama ‘Almost Adult’ and a made to measure casting in 2007 saw her as the gentle young lover Hero in the Stafford Shakespeare Festival’s open air production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, performed at Stafford Castle.
She was offered another film cameo in 2007, the bigger budgeted musical romantic comedy ‘Across the Universe’, writer/director Julie Taymor’s Beatles homage, with plot, which she co-wrote with Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais. More substantial stage parts followed in 2008/09 and included the violently widowed Lucinda, in Sebastian Barry’s Elizabethan Ireland set ‘Dallas Sweetman’, presented in the nave of Canterbury Cathedral in 2008.
The specially commissioned piece boasted an exemplary cast, with Conleth Hill as the eponymous anti-hero and Brid Brennan as the fervently ethical step-mother Mrs Reddan. Television work in 2009 was frustratingly infrequent, producing only ancilliary involvement, she played eldest sister Carol in director Colin Barr’s biopic Best: His Mother’s Son’ and a guest role in the crime drama series ‘Waking the Dead’. Seemingly more appreciated in theatre, she was recruited for another Sebastian Barry play in 2009, the Co. Wicklow set ‘Tales of Ballycumber’, directed by David Leveaux. In this, her first Abbey Theatre endeavour, she was outstanding as the ghost girl, opposite the venerable Stephen Rea and a splendid Aaron Monaghan. During 2010/12 she continued to impress on stage, most notably as Catrin, the Hen Girl in writer David Greig’s 11th century Scotland, post Macbeth epic, ‘Dunsinane’, which premiered at the Hampstead Theatre, London in 2010.
In 2011 she returned, after fifteen years, to the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, appearing in the Naughton Studio with Dan Gordon in David Harrower’s award winning one-act, two hander, ‘Blackbird’, staged on a fixed set and depicting a disturbing confrontation many years hence of abused child and adult abuser, directed by Emma Jordan, the performances drew wide critical acclaim for both actors. On the National Theatre’s Lyttleton stage in 2013, she was a most credible village girl, Mita in Richard Eyre’s evocative adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s ‘Liola’. Set in Sicily in 1916, it was inspirationally played out with an entire Irish born cast, including Rory Keenan in the title role and the redoubtable Roseleen Linehan.
That same year she enjoyed her highest profile screen credit, albet in a supporting capacity, playing Marion Kay, sister of murder victim Sarah, in Allan Cubitt’s hugely successful crime thriller series ‘The Fall’, shot on location in Belfast and featuring a plethora of local talent. She returned as Marion Kay in the second series of ‘The Fall’ in 2014, but as was the case first time round, insufficient screen time gave her little room to impress. At the Gate Theatre, Dublin in 2015, she was an appealing Gwendolen, in director Patrick Mason’s acclaimed revival of Wilde’s comic masterpiece, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, with able support from Marty Rea’s Jack Worthing J.P and Rory Nolan as Algernon Moncrieff.
Though clearly a dexterous stage player, with an increasing number of leading roles, Lisa Hogg has strangely found an inconsistency in the quality of her film and television work.
Other Theatre and TV credits:
– Pete and Me(2005) New End Theatre, Hampstead
– PAA/Overtime(2009) Arcola Theatre, London
– Scarborough(2010) Ramada Encore
-The Commander: Virus(2005)
-Trial and Retribution(2007)
-A Year of Greater Love(2012)
Tom Howard (Thomas Black)
Born Tyrone 16th June 1885
Died Long Branch, New Jersey 27th February 1955
Lean, tinny voiced actor/comedian who progressed from amateur spots in Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century to burlesque and vaudeville, the Broadway stage, film and radio, in a colourful professional career which spanned fifty years. A partnership with George Shelton lasted almost as long, embracing all media except theatre, although they did appear together in Howard’s Broadway farewell, the musical revue ‘Keep Moving’ at the Forrest Theatre in 1934.
His mainstream career began at the Winter Garden Theatre, New York in 1923 with a supporting role in ‘The Greenwich Village Follies’, featuring child actor Josephine Adair. In 1924 he was credited as a co-writer on the musical ‘Dixie To Broadway’ presented at the Broadhurst Theatre, New York, with leading entertainer Florence Mills heading a cast of all black performers in what was the first such production in the history of Broadway. At the George M. Cohan Theatre on Broadway in 1928, he took a central role as the artless businessman Amos K. Shrewsbury in the long running musical comedy ‘Rain or Shine’, co-written by James Gleason and Maurice Marks.
Two years later and in the infancy of sound, he made his screen debut in director Joseph Santley’s comedy short, ‘Hold Up’, a genre in which in tandem with George Shelton he later flourished. In 1930 he was offered the chance to reprise his role of Amos K. Shrewsbury in Columbia Pictures screen version of the huge Broadway triumph ‘Rain Or Shine’, directed by the fast developing Frank Capra and starring former silent comic actor Louise Fazenda.
The musical content of the original was deleted in favour of outright comedy and was as big a success as the 1928 stage production. That year, again on Broadway, at the Ziegfeld Theatre, he took the role of Holy Joe in Anthony McGuire’s musical comedy ‘Smiles’, headlined by the twinkle- toed Nebraskan siblings Adele and Fred Astaire, a full three years before Fred would make his first screen appearance. His second feature length film, ‘Get That Venus’ 1933, with future Hollywood great Jean Arthur and directed by Arthur Varney, followed his only stage flop, writer Russel Crouse’s ‘The Gang’s All Here’, which ran for a miserable twenty three performances at the Imperial Theatre, New York in 1931.
After his stage appearance with George Shelton in ‘Keep Moving’ in 1934 he was kept busy with radio and film comedy shorts, the best of which were Al Christie’s ‘Time Out’ 1935 and William Watson’s ‘Rail Birds’ 1936.
The pair would work with the Canadian born Christie in the majority of these fillers, produced mainly by the Educational Films Corporation of America. In June 1942 on the Mutual Broadcasting System, MBS, the spoof quiz show ‘It Pays to Be Ignorant’ was first aired on radio. Tom Howard was the intellectually challenged quizmaster general, aided and abetted by the even denser George Shelton, Lulu McConnell and Harry McNaughton with Howard’s daughter Ruth Howell Hoyt as chief scriptwriter and son Thomas as musical arranger.
The show transferred to CBS after two years, running for a further six years until a final switch to NBC, ending in September 1951. Tom Howard’s peculiar brand of comedy sustained him through many cultural changes in America, but in terms of legacy, he would at best be considered as a confined performer who at the very least was a survivor.
Born Belfast 1970
Vivacious and expressive actor/writer, who left Belfast in her mid-teens following appearances, first, as a fourteen year old in director George Schaefer’s docudrama ‘Children in the Crossfire’1984 in which she played Mary, a young West Belfast girl caught in the snare of violence and deprivation during the troubles and as a former resident of the Divis Towers complex, it was truly a case of art imitating life. Her second film, another Belfast set, tight budget second tier feature, Bill Miskelly’s ‘The End of the World Man’ 1985, gave her a further opportunity to play nothing more than herself and less than a year later she was persuaded by the personnel associated with ‘Children in the Crossfire’ to study drama in the US and within a year had taken up the offer and left for California.
In the late eighties she enrolled at the UCLA School of Theatre Film and Television and appeared regularly in university stage productions. It had been almost twelve years since she last appeared on screen, when in 1997 she made her US film debut as Maeve in writer/director Hope Perello’s comedy drama, ‘St. Patrick’s Day’. In 1998 she had two small television roles, which included a brief appearance in the massively successful medical drama series ‘ER’.
Working with small theatre groups in the greater Los Angeles area for several years, she established herself as a reliable character player in such productions as ‘Neverland’ and was a tenable Joan Plowright in ‘Orson’s Shadow’ both 2001.
She marked her first New York stage appearance with a sound performance as Frieda, in Anne Devlin’s acclaimed 1981 IRA hunger strike study, ‘Ourselves Alone’ which was presented at the Producers Club in 2001. Her screen credits between 2002 and 2003 were unremarkable and included a meaningless role in Danny De Vito’s misfiring comedy ‘Duplex’, 2003.
Also that year in what was probably her career highpoint, she opened her autobiographical one woman show entitled ‘Belfast Blues’ at the Black Dahlia in Los Angeles, the piece involved a journey through the 70’s and early 80’s in which she played twenty four characters from her Belfast childhood, in a ninety minute spell of energy and veracity. The production subsequently toured, enjoying marvellous reviews, with performances in New York and London until 2005.
Her big screen breakthrough eventually arrived in 2006, when she landed the substantial role of Marie, Sylvester Stallone’s surrogate daughter in ‘Rocky Balboa’, the latest and surely the last instalment in the career of the almost pensionable pugilist. Another helpful nudge in the right direction was her median casting as Clint Eastwood’s daughter-in-law Karen Kowalski, in his homage to one-man neighbourhood watch schemes, ‘ Gran Torino ‘ 2008, which was followed by a starring role in director Carol Moore’s rural Irish drama, ‘ Pumpgirl ‘ 2009.
On stage that same year at the Elmwood Hall, Belfast, in the Lyric Theatre’s production of Martin McDonagh’s darkly comic ‘ The Beauty Queen of Leenane ‘, she gave a nicely judged performance as the frustrated and repressed daughter Maureen Folan, opposite an exacting and narcissistic mother Mag, played by the award winning Stella McCusker. She then embarked on a run of guest appearances in an assortment of television series during 2010, the most noteworthy of which were the legal drama, ‘ The Good Wife ‘ and the wickedly brusque ‘ Nurse Jackie ‘.
In a quick return to theatre she appeared both Off and On-Broadway, receiving positive notices for her title role performance in Brian Friel’s compelling, ‘ Molly Sweeney ‘ at the Irish Repertory Theatre in January 2011 . A few months later at the Music Box Theatre she took the role of long suffering girlfriend and mother, Dawn, in the Royal Court’s monumentally successful ‘ Jerusalem ‘, written by Jez Butterworth and starring a sublime Mark Rylance as the reckless Johnny ‘ Rooster ‘ Byron.
In 2012 she was Sister Marthe, in director Jamie Lloyd’s re-working of Edmond Rostand’s ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’, performed at the Roundabout Theatre, New York and starring Douglas Hodge as the titular hero. Then followed guest appearances in the television series ‘Blue Bloods’ in 2013 and Jon Bokenkamp’s ‘The Blacklist’ 2014. A small supporting role in writer/director Oren Moverman’s social drama ‘Time Out of Mind’ in 2014, was not a forward step, but had better luck with the role of Mrs Evans, in writer Gregg Hurwitz’s family drama, ‘The Book of Henry in 2016.
Geraldine Hughes has travelled a meandering road since her quasi child star beginnings and struggled in the intervening years to establish a conclusive course and so define her professional profile.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– Translations (2006) McCarter Theatre, New York
– Dead Souls(2012)
– The Guardian (2002)
– Murder She Wrote (2003)
– Law&Order: Special Victims Unit(2007)
– Law&Order: Criminal Intent(2010)
Born Strabane 17th March 1967
Dexterous, prolific stage actor and RADA graduate, with a somewhat disproportionate screen history, who first appeared in the Academy’s production of Stanley Houghton’s Edwardian melodrama, ‘ Hindle Wakes ‘ in 1987. In that same year he made his television debut as Shields, a young aspiring footballer in Frank McGuinness’ undervalued Belfast set drama, ‘Scout’. Directed by then unknown Danny Boyle and starring the formidable Ray McAnally as, in all but name, Bob Bishop, celebrated Manchester United talent spotter, the cast also included Stephen Rea and a youthful Michael Liebmann. One of his first professional stage appearances, an ancillary role alongside an equally callow Conleth Hill, was in a routine presentation of Moliere’s comedy of manners, ‘The School for Wives’ at the Arts Theatre, Belfast in 1989. His local repertory education was brief and indeed within a year found himself as a junior member of the RSC, appearing in standard classics such as ‘ Edward II ‘ and ‘ Troilus and Cressida’ both at the Swan, Stratford and ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ at the RST, all 1990. Other RSC appearances in the early nineties included the role of Patrico in ‘A Jovial Crew’ at the Swan, as Nicholas Skeres in Peter Whelan’s ‘The School Of Night’ at The Other Place, both 1992 and a delightfully nuanced James Joyce in a revival of Tom Stoppard‘s ‘Travesties’ at the Barbican in 1993.
Television work at this time was minimal, yielding only minor guest roles in the one-off drama series ‘Making News’ 1990 and the enduring ‘London’s Burning’ 1992. In 1994 at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, he was a mesmerising presence as the schizophrenic Ray, in the premiere of Joe Penhall’s acclaimed social drama ‘Some Voices’. In 1995 at Bristol Old Vic he played dual roles as Paul/Dr. Glad in the world premiere of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s ‘The Break of Day’, in repertoire with ‘ Three Sisters, produced by Max Stafford-Clarke’s Out Of Joint Theatre Company. Also that year in Galway, as part of the Druid Theatre’s 21st birthday festivities, he assumed the role of Pato Dooley from the departing Brian F. O’Byrne in Martin McDonagh’s coal black comedy, ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’, featuring Anna Manahan as Mag Folan. Following an ephemeral appearance in an episode of ‘Inspector Morse’ in 1997, he returned to the Swan Theatre, Stratford in 1998 to play Thersites in a revival of Seamus Heaney’s ‘ The Cure at Troy’, an adaptation of Sophocles’ quasi Greek tragedy, ‘Philoctetes’ and in 1999 undertook an RSC tour as the Doctor, in Brian Friel’s translation of Turgenev’s ‘A Month In The Country’. His big screen debut, an also starring credit as Neil in Michael Winterbottom’s domestic drama, ‘With Or Without You’, 1999, set against a Belfast backdrop, was, with one or two exceptions, notable for the paucity of native involvement, particularly in the acting credits. From 2000 stage work flowed at a pace and between 2000/04 he was at least making an effort to balance his CV, with numerous film and television roles, none however of sufficient value to make the elusive breakthrough. In 2000 he guested in an episode of the short-lived crime series ‘In Defence’; in another one-off police drama series he co-starred as D.S.Finch in ‘Lloyd and Hill’, 2001 and a second big screen appearance saw him as IRA kidnapper Mulrune in writer/director Marion Comer’s underrated church v conscience drama ‘Boxed’ 2002
Recruited by the National Theatre in 2000, he proved equal to the task in a number of superior productions that year, including ‘Romeo And Juliet’ and Frank McGuinness’ translation of Ibsen’s masterwork, ‘Peer Gynt’. Away from the National, at the Duke Of York’s in 2002, he played with aplomb, the role of Charlie Conlon, opposite Kieran Lagan in Marie Jones’ all conquering comedy ‘Stones in His Pockets’ and underscored his versatility with a dynamic lead performance in Emil Wolk’s surreal romp ‘Sherlock Holmes in Trouble ‘ presented at the Royal Exchange, Manchester in 2003. Further National Theatre appearances followed in 2004 with decent cast credits in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s family drama ‘The Night Season’ starring Annette Crosbie and as John Prescott/Richard Branson in ‘The Permanent Way’, David Hare’s mordant study on the privatization of British Rail. He was back on the streets of Belfast the same year as Arder in the illogically brief television comedy series ‘Pulling Moves’, writer Pearse Elliott’s sharp and credible observations on the misadventures of a group of West Belfast chancers. He rounded a relatively busy 2004 with a minor role in director Brian Grant’s asinine comedy adventure film ‘Gladiatress’, a knockabout gambol through the environs of Roman Britain.
Another run of high grade stage performances during 2005/07 saw him as Terry Waite in Robin Soan’s ‘Talking to Terrorists’ at the Royal Court in 2005, as Eddie Fox in Charlotte Jones’ dark comedy ‘The Lightning Party’ at the Almeida in 2006 and as Botard in a new translation of Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist play ‘Rhinoceros’, also at the Royal Court in 2007. After a few years off screen he made an inauspicious return in 2008 with a minor guest role in an episode of the shire killing fest ‘Midsomer Murders’, but was soon back on more familiar ground and with the appropriate credit rating in a number of notable theatre productions in 2008/09.
At the Lyric Hammersmith in 2008 he was acutely menacing as McCann, in Harold Pinter’s retrospectively acclaimed ‘The Birthday Party’ and was a worthy Antonio alongside Derek Jacobi’s Malvolio in an excellent ‘Twelfth Night’ at the Donmar Warehouse in 2008/09. At the National in 2009 he played television reporter Declan in Matt Charman’s African set political drama ‘The Observer’ and again at the Donmar Warehouse, was a wonderfully turgid foreign correspondent in Helen Edmundson’s updated version of Pedro De La Barca’s ‘Life Is a Dream’. Further high level stage work from 2012 produced several noteworthy performances and included the title role in writer Adrian Mitchell’s adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s ‘Boris Gudunov’ , an RSC production at the Swan Theatre, Stratford in 2012. In other work on the London stage, he proved effective in multiple characterizations in Alecky Blythe’s ‘Little Revolution’, a potent re-visiting of the 2011 London riots, directed by Joe Hill-Gibbons and presented at the Almeida Theatre in 2014. A year later on the National Theatre’s Olivier stage, he was amusingly ideal as Boniface, the ebullient innkeeper, in George Farquhar’s 18th century comedy ‘The Beaux Stratagem’.
Lloyd Hutchinson will probably never enjoy the level of consistency he has so diligently established on stage, but will be comfortably considered no less an actor regardless of any shortfall in his screen activity.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– The Last Days of Don Juan (1990) RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford
– The Curse of the Starving Class (1991) The Pit, London
– Tamburlaine The Great -Parts One And Two (1993) RSC Barbican, London
– The Playboy of the Western World (1996) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
– Shopping and F***ing (1996) Gielgud Theatre, London
– One For the Road (2001) Ambassadors Theatre, London
– Once in a Lifetime (2006) NT Olivier, London
– Measure for Measure (2010) Almeida Theatre, London
– A Flea in Her Ear(2010) Old Vic, London
– Collaborators(2012) NT Cottesloe/Olivier, London
– A Particle of Dread(Oedipus Variations)(2013) Signature Theatre, New York
– Mrs Henderson Presents (2005)
– Rebel Heart(2001)
– Silent Witness(2014)
Born Belfast 1969
Capable and personable utility player with experience in all media, whose family relocated from Belfast to Detroit during the early years of civil unrest. A graduate of Kalamazoo Arts College Michigan in 1991, he soon found work with avant garde theatre groups such as the reputable Steppenwolf and Lookingglass companies in Chicago. Notable stage appearances there in the nineties included ‘Tales of the Lost Formicans’ at the Strawdog Theatre in 1996 and Eugene Ionesco’s ‘The Killer’ at the Red Orchid in 1997.
That same year he made his film debut as a rookie FBI agent in writer/director Scott Dikker’s shoe-string budget sci-fi comedy, ‘Spaceman’, followed by another minor role in Adrian Fulle’s independently produced ‘Three Days’. His career, although by no means in the fast lane, was at least moving in the right direction and in 1998 he took a more substantial stage role in Laura Eason’s ’28: Pictures of Life in a High Tec World’, a Lookingglass production presented at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
His third big screen appearance in just over a year saw him peripherally cast as Jeff in the thriller ‘Stricken’1998 and in his first television role played John Hula in David Schwimmer’s directorial debut ‘Since You’ve Been Gone, also 1998. From 2000 his screen work has largely been confined to television, but includes guest appearances in many top-rated series, including the long running ‘NYPD Blue’ and the fantasy horror ‘Angel, both 2000.
In 2002 actor/director/writer Stirling Gardner offered him a co-starring role in his ‘Sex and the City’ parody, ‘Opposite Sex and the City’, which although proficiently constructed, failed to realise it’s potential beyond a budget constrained limited release. Following further guest slots on television through 2004/05, one of which was in the acclaimed series ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’, he took a small role in director Michael Bay’s futuristic thriller ‘The Island’ 2005. This was yet another project lacking the necessary financial clout to reach a wider audience and Hutchman it seemed was no closer to the desired breakthrough.
A functional credit rating in Tony Scott’s sci-fi thriller ‘Deja Vu’ in 2006 was followed by a decent guest role in an episode of the Golden Globe winning series ‘Monk’ 2007, starring Tony Shalhoub as the hypocondriacal detective Adrian Monk. He was also active in West Coast theatre, appearing most notably as Walter Hathaway in Buzzworks Theatre Company’s production of Jen Ellison’s 1950’s Chicago set drama ‘Invasion of the Minnesota Normals’, at the Lounge Theatre Hollywood in 2008.
Several appearances as Bud Campbell in the successful television series ‘Madmen’ in 2008 raised his profile a little higher, augmented by a first- rate stage role at the Lillian Theatre Hollywood, where he was tailor-made as Rallis, in writer Mark Roberts’ romantic comedy ‘Rantoul And Die’. Unexceptional and hardly frenetic screen work in a two year period from 2008, saw him make a low-key appearance in director Gabriel Muccino’s presumptuous mystery drama ‘ Seven Pounds ‘ 2008 and two guest roles in the mini-series ‘ Meteor ‘ and the more popular ‘ The Mentalist ‘, both 2009. A return to theatre, albeit suburban, offered him the readymade role of pet shop owner Chester, in a revival of Charles Ludlam’s noir parody, ‘The Artificial Jungle’, presented at the the Lounge Theatre, Los Angeles in 2011. He was then cast as Stan Hammer, in eight episodes of Sean Patrick Murphy’s misfiring comedy series, ‘Poop Notice’, broadcast in 2013 and the same year had an also- supporting credit in writer/director Scott Stewart’s horror thriller ‘Dark Skies’.
Rich Hutchman is a perfect example of a middle order contemporary American actor, squeezing every ounce from his screen roles, regardless of their consequence and finding time to indulge himself in the corporeal world of theatre.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
– The Wager(2007)
– Chicago Hope (1999)
– Phantom Of The Megaplex (2000)
– Bones (2008)
– Law&Order LA(2011)
– Space Hospital(2011)
Born Limavady 1st April 1964
Middle range actor with a big picture face, a Guildhall School of Music and Drama student from 1984/87, who made an early stage appearance in Wynn Wheldon’s ‘Secrets of Cherry on the Run’ at the Riverside Studios Hammersmith in 1983. In the late eighties under the direction of Ian McDiarmid, he appeared in two productions at the Royal Exchange Manchester, ‘Don Juan’ in 1987 and more notably as Iphicrate in a splendid translation of Pierre Marivaux’s one act comedy ‘Slave Island’, 1988.
A year later he made his television debut as Sgt Leigh in an episode of ‘Doctor Who’, played at that time by Sylvester McCoy, first of the two Scottish born actors to assume the celebrated role. During the early to mid nineties he made infrequent television appearances, with small guest roles in series such as the romantic comedy ‘Love Hurts’ 1992, starring Adam Faith and Zoe Wannamaker, ‘Scales of Justice’ and ‘Alleyn Mysteries’, both 1994. He also took another minor role the year before as Philip Dunne in Kevin Connor’s overblown television film ‘Diana: Her True Story’. The period was not altogether forgettable as he found aesthetic respite as Clive in the Theatre Royal Stratford production of Paul Sirett’s ‘Crusade’, a collision of old beliefs set in contemporary Jerusalem.
His resilience was tested again in the remainder of the nineties with a less than exacting work schedule and included decidedly diverse roles in 1996, a guest appearance in Jimmy Nail’s country singer with troubles sequel ,‘Crocodile Shoes 2’ and a competent Soranza in John Ford’s ‘ Tis a Pity She’s a Whore’ at the Northcott Theatre Exeter. His screen activities were then suspended until 1998, when he landed the role, that to date has defined his career. Joining the cast of Phil Redmond’s Liverpool soap ‘Brookside’ as aristo solicitor Nathan Cuddington, gave him regular employment until his departure in 2000 and he was also free to squeeze in other television work, including the anarchic comedy ‘Smack The Pony’ and CI5: The New Professionals’ 1999.
The exposure generated by his ‘Brookside’ tenure yielded nothing of significance and he was surprisingly absent for a considerable length of time from a medium he hoped would deliver much more than it offered. Indeed a full seven years passed before he was glimpsed briefly again in an episode of the student drama fest, ‘Hollyoaks’ 2007. Stage work in 2009 saw him touring in the Francis Durbridge thriller ‘Murder With Love’ and was suitably cast as businessman turned sanctimonious vicar Robert Parry, in Joan Shirley’s ‘The Tart and the Vicars Wife’. Still persevering on stage, he embarked on numerous tours from 2011, appearing that year as Badger in ‘The Wind in the Willows’, as Sam Blaine in another Francis Durbridge drama, ‘Suddenly At Home’ in 2013 and in 2015, in Joe Orton’s final play, ‘What the Butler Saw’, took the role of investigating plod, Sergeant Match. Marcus Hutton’s screen career could be fairly described as functional, despite some relative success in ‘Brookside’, which without supplementation quickly evaporated. He has been comparatively prolific in regional theatre, but a major breakthrough now seems more impracticable than elusive.
Other Theatre, Film and TV credits:
-Naomi(1988) Gate Theatre, Nottinghill, London
– The Scarlet Pimpernel(1991) Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
– Tess Of The Durbervilles(1991) Horseshoe Theatre, Basingstoke
– Portrait of a Murder(2015) Tour
– Table Manners(2015) Tour
– Made in Dagenham(2010)
– Holby City(2011)
– Midsomer Murders(2014)
– Daye’s Work(2015)
Born Derry 1976
Judicious and emphatic actor with a distinctive stage history, who whilst still at Trinity College, appeared in one of the first productions of the newly formed Loose Canon Theatre Company, Dublin, cast in the pivotal role of Castanza in Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean drama ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’ 1996.
Several years before that and aged seventeen, she made her television debut as Judy in RTE’s long running Wicklow set, ‘Glenroe’ in 1993. Following her appearances with Loose Canon she attracted sufficient attention to induce a limited contract with the Abbey Theatre, appearing in three productions during 1997. In the first of these she took the role of the mute daughter, Bridget in Brian Friel’s tragi-comedy ‘Give Me Your Answer Do’, followed by a solid performance in Alex Johnston’s ‘The Melon Farmer’ and at the end of that year was an excellent Clodagh in Tom McIntyre’s nervy drama ‘The Chirpaun’.
Her film debut in 1998 was particularly unmemorable, with a bit part as Maria in writer/director Paul Quinn’s romantic overload ‘This Is My Father’, which at least boasted a sterling cast, headed by Hollywood veteran James Caan. She was also active in her main preserve, with a central role in the 1998 Druid Theatre production of Martin McDonagh’s idiosyncratic ‘The Lonesome West,’ arguably the most graphic of his so called Leenane Trilogy.
Following a successful run in Elizabeth Kuti’s ‘The Whisperers’, first at the Belltable Arts Centre Limerick and then at the Traverse as part of the 1999 Edinburgh Festival, she undertook a concentrated period of work which embraced both stage and screen.
Median roles in two Irish produced comedies, director Aileen Ritchie’s ‘The Closer You Get’ and John Forte’s West Belfast set ‘Mad About Mambo’, both 2000, gave a much needed boost to her inauspicious film career. Another spell at the Abbey during 2000/01 saw her in another mute role, this time as Sarah, again in a Friel play, ‘Translations’ in 2000. A year later she was cast in the title role of director Katie Mitchell’s ‘Iphegenia at Aulis’ and in her best stage performance to date, was superb as the impassioned orphan, Sally, in Billy Roche’s poignant drama ‘On Such as We’.
In 2002, in her first professional assignments in Belfast, she made two appearances on the Lyric stage, another Billy Roche piece, ‘The Cavalcaders’ and in Marie Jones’ counter pantomime ‘Christmas Eve Can Kill You’.
In 2003 at the Town Hall Theatre Galway, she was entirely convincing as the heroine, in Conall Morrison’s contemporary re-working of Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ and later undertook a short tour with the Adrian Dunbar directed ‘Philadelphia Here I Come’, following a laudable opening at the Gaeity Theatre in Dublin.
Her occasional forays on screen were somewhat insubstantial and several years after her Lilliputian watershed in 2000, she again appeared in a subsidiary role, this time as Sharon Gallagher, in writer Paul Greengrass’ acclaimed television docu-drama ‘Omagh’ 2004.
She continued to work out of Dublin in 2005 and among her better efforts was in the B’Spoke Theatre Company’s production of Biljana Srbljanovic’s ‘Family Stories’ at the Project Arts, in which she gave a compelling performance as disturbed child Milena, subsisting in a strife torn Belgrade during the Milosevic era.
A move to London shortly afterwards brought no immediate reward but in 2007 she was able to test her range in a short season with the RSC, presented at the Swan Theatre in Stratford. A supporting role as Lady Macduff, in the Conall Morrison directed ‘Macbeth’ with an outstanding Patrick O’Kane as the doomed General, was followed by her extravagant Oracle, in the stimulating Margaret Attwood inspired ‘The Penelopiad’.
After a five year screen absence, she returned with a median credit as James Nesbitt’s wife Sharon, in Guy Hibbert’s Troubles/atonement themed television film, ‘Five Minutes of Heaven’ 2009. That year also saw her on stage at the Grand Opera House Belfast, taking the role of mill worker Mary Rooney in a revival of Martin Lynch’s emotional docu-drama , ‘Lay Up Your Ends’, first performed by Charabanc Theatre Company at the now defunct Arts Theatre, Belfast in 1983. She was back at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2011, playing Beatrice Behan, opposite Adrian Dunbar’s engrossing Brendan, in a touring production of Janet Behan’s fact/fictional ‘Brendan at the Chelsea’. In 2012, at the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, she was a commendable, worldly-wise, Christine Linde, in Ibsen’s imperishable drama, ‘A Doll’s House’, directed by Gavin Quinn.
Pauline Hutton will perhaps find success more readily on stage rather than through supplementary roles on screen, inequitable maybe but probable nevertheless.
Other Theatre and TV credits:
-Tea Set(2000) Civic Theatre Dublin
-Midden(2001) Playhouse Derry
-Drama at Inish(2005) Abbey Theatre Dublin
-Crestfall (2007) Theatre 503, London
-Dublin Carol(2011) Trafalgar Studios, London
-Tejas Verde(2014) The Mac, Belfast
-Paths to Freedom(2000)