Barry Cassin, Actor, Director, Author – A Tribute

The theatre world is yet again bereft with the loss of the exceptionally talented Barry Cassin aged 92. An actor, director and author, he not only “trod the boards to posture in spotlights” as an inner voice had once told him, but he also directed with great skill and insight. Born in 1924, Barry spurned the option of a career in dentistry and first performed with the ‘Equity Touring Company’ in 1944, being an early member of W.A.A.M.A (the Writers, Actors and Managers Association) and then became a life-long member of Irish Actors Equity. He was also a founding member of the Equity Directors Section. Having toured with Anew McMaster and the Louis Dalton Company, he set up the ‘37 Club’ in Dublin to produce experimental plays. He was also a member of the Radio Eireann Players and continued to broadcast in later years despite having passed his 90th year.

In the 1950s, he ran the Pike Theatre with Nora Lever – Wilfred Bramble being a young member. However, his long and fruitfully directorial partnership with Phyllis Ryan’s ‘Gemini Productions’ was an outstanding artistic triumph. Author John. B. Keane owes much to Barry Cassin’s deft editorial hand, whose professional staging of Keane’s early plays was a masterpiece in enhancing the talents of a good playwright. Barry directed many Irish premieres of international plays including, Albee’s “Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf”, Ayckbourn’s “Relatively Speaking” and “Alfie”, all starring Ray McAnally. In later years, he returned to acting with much aplomb in the Abbey Theatre, The Gaiety and, in many television and feature films. His cameraderie, wit, charm and encyclopaedic knowledge of Irish theatre will be greatly missed. His legacy and legendary character will live on.

Laurence Foster. 15th January 2017

Funeral details for Barry Cassin, RIP:
Reposing at Salmon on Monday 16th January 2017  from 4pm. Removal on Tuesday 17th January 2017 morning to S.S. Peter and Paul’s Church, Balbriggan, arriving for Funeral Mass at 10 o’clock. Burial afterwards in S.S. Peter and Paul’s Cemetery.