Irish Equity meet Arts Council

Irish Equity Executive delegation met with the Arts Council on Friday 26th July re maximising affordable performance and rehearsal spaces. Photo from left to right: Irish Equity Executive members Pádraig Murray (President), Ann Russell and Gerry Lee.

Extension of protection scheme for performing artists welcomed

Following a review of the pilot social protection scheme for writers and visual artists, the Government has announced its extension to professional performing artists. The extension of the scheme will now see the inclusion of actors, musicians, street performers, dancers and other artists whose professional status will be designated by the fact that a minimum of 50%
of their income is generated through their professional work. For the first time these earnings can also include teaching within their profession.

Irish Equity supports this initiative as a positive step forward on the path to recognition of the professional status and value of performing artists in Ireland. However, a broader discussion about the working lives of artists and their capacity to have longevity and dignity in their careers is now needed. The way to truly value artists is to ensure they can make a secure living from their work and that means the development of a basic income scheme for these professionals.

Photo from left to right: Stephen Spence, Equity UK with Padraig Murray and Karan OLoughlin, Irish Equity and Louis Rolston, Equity UK (right), outside Liberty Hall for the recent Equity Ireland/ Equity UK Action Group meeting.

Equity members mourn Karl Shiels

Irish Equity members are saddened to hear of the untimely passing of actor, Karl Shiels.

Born in Dublin, Karl was well known in theatre and TV circles having made many appearances at the Abbey, the Gate and many other venues.

As a founding member and Artistic Director of Theatre Upstairs, Karl was keenly aware of the need to create an independent theatre where self-producing artists could realise their full, creative ambition. As a freelance actor and director, he has worked extensively on stage and screen both nationally and internationally for almost two decades. He was given a Best Actor Award at the Dublin Theatre Festival for his role in Comedians in 1999 and received a nomination for a Best Actor Award at the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2011 and in the 2010 Stage Awards.

Karl has stared in many TV productions over the years, including the Tudors, Peaky Blinders and he has, of course, been a regular feature in Carrickstown in RTE’s Fair City.

Karl is survived by his partner Laura Honan, his twin daughters and their mother Dearbhla, his father Harry, stepmother Irene, brother Jason, sisters Lisa and Lianne, stepbrother Justin, aunt Nan, uncles John and Jimmy, nephews and nieces. Karl will be sadly missed by all his relatives and a very large circle of friends, within the acting community and beyond.

A Tribute to Tom Jordan – Actor and Director

Another great loss to Irish Theatre and to Equity, is the passing of the talented, veteran actor, Tom Jordan. Born in Marino, Dublin in 1937, Tom first made his mark in 1968, as a member of the RTE Players, honing his skills in hundreds of broadcasts.

On leaving RTÉ in 1972 he became a founding member of the Project Arts Centre in Kings Street and, appeared on RTE Television in Ulick O’Connor’s The Rock. That same year he became Actor- Manager for Godfrey Quigley’s World Theatre Productions, initiating the very innovative “Dinner Theatre” performances in the Gresham Hotel, and in Wexford, for many seasons.

During this time Tom was now making his mark in Film and Television and, of the thirty or more productions, in which he appeared, he achieved fame as Farrell in Strumpet City. In 1981 he played Seamus Doherty with Pierce Brosnan in, The Manions of America, teaming up with him again in 1984 in Remmington Steele. Five years later, he was one of the original cast members of Fair City, starring as Charlie Kelly in almost 150 Episodes.

Tom’s heart, however, had always been in theatre, having performed in Dublin Theatre Festival Seasons and, in popular productions of, Is the Priest at Home? Da, and The Whip Hand. In 1987 he became Director of the Lyric Theatre, Belfast for two years.

Despite the high profile that Tom attained through talent, and diligence, he was always a very private person, meticulous in his preparation and always dependable, but his performances had a quiet power and a great stage and screen ‘presence’.

I had the honour of appearing with him in The Manions of America and on Radio. He was a generous actor, great company, a team player and a fine mentor of young talent. A strong supporter of Irish Equity, Tom was one of the few remaining actors to have successfully plied his trade in every avenue of his beloved profession, now sadly bereft of such talent and experience.

Laurence Foster June 30th 2019.

Pegg Monahan – A Tribute

It is with great sadness that I have received the news of the death of actress, friend and colleague, Pegg Monahan, at the great age of 97. Pegg was the last of the founding members of the RTE Players, Radio Repertory Company. She was also a founding member of “WAAMA” the Writers-Actors-Artists & Musicians Association of Ireland and, was instrumental in it becoming Irish Actor’s Equity.

A fine stage actress, Pegg performed in the original production of Knocknagow and then joined Lord Longford’s Company in the Gate Theatre. In 1947 she began her illustrious radio career which spanned four decades, during which time she performed in more than 1,000 radio plays and classic dramatisations. She also starred in several television plays including “The Weaver’s Grave” and “Somerville & Ross”. Pegg Monahan became a household name in the 1950s and 60s with her portrayal of the long suffering Mrs Foley in David Hayes’ long running comedy series, The Foley Family. In 1982, Pegg crowned her broadcasting career with a brilliant portrayal of Mollie Bloom in the record breaking 32 hour, unabridged, RTE Radio broadcast of UIlysses. Those of us privileged enough to have worked with Pegg will miss her greatly.

She had a regal charm and an inner calm that put everyone at ease. She helped and guided young actors and was generous and sympathetic. Her versatility knew no bounds and, from Dublin housewives and country matriarchs to a chilling Mrs Danvers in Rebecca, her range was so impressive.

Ireland has lost a great actress and a true radio artist. Joyously, we will hear her like again, as that artistry has been preserved in Archive. “Her familiar voice, wearies not ever!” Shelley.

Laurence Foster. May 25th 2019.

Irish Equity 2019 AGM

More details and venue to follow.

Pat Laffan – A tribute

Irish actor and director Pat Laffan, has sadly “shuffled off this mortal coil” after an incredible career spanning six decades. He grew up on a farm in Co. Meath and, after graduating from Engineering in UCD began his career in the Abbey Theatre, despite his mother, allegedly, begging Ernest Blythe to sack him!

Pat became a prolific theatre actor and was the Director of the Peacock Theatre in the 1970s. On leaving the Abbey he directed in the Gate Theatre until 1982 and later joined the board of the Gaiety School of Acting.

I had the privilege of sharing a dressing with him at the Gate, and “survived” the long run. Pat didn’t suffer fools gladly or otherwise, but there was always a mischievous twinkle in the eyes and, if he liked you, you were a friend for life. My lasting memory is his performance as Brendan Bracken on radio. I was lucky enough to play Churchill opposite him and his generosity as an actor was enormous.

While Pat is perhaps still best remembered as Mr. Burgess in The Snapper he had 70 film and television credits to his name and was at home in comic or dramatic roles with equal aplomb. He has, quite rightly, been described as an incredible force in Irish Theatre. He was also an incredible force on the cricket field and not always with bat and ball – more intimidating was his ferocious glare at erring umpires and wayward bowlers. His Presidency of the Theatrical Cavaliers Cricket team was legendary.

A valued and supportive member of Irish Actors Equity, he will be sorely missed in every walk of life, over which he loomed large, passing on his expertise to the benefit of other generations of actors. The whole of the acting profession is indebted to Pat’s dedication, multi-talents, wit and pure professionalism.

Laurence Foster, March 2019

Austin Gaffney – A Tribute

The wonderful Austin Gaffney, pictured above in the banner was from a performance of “Song of Norway”, with my wife Pauline (Magrath) in 1966. No one but Austin could enter a scene with such a swirl of an operatic cloak, or doff a silk top-hat with such panache.

Born in Dublin, for decades, he was the star of so many Light Operas, Pantomimes, Cabarets, Reviews, Television Shows and Recordings, often with some of the biggest orchestras and bands in Britain and Ireland. His performance as The Red Shadow in, ”The Desert Song”, surpassed all others; his voice superb, his acting superb. From “Die Fledermaus” to “The Merry Widow”, Austin reigned supreme.

Austin was also an original member of and, a staunch supporter of the Variety Artist’s Section of Irish Actors Equity, helping to raise the standard of that Branch for many years.

He was generous, unselfish and a pleasure to work with and, his path to stardom was a tough one. Following twice-daily performances in the Gaiety Theatre, at the drop of the evening curtain, he would be off to perform in Jury’s Cabaret in Dame Street until midnight. Weekends, and free days were spent enjoying the coaching of the next generation of Irish singers.

Austin was part of, what was, a great theatrical ‘family’ of colleagues that embraced so-called ‘legits’, and ‘non legits’, with equal camaraderie from the post-war years onward. His soubriquet, “The Gaffer”, created with true Dublinese affection, was apt indeed. He was greatly missed when he retired and he will be even more greatly missed now, as a valued colleague to so many. What a voice, what a star, what a friend to all!

Laurence Foster. February 15th 2019.

Banner photo: Copyright Pauline Magrath (Foster)

Applying for the 2018 Co-operation Projects Call?

10am-3pm Thursday 18th October 2018
Europe House, 12-14 Mount Street Lower, D2
Sign up: E-mail your name, organisation and brief project details to cedculture@artscouncil.ie.

Are you developing an application for the next Co-operation Projects deadline in 2018? We will host a free application workshop in Dublin on Thursday 18th October for organisations that are developing proposals for Co-operation Projects in 2018.

Get some insights into what you need to demonstrate in your proposal for a successful application!
Learn about the red flag items that can trip applicants up!

Hear tips from previously successful applicants.
Bring along all your niggling questions on the application process, application form and budgets.

We will also have a general introduction to Co-operation Projects funding to begin the session. If you are not planning an application for this year’s deadline but would like to learn more please do come for coffee and the introductory session.

We are also holding an Information session and Workshop in Waterford on 8th October.

Can’t attend our workshops in Dublin or Waterford? Phone us on 01 6180200 for information and advice or email your questions to cedculture@artscouncil.ie. We’re here to help, right up to the time that you press that submit button, so do keep in touch!

To register your interest in attending please email cedculture@artscouncil.ie.

Creative Europe Funding Workshop

· Mon 8 October 2018 | 10:00 – 13:00
· Garter Lane Arts Centre, 5 O’Connell Street, Waterford
· FREE TICKETS ON EVENTBRITE HERE

Our free workshop will be an interactive session for arts, culture, heritage, craft and design organisations to explore ideas for developing transnational working practices and to learn about accessing Creative Europe funding.

The session will begin with an overview of the Creative Europe Culture sub-programme and in particular the Co-operation projects fund by Audrey Keane of the Creative Europe Desk Ireland’s Culture office.

Round table discussions: This will be followed by round table discussions exploring the different aspects of developing and running a European project. Hear from Creative Europe beneficiaries including Chris Clarke, The Glucksman Gallery (VIBE project) and Edel Doran, First Fortnight Festival (NEFELE project) and Katherine Collins, Waterford Walls who will share their experiences.

This will be an opportunity to learn from the experience of those already involved in projects and to test your own ideas for a project. Delegates are invited to stay on for a networking lunch with more opportunities to share learning and ideas.

This event is organised by Waterford Europe Direct Information Centre in partnership with Creative Europe Desk Ireland (Culture Office), Waterford Cultural Quarter and the Waterford Area Partnership.

APPLY VIA EVENTBIRE FOR YOUR TICKET HERE