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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)

Join Equity in Lyric Theatre Belfast

Housing is a Human Right

Talks between Abbey Theatre management and theatre workers

Talks between Abbey Theatre management and theatre workers – Please read the article which appeared in The Irish Times on Saturday, 2nd February 2019 READ ARTICLE

Choral Evensong in Remembrance of Actors, Musicians and Artists

Choral Evensong in Remembrance of Actors, Musicians and Artists. All welcome.

Tribute to Actress, Virginia Cole

Sad it is to again to salute a dearly departed colleague from the Theatre World.

Virgina Cole was only just seventeen years of age when she launched her acting career by landing the plum role of Concepta Feeney in Tolka Row, the much vaunted RTE drama series which aired from 1964-1968.

During this time, she had also established a fine theatre career and performed in most of the Dublin Theatres and, in 1971 appeared in the highly praised RTE Drama, “A Week in the Life of Martin Cluxton”.

Featured roles in Many Dublin Theatre Festivals followed and Virginia then appeared in many more movies and TV series, most notably, “The Snapper”, “Adam & Paul”, “Agnes Brown”, “The Informant” “Perfect Scoundrels”, “The Clinic” and Tara Road.

In the 1990s she played the demented schoolgirl “Slighty Bonkers”, in “Fortycoats” for RTE TV which later transferred to RTE Radio Drama.

Virginia, who later became a barrister was married to John McColgan, producer of “Riverdance”.

Always a strong, supportive member of Irish Actors Equity, she was very much a no-nonsense actress; extremely professional and always well prepared and, in the days when it was even tougher for actresses to sustain a theatrical career, she was well able to take care of herself, was extremely candid, didn’t suffer ‘fools’ gladly, or otherwise, and was never shy about letting a director know where they both stood.

We shall all miss her greatly, her camaraderie, her strength, and most of all, her friendships which never waned.

“Soft, by and by. Let us the Curtains draw”. King Lear

Laurence 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

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 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