Photo by Colin Shanahan – DigiCol Photography (c) 2021 – http://www.digicolphotography.com

I am an actor and theatre-maker from Waterford.

I started acting when I was eight and did my first play with Little Red Kettle in Garter Lane Arts Centre. I think from then I wanted to be an actor! My work in the arts has definitely moved in different ways. I spent a lot of my teens in musical theatre and moved to Dublin at 17. Within my first few years in Dublin, I performed in the National Concert Hall, Gaiety, Wexford Opera House (not in Dublin, I know) and performed on BBC’s Over The Rainbow. In 2011, the Lir Academy, Ireland’s first national academy of dramatic art, was being built in association with RADA. I auditioned and got accepted. I trained there for three years, and it was rigorous! Amazing, but tough! I think for the whole of year one I thought I hadn’t a clue how to act anymore because everything I knew was being turned on its head. I learned so much in the Lir, the experience I gained really changed my connection to the industry and how I wanted to make work.

My first gig out of drama school was with ANU Productions in the Dublin Theatre Festival — ANU is an exceptional company that make site-specific work. Over the years, I have played comedic roles where I switch between many characters like in Murder of Crows which came to Garter Lane, I have sung and danced in the rain in a warehouse rave musical at Cork’s Midsummer Festival and played a vampire on the main stage of the Abbey Theatre.

I moved to London two and a half years ago. Within a year, Covid hit and of course, changed everything. I took this time to write. Before lockdown, I was approached by a producer I worked with on a film about possibly writing a script. Lockdown gave me the time and space to sit down and do this. So, I started to write a feature film script! I was writing and writing and writing, but after a number of weeks, I felt it wasn’t working. The concept was good, but it wasn’t flowing. I then was scribbling different bits in a notebook and thought of a story arc for a one-woman play that excited me. I wrote the bones of a draft in three days — nothing like what it is now. I typed up what I had and sent it to my brilliant dramaturge sister Laura Honan, which was terrifying! As a dramaturge, she guides playwrights on story structure, concept, themes…! The list goes on! We had our first meeting over zoom, she gave notes and then we were off. I had begun a drafting process of the play. Since that time, I have been awarded a Playwright & Producer Grant from Waterford Council and an Arts Council Ireland Project Award. I secured Garter Lane as my production partner, carried out a workshop week of the play, assembled a creative team passionate about the project and went through six drafts to reach a completed script. All in all, the script was formed over eighteen months. A lot has changed since draft 1, the first title of the play was How To Become A Superhero In Seven Days and the play is now called How To Fall Flat On Your Face.

The initial inspiration for creating this story was; when I moved to London I fell flat on my face. Literally. I had only lived in London for two months when I had a very bad fall and I ended up alone in an unfamiliar hospital with my injury. I was swollen, cut, bruised and broken. I was embarrassed by my appearance and terrified of how it would affect my acting career. Waiting to heal, I felt trapped in a body and with a face that was not my own. My nose was reset, but I could not get past that it now poked in a different direction. Gradually I came to accept the new curve in my nose and scar on my lip which was left. I found I could only accept my external by unravelling my internal hurt. Anna is the play’s leading character and her story is fictional but inspired by a personal struggle. I believe by sharing stories of struggle we connect, we heal and we grow.

How To Fall Flat On Your Face is a funny and dark deep dive into how “sweating the small stuff” can escalate. When I wrote this piece, I knew Garter Lane Arts Centre was exactly where I wanted to stage it first! I am massively excited to premiere my debut play as a writer in this special theatre. We open on International Women’s Day and run from March 8th – 12th.

I am excited/terrified/pumped!

If you would like to find out more about my play, you can just click HERE!


A big thanks to Katie for her gorgeous article, and we would like to wish her the very best of luck with her play! We love when people in our community reach out to us with a piece they would like to share with our readers. If you have a story you would like to share with us, pop us over an email at info@shona.ie

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