Alumnus of the Month – Aileen Mythen
p>Aileen Mythen graduated from the Full Time Actor Training Course at the Gaiety School of Acting in 2003. Aileen is currently appearing in ‘Alice in Funderland’ at The Abbey Theatre, along with fellow Gaiety School alumni Sarah Greene (Alice), Ian Lloyd Anderson, Eimear O’Grady and Paul Reid.
1. Did you always want to work in the theatre/acting business?
Yes, I always had a bit of a crazy imagination. As far back as I remember I was making up plays, doing funny voices and accents and singing into a hairbrush! My Grandad worked in a local theatre in Wexford and I was always fascinated with the world of theatre.
2. How did you start off in the business?
While in college in Limerick I was offered a part with Island Theatre Company, which was my first professional part. Shortly after, I moved to Galway for a while and did a play called ‘Desert Places’ with Druid as part of their debut project. I knew for sure then that I wanted to pursue acting as a career so I auditioned for the Gaiety School of Acting.
3. Any tips for aspiring actors?
I think it’s important to be as proactive as you can about your own career. Don’t wait for other people to provide all the work. Get a good/cheap accountant who can sort out your taxes!
4. What did you like most about being at The Gaiety School of Acting?
The wonderful friends I made for life, the intensity and commitment that was required. The chance to play, take risks and make mistakes in a really safe environment with wonderful actors and tutors was invaluable.
5. Favourite actor?
Marie Mullen has such a beautiful presence on stage. She can totally transform herself as an actress. She has always been an inspiration.
6. Favourite writer?
Too many to mention. I have been a huge fan of Marina Carr for such a long time. I am a big fan of Wexford writers Billy Roche, Paul O’ Brien and Eoin Colfer. At the moment Phillip McMahon is my new hero. Completely biased I know but the minute I read ‘Alice in Funderland’ I thought it was such an exciting, hilarious and intelligent script.
7. Favourite play?
I don’t have one particular favorite I love so many different plays for different reasons. ‘Portia Coughlan’ was my favorite for a long time. I always thought ‘The Desert Lullaby’ (Jennifer Johnston) was a beautifully written under-rated Irish play.
8. Who has been the most influential person in your life so far?
Both my parents have always been very supportive in encouraging me to follow my heart and pursue a career in acting and singing. My late Grandmother (born in 1916) was an amazingly optimistic and cheerful person who had a huge effect on me. I have the same need to force cups of tea and treats into people as she did!
9. Earliest memory?
I remember being very young and going to the top of the town with my cousin to advertise a circus happening in my house. We had nothing rehearsed or planned so we were probably jumping ahead of ourselves a little there!
10. What would be your idea of the perfect day?
Good strong coffee, a walk on the beach (clichéd but love being near the ocean), rehearsing a great play with a challenging part and lots of laughs with friends in the evening. Bliss!