ALUMNUS OF THE MONTH – Dorothy Cotter
p>Dorothy graduated from the Full Time Actor Training Course at the Gaiety School of Acting in 2002. She most recently appeared in ‘Dear Frankie’ at the Gaiety Theatre playing 35 characters. She can be seen in The Savage Eye (RTE) and upcoming web series Deadly Buzz playing opposite Joe Rooney and fellow Gaiety School alumni Richard McWilliams.
1. Did you always want to work in the theatre/acting business?
Yes, I was 14 when I decided that I wanted to be an actor. I did my first play in secondary school in Cork and I fell head over heels in love with it all! My English teacher, Anton Floyd, (who directed the play) was hugely encouraging, as were my parents.
2. How did you start off in the business?
When I was in 5th year I was cast as Kate Doogan in Philadelphia Here I Come at the Everyman Palace Theatre. It was a big leap from performing in my school auditorium to a packed 600 seater theatre and I loved it. In 6th year I auditioned for the B.A. at the Samuel Beckett Centre but I wasn’t accepted so I took a year out. Just before my Leaving Cert I got a call to do Playboy Of The Western World at the Everyman. Some of the cast from Philadelphia were in it and had recommended me to the director Geoff Gould. I started rehearsals on the day I did my last Leaving Cert exam. We ended up touring on and off for a year and then we did Dr. Faustus. I learned so much from Geoff and the other actors over the course of the year, it was a very happy and exciting time. Several members of the cast had trained at the Gaiety School and I was so impressed by them that I applied for the 2 year course immediately. I went on to do a three hander with a different company in Cork and then moved to Dublin to start the course later that year. I graduated in 2002 and have been working in the industry ever since.
3. Any tips for aspiring actors?
Go into auditions 110% prepared. Be off book, read the whole script in advance, make decisions about the character, have opinions on the scene/character. For film/tv auditions, film yourself at home doing the scene. See what reads well on camera.
Don’t take it personally if you don’t get a part. You could do a brilliant audition and it could be down to something that you have no control over like your age, height or hair colour.
Develop interests and skills outside of acting. It’s easy to get so focused on acting and getting work that you neglect other sides to yourself. I taught myself guitar a few years ago and began writing songs and am currently doing a course in web design. When there are gaps between jobs, it’s great to have other creative things that you actually have control over!
4. What did you like most about being at The Gaiety School of Acting?
Everything! I had the best 2 years there and I learned so much. I loved being challenged every day physically, mentally and creatively. It was at times both terrifying and exhilarating. I made some life-long friends there and will always hold the tutors in the highest regard.
5. Favorite actor?
Can’t pick just one but people that have blown me away onstage are: Conor Lovett, Ray Scannell, Eileen Walsh, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Veronica Coburn, Ruth Negga
6. Favorite writer?
Theatre: Enda Walsh
Film: Fergal Rock
7. Favorite play?
8. Who has been the most influential person in your life so far?
9. Earliest memory?
Winning a race in playschool aged 3.
10. What would be your idea of the perfect day?
A good days rehearsal with a great play, director and cast, dinner with my boyfriend and then going to a great gig with friends.