ALUMNUS OF THE MONTH – Simon Stewart
Simon Stewart graduated from the Full Time Actor Training Course at the Gaiety School of Acting in 2009. He most recently appeared as George Hastings in ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ at the recently re-opened Smock Alley Theatre.
1. Did you always want to work in the theatre/acting business?
It’s funny, when I was young and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I never knew. When I was 10 years old the principal of my school told me I had to play the main role in version of the nativity story called Papa Panov as a punishment because I was forever “forgetting” my GAA gear for P.E. It was on opening night when we received a standing ovation that I said to myself “Wow! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life!”
2. How did you start off in the business?
I got my first job when I was 11yrs old, narrating a new T.V. show for the BBC N.I. called “Blast TV,” it was a new show on BBC 3 at the time for young people, sort of an after school special. I had a great time recording it in BBC Broadcasting House in Belfast but I remember being ridiculously nervous because I was this tiny little guy travelling from my home town of Strabane in Co. Tyrone all the way to the big city which I had never been to. In school I was really inspired by my Drama teachers Leo McBride and Leah McCay, I have always said that they are the people who really solidified my drive to act.
3. Any tips for aspiring actors?
Keep the faith, work hard at your craft and most importantly know what you bring to the table and show it off with pride!
4.What did you like most about being at The Gaiety School of Acting?
The whole nature of it was amazing! When I attended the school it was run like an Army training facility and this, I believe, is the best way to train Actors. The unrelenting drive that the tutors have to make you shine at your brightest is awe inspiring. Training in the school gives you the great opportunity of working with other actors who, while in the same position as you, inspire you with their own amazing talents. Our year was the first group to ever have the class called Manifesto, which was the brain-child of John Delaney and Patrick Sutton, this class allowed us to devise our own personal styles and work and really inspired the class to follow our own minds to find the work we would ultimately want to be involved with when we graduated. Some of the most memorable work from this class for me was the work of David Fennelly, Camille Ross and Anna Sheils-McNamee.
5. Favourite actor?
Anthony Hopkins. The man is a powerhouse. It is a dream of mine to act with him, his style and class amaze me in every role.
6. Favourite writer?
William Shakespeare, the man speaks for himself!
7. Favourite play?
Tough one! I always fall in love with the play that I am performing in, so at the minute it would have to be Oliver Goldsmiths “She Stoops to Conquer.” But I could watch Conor McPherson’s “The Weir” over and over again, such amazing story telling!
8. Who has been the most influential person in your life so far?
I have two. My Mother, Anne and my Great Aunt, Bernadette. They are the supporting forces in my life. My mother’s philosophy as far as my brothers and I are concerned is to do whatever makes us happy and she will be there for us as long as it’s not illegal!
9. Earliest memory?
A specific one doesn’t really jump right out at me but the strongest ones are building forts and playing army with my brothers and our friends in the forest when we lived in Glenmornan, Co. Tyrone.
10. What would be your idea of the perfect day?
It’s a toss up between being in rehearsal with a group of people that are making magic happen or just chilling out with a coffee at the Stage Door Cafe in Temple Bar on a sunny day.