Alumnus of the Month – James Murphy

Friday, January 27th, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Alumni Interviews, News & Events

Recent graduate James Murphy is currently appearing in The Government Inspector at The Abbey Theatre. James graduated from the Full Time Professional Actor Training Course at the Gaiety School in 2011. 


1. Did you always want to work in the theatre/acting business?

Yeah I think I did. I did a lot of youth theatre back up in Tyrone and studied it at school for A-level. The idea of doing it, or being good enough to do it as a job didn’t seem realistic to me at 18 so I went to Queen’s instead and didn’t do any drama for four years. Gradually it started to pick at me in the back of my head. I was working as a student officer and realised that the desk job was not going to suit me so I applied for the Gaiety. I didn’t want 20 years to go by and be thinking “If only I had given the acting a go”

2. How did you start off in the business?

I was sitting in a bus heading up to Belfast from Dublin. I got a call from Patrick Sutton saying he wanted to offer me a place on the fulltime course. I had just done my audition that day and I wasn’t expecting to hear back so soon. That was the start because it gave me the confidence to say “yes I can do this” whereas before I wasn’t sure, I just wanted to do it but wasn’t sure if I was capable.

3. Any tips for aspiring actors?

Concentrate on what you are doing not what other people are doing, that’s more applicable for surviving drama school but I think it’s important. People sometimes keep looking over their shoulder at what the other person is doing and how you match up to that but they miss the point. You can’t be as good as the other person; you can only be as good as you can be. So just keep working on being the best actor you can be and the rest will follow.

4. What did you like most about being at The Gaiety School of Acting

The standard in our class was so high that you had no choice but work hard, you’d have to and it kind of links into what i was saying before. I enjoyed the fact that not only the teachers but the class consistently expected you to be at a certain level. It made us all, I feel, better actors. I enjoyed Manifesto because it honed in on a certain view I had of what Theatre or performance should be in my opinion, allowed me to produce my own work (and by produce i mean write, stage, light, sound, direct and perform) on a regular basis, allowed me to first meet and work with Jimmy Fay. It was through Manifesto and the genius of John Delaney that myself and Jamie (O’Neill) and Cillian (O’Gairbhi) formed our own theatre company, Ramblinman, and we have our first production – True West by Sam Shepard – which will be on in Smock Alley in April.

5. Favourite actor?

Cillian Murphy – great actor and a great last name

6. Favourite writer?

Brian Friel

7. Favourite play?

Philadelphia, Here I Come!

8. Who has been the most influential person in your life so far?

My 97 year old Granddad, Jimmy

9. Earliest memory?

Putting a sieve on my head an shouting “Crucify Him!” at our Parish Priest after foolishly being brought to see a local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the age 4

10. What would be your idea of the perfect day?

Big Fry for breakfast

Long walk in Phoenix Park

Read on the bus home

Good night out with my nearest and dearest through the various Public houses and discotheques of Dublin or Belfast

Check out our other Alumni interviews here