The Actor tells the story of a young man who dreams of becoming an actor. Set in the early twentieth century, fifteen year old Jim Brevin runs away from his comfortable, middle-class Dublin home and joins a theatrical fit-up company performing in Cork and Kerry. Two years later he returns to Dublin and becomes an apprentice with the Ira Allen’s Company of Irish Players. The young Jim reluctantly gets involved in The Rising, is mistaken for a spy, marries a rebel’s sister, discovers fraud and theft in the family business and suffers a personal tragedy. He becomes a celebrated actor and at the moment of his greatest theatrical success is faced with a stark choice.


The Actor is a page turner, full of colourful characters, wit, tragedy, humour, life and theatre. It is a comedy, tragedy, farce and melodrama. The book explores the life of ordinary people and how they coped with their turbulent times, it also takes its readers into the exciting world of theatre and the organized chaos and theatrical magic that was melodrama.


The book draws extensively on the life of the actor/writer/director Ira Allen, who specialised in writing and performing melodrama. It explores two much neglected facets of Irish Theatre history; fit-up companies and Irish political melodrama. It articulates how traveling fit-ups brought theatre to some of the most remote towns and villages in Ireland and how the almost forgotten genre of Irish political melodrama, often the only source of historical information available to working class people, has been almost erased from Irish Theatre history.


The Actor illustrates how the Troubles, affected the lives of ordinary people, shaped one man’s dream and closed the Queen’s Theatre.



Available as an e-book and a paperback in

December 2014 from Amazon.com


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