Joan Sheehy is from Limerick and has been acting professionally since 1980. She has worked extensively with the Abbey Theatre, Gate Theatre, and Project Arts Centre in Dublin and Moscow, Leningrad, New York and London. In recent years Joan has produced and directed critically acclaimed productions in her native Limerick, includingAnything But Love, Buck Jones and the Body Snatchers and Maybe the Night. Her recent stage appearances have been in John Gabriel Borkman, (Abbey Theatre), Big Maggie, (Druid Theatre Co) and Woman and Scarecrow (Blood in the Alley Theatre Co). Joan also has vast experience in film, television and radio and appeared in Ros na Rún for a number of seasons and in the films The Field (1990), The Boxer(1997) and Marion agus an Banphrionsa (2006).
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on a farm in west Limerick.
Tell me how acting started for you?
Acting started for me in secondary school, where I always wanted to play the heroine but was always cast as a man – usually an old one.
When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I knew it was what I wanted to do in secondary school – I had no idea how to go about this and no one thought it was a good idea, but I used to check the newspaper hoping I would see jobs for actors!
What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?
I would be a costume designer. I love fabric, colour, structure and the transformation that good costume can create.
Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?
Unfortunately, my most embarrassing moments have been in auditions and in rehearsal!
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is west Limerick – the enjoyment of language and the desire to make conversation playful and dangerous. Great inspiration for this play.
In a couple of words, describe the rehearsal process for Bailegangaire?
The rehearsal process is surprisingly calm and very enjoyable. We are loving the richness of the language and plot and scared by the huge challenge but so excited to be working on one of the great Irish plays. I am in the bed during the show so I spend rehearsals there. It gets very hot in the afternoon and there is a terrible temptation to snooze!
What do you hope audiences will take away from watching this play?
I hope that audiences will come to love the family, flawed and all as they are. I hope they will be intrigued by a great story and leave with a little bit of hope.
And finally, what was the last TV show you binge-watched? How many episodes did you see in a sitting?
I don’t watch a lot of TV but I have watched 3 episodes of Breaking Bad in one sitting.
BAILEGANGAIRE, Wed 14th – Thurs 15th September, 8pm, Civic Theatre Tallaght.
Starring Joan Sheehy, Clare Monnelly and Maeve Fitzgerald