Friday people: We ask actor Declan Rodgers about those special to him
The 30-year-old actor has starred in TV shows such as Holby City and Ashes To Ashes. He divides his time between London and his native Dundrum and will be appearing at the Lyric Theatre in the comedy production, Can’t Forget About You, which begins this Sunday.
My best friend, Pauline Hillen
Pauline grew up next door to me and when we were at different schools in Ballynahinch we would get the same bus home from school and chat about our days.
She still lives in Dundrum and is now married with two kids. She works as a teacher and has even had me in to visit and teach a little drama class.
I went to the London Academy Of Music and Dramatic Arts (Lamda), where I met Phil Wallace, and we became really good mates. We still hang out and we've ended up as flatmates. It's great to have someone to prepare for auditions with and he always understands what I'm going through, as he's been there himself.
My parents, Micheal and Marian
My dad works as a building contractor and mum is a housewife – they both still live in Dundrum. I also have a younger sister, Aisling, who works for the Prince's Trust.
My parents are very happy with the path I've chosen. My dad would have been a big advocate of getting qualifications before going off to do your own thing. When I got into Lamda, though, he realised that was quite a difficult thing to do and you need to be quite good and he's been really supportive. He flew over to watch my graduation play and helps me out any time I need it. I come over to see both of my parents when I get jobs over here.
Who I go to for advice
I'm very close to my sister. She puts things in perspective and is very level-headed. She knows me very well and when I'm having a bad day she'll be very frank and call me on it. She's been living in London for the last three years but she's going to come back to Northern Ireland in August. It will be a little strange not to be able to call on her or meet her for lunch whenever I like.
My mentor, Conleth Hill
Years ago, before Lamda, when I had just started acting, my second audition was for an Owen McCafferty play called Shoot The Crow. I got an understudy part and spent three or four months in London working along with Conleth and Jimmy Nesbitt.
Along with my dad, Conleth pushed me in the direction of Lamda to get proper training and while I was there, he was someone I contacted, as he knew the industry.
He offered me an audition for Can't Forget About You, which he is directing, and I was lucky enough to get it – not because he knew me but because he thought I was a good actor. To work with him on the play has been a massive treat. He's someone I look up to, so I've been really determined to do a good job for him.
My secret crush is... Zooey Deschanel
She's cute, petite and funny. She's right up my street and exactly my type.
My fantasy dinner party
My first guest would be Muhammad Ali. He's an inspirational figure and I've been a massive fan of his since I was a child. I would totally use this as an opportunity to meet the legend.
Next, I'd ask Robert Mitchum. He's one of my favourite actors and by all accounts, a man not to be trifled with.
He would have some great stories about his life in Hollywood, and the journey he took to get there.
Then Richard Pryor, as somebody will have to lighten the mood, so who better than the most influential American comedian of all time.
He was a flawed character but had bucket-loads of charm, and crazy (true) stories that could entertain all evening.
My final guest would be Katherine Jenkins.
Obviously, purely because of her voice, she could provide some light entertainment in the form of operatic song.
- Can't Forget About You will be at the Lyric Theatre from this Sunday, June 8, until July 5. For details, visit www.lyrictheatre.co.uk