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My people: Conall Morrison on his special relationships

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 17/07/2015

Conall Morrison director and Producer of the Play Ghosts at the Lyric Belfast
Conall Morrison director and Producer of the Play Ghosts at the Lyric Belfast

The 49-year-old is originally from Armagh and is a theatre director and playwright. He lives in Dublin and will be directing Beginning To End, a one-man show with excerpts from Samuel Beckett’s works of fiction at the Happy Days International Beckett Festival, beginning this month in Enniskillen.

My partner, Sarah Binchy

Sarah and I met at the Lir Academy drama school in Dublin, where I was taking a workshop with final year students.

Sarah had taken some time out from her job as a radio producer at RTE to do some writing and a Masters degree.

We met in the cafe across the road where everyone hangs out — I’m very glad I went in for that coffee. That was 18 months ago, and we even went back to the same cafe for an anniversary coffee.

We have common interests and she’s funny, caring and deeply smart.

My mentor, Patrick Mason

Patrick Mason, who was the director of the Abbey Theatre in the 1990s and is still directing. He won a Tony Award for directing the original production of Dancing At Lughnasa.

He gave me one of my first breaks at the Abbey Theatre, and allowed me to direct shows that I wanted to. This proves that you not only need talent and endurance, but luck and opportunity.

He’s still critical where appropriate — he has a great eye and sharp mind.

My parents, Jim and Ann

My father has passed away and my mum still lives in Armagh. Dad was a maths teacher and my mum worked as a nurse.

I’m in the middle of five children, who include Fionnuala, John, myself, Aine and then Jim.

We’re all scattered around Ireland and England, and my brother, Jim, is now in Los Angeles, but we do try to get together around Christmas at least once a year.

Like any parents, mine were concerned about me working in a notoriously precarious profession, but they were also hugely supportive and knew that it was something I wanted to do.

Person I go to for advice

I would automatically ask Sarah for advice, she’s incredibly astute and insightful.

I would also ask my sister, Aine, as she’s a social worker and is as kind and compassionate as she is copped-on and clued-in. She has a very wise head on her shoulders.

My best friend, Liam

My oldest friend is Liam O’Brien.

He transferred into my primary school in P4 and we’ve been friends ever since.

He’s an English teacher in Barcelona now so we don’t get to see each other that often, but whenever we do we click back into a friendship that goes back over 40 years.

My celebrity crush

I have a theatre director crush on the actor, Paul Scofield.

He was very gifted, handsome and talented as an actor.

Fantasy dinner party

I would, of course, have Samuel Beckett so he could give me some advice and tips on directing the work I’m doing for the Happy Days Festival.  Then, I’d ask Oscar Wilde to keep the chat going, while Chet Baker sang a few songs.

Then, I’d love the Three Stooges to get a food fight going at the end.

Belfast Telegraph

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