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Friday People: James Doran

We ask personalities about the special relationships in their lives

MY PARTNER, JULIE KINSELLA

Julie and I met about 10 years ago when we were both in a play at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. It was called A Couple for Kipling, based on the stories of Rudyard Kipling and written by Harry Barton from Coleraine.

Interestingly, I was cast as an Englishman and Julie's role had her playing an Irishwoman, even though she's from England. We helped each other learn the required accents, and, after the play's run ended, I persuaded her to stay here instead of going back to England. She does a bit of everything now. She's an actress, writer and director.

MY BEST FRIENDS

My best friends outside Julie and my family are the ones who came through St Gabriel's College in north Belfast with me. They are Jim O'Neil, Paul Healy and Stephen Harvey. We're all grown up now with jobs and some of us have families. We meet up every now and again for a drink on birthdays or sometimes we meet to watch Cliftonville play.

MY PARENTS, CECELIA AND NOEL

They're both retired and still living in Belfast. My dad was a plasterer and mum used to work in the stitching factories in Belfast, then in a shoe shop in later years.

They had six children – I'm the oldest and there was also Brenda, Martin, Karen, Paula and Michael. We're a very close family. Me, Karen and Michael live here and the other three live in Dublin, so we all travel between the two cities to meet up. I have a lot of nephews and nieces who always say I'm their favourite uncle.

I think my parents, and also myself if I'm honest, thought that acting was just a hobby initially. It was something I got into at school and was cast in all the school plays. After I left school I went on to do an apprenticeship in plastering but I dropped out of that to go to the National Youth Theatre in London. My parents are very happy and supportive of me now.

WHO I GO TO FOR ADVICE

My partner Julie. She's so clever and certainly the more sensible one of the two of us.

MY MENTOR

At school, it was my teacher, Pat Brannigan. He was the one who put on the school plays and he was the one who helped me prepare for auditions which got me into the Lyric Theatre.

As a professional actor I learned a lot from John Hewitt, who has sadly passed away. I worked with him a lot and asked him for advice and how to approach roles.

Today, if I need advice in the business, I would ask Paula McFetridge, the artistic director of the Kabosh Theatre Company.

MY SECRET CRUSH IS... SHEENA EASTON

I had a photograph of the Scottish singer on my bedroom wall when I was 15. I saw her on Top Of The Pops and thought she was nice. We have to throw in Debbie Harry there too.

MY FANTASY DINNER PARTY

I would ask Liam Neeson and Robert De Niro, as I understand they're great friends. I would like to see them together and get tips off these great actors.

I would ask Madness along to provide the music too, as I've always been a fan, and finally, I would ask Muhammed Ali, because he's a legend.

Arrivals runs at the Crescent Arts Centre from February 12-15 and then tours Northern Ireland. For more details, got to www.crescentarts.org

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