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Friday People: Ryan McParland

By Kerry McKittrick

The 23-year-old Newry actor Ryan McParland has starred in hit film Good Vibrations, as well as BBC Northern Ireland student drama Six Degrees. He will be appearing at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, from next weekend in How Many Miles To Babylon?

 My best friends

Robbie Byrne is one of my oldest friends. We went to St Paul's High School in Bessbrook and ended up at Newry Tech together. He's currently studying PR at University of Ulster, Jordanstown, and we're still close pals.

My friends Peadar and Seamus White are brothers -- Seamus and I played football together at primary school, and through him I became friendly with Peadar.

Along with my pal Shane Quinn, who's currently living in England, they're my closest friends. We've all grown up and played football together.

 My parents, Helen and Seamus

My parents are still in Newry but they're retired now. Dad was a joiner and mum was a carer for the elderly. I also have two brothers and a sister, all older than me.

David is the oldest and works for an examining board in Belfast, while Antonio works in Liverpool as a translator. Then there's my sister, Aveen, who still lives in Newry and works as a hairdresser.

I'm the youngest and it's horrible. I'm certainly not spoiled -- that cliché never went on in our house. Antonio is the one who gets spoiled as he only comes home once a year now.

David calls him 'the prodigal son'.

After Newry Tech I went back to school for a year to do drama A-level and a couple of months later I was offered a lead role in a play in Belfast and a day on a film. I took some time out of school to do them and we brought the play to Newry.

One of my teachers was there and when I asked her what she thought after the play she just handed me a folder of coursework and said: "My desk, Monday morning", then walked off.

I went back to Belfast and then phoned my parents to tell them I wanted to drop out of school to pursue a career in acting even though I was only 17 at the time. They told me that they supported me 100%.

Who I go to for advice, Martin McCann

He's a fellow actor, a really good pal and I go to him for any advice, but first and foremost about acting. He's only just turning 30 but he's done an awful lot, such as the Steven Spielberg miniseries The Pacific. I've loved working with him, too, and we've formed an incredible friendship so if I'm unsure of something I give him a buzz.

My mentor, Peter Ballance

Peter is a professional actor who took time out to run the acting course at Newry Tech that I did after I left school in fifth year. Under him I developed a thick skin that I don't think drama school would have given me. He was hard as nails but I've always seen him as a mentor and he's developed me as an actor and a person.

 My secret crush is ... Eva Mendes

She's always been a favourite of mine, as not only is she gorgeous, she can act too.

* My fantasy dinner party

My first guest would be, Kevin McCloud, who presents Grand Designs. It's the only thing I watch on TV and I'm addicted to it; I'm fascinated by the journey people go through to get these lavish homes. I'd love to talk with Kevin and about all these mad projects.

Next I'd ask Daniel Day-Lewis. He seems like a sweet, down-to-earth, normal guy who I'd like to have a couple of beers with.

Then I'd invite the Brazilian footballer Ronaldo, my favourite player in the world. Finally, I would ask the musician Moby to talk about some of his soundtracks.

 Ryan will be appearing as Jerry in How Many Miles To Babylon? at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast from April 27 to May 24. For details, visit


From Belfast Telegraph