Louis Dempsey has an extensive list of credits to his name including film, television and theatre. He will soon be starring in the English Touring Theatre’s production of Conor McPherson’s The Weir which opens on 8 September 2017 at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester.
For anyone that doesn’t know, can you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?
I trained with Cygnet Training Theatre in Exeter. I’ve appeared in numerous stage productions including the original West End production of Stones in his Pockets, Romans in Britain at The Crucible, Sheffield, The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe, Juno and the Paycock at Bristol Old Vic, Some Voices at The Young Vic, Brothers of the Brush at Liverpool Everyman. I’ve also appeared in another Conor McPherson play, The Seafarer, at The Lyric Theatre, Belfast. On screen, I’ve appeared in films such as Troy, Cloud Atlas, Shooters, Revolver, Grabbers, Six Bullets, Omagh, The Last Drop. I’ve also popped up on TV screens in Holby City, Waterloo Road, Sea of Souls and, of course, The Bill. Highlight of my career so far? Hmm. Probably Troy because it was an amazing experience to be part of a huge Hollywood blockbuster movie with all that entails.
Have you always aspired to be a performer or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?
I never had any ambitions to become an actor. Where I grew up in Dublin, your ambitions rarely went further than getting a job and a drink! I loved films as a child but I always assumed that actors came from Planet Actor. The idea that I might one day be up there on screen myself seemed utterly ridiculous.
What drew you to the role of Finbar in The Weir?
I don’t know if one could say I was drawn to the role. My agent called, asked if I was interested in taking a meeting for a touring production of The Weir. I knew something of the play and having done The Seafarer (also by Conor McPherson) I was curious. When I read Finbar I kind of got where he was coming from but only in a very rough way. When people come to see this production of The Weir, they can expect to hear the best story they will hear all year! No doubt at all.
Can you sum up the show in five words?
Hmm. Funny. Poignant. Scary. Moving. Uplifting.
How is the 20th-anniversary production of The Weir bringing something new to the modern classic?
I have never seen a production of The Weir so I cannot compare but I will say that The Weir is such a complete story, with so many layers and revelations about life, love, sadness, joy, heartbreak and happiness that I don’t think it is even accurate to describe it as a modern classic. The Weir is simply a classic, regardless of when it was written or set.
What’s a fun fact people may not know about you?
Prince Charles once asked me to have a drink with him. I did. It was fun.
If you could go back to any era, when would you go to and why?
Well, I’m not a big fan of the past. I suspect that if I did travel back in time to a bygone era, people there would say “What the hell are you doing here??!! There’s no email and toilets haven’t been invented. Are you crazy???”
What’s your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?
You have two eyes, two ears and a mouth. Use them in that order.
Thank you so much Louis for taking the time to do this interview. The Weir starts touring on September 8th and continues through to November 25th. More information and tickets can her found here.