Full House for ‘An Audience’ with Fionnula Flanagan

A large crowd filled the Belltable for an event titled ‘An Audience’ Fionnula Flanagan this week.

Acclaimed Irish filmmaker hailing from Limerick Gerry Stembridge hosted the afternoon and interviewed the award winning actress.

“50 years ago I was a little boy to see a drama depicting the 1916 rising called Insurrection. I did not know then that the woman I thought was Nora Connolly and was actually in fact an actress called Fionnula Flanagan., ” Mr Stembridge said.

“Two years later Fionnula went to New York and began the most astonishing career in film television and theatre and the Richard Harris Festival means anything, it means the celebration of acting, of great acting. If Richard Harris represents the star qualities seen in a number of our male actors, then Foinnula Flanagan lays a trail for actresses over the last 50 odd years,” he continued.

The audience were shown clips of Mrs Flanagan’s best work over the years. To start to the film maker explored the actresses past and her lead up to being an actress.

Mrs Flanagan talked about her childhood memories, which included mentioning a number of songs that her family used to sing.

“At the age of six or seven I used to write plays and make my brothers, sisters and friends be in them,” said Mrs Flanagan.

The actress discussed her early days at the Abbey Theatre and progression from this. Her career commenced when she had to fill the lead role in a play for a sick colleague.

“When I took over the role that my colleague had played, in a production written in Irish, it really became sort of a, cause celebre and then I did it in English on stage for Phyllis Ryan. I also did it for Irish Television and that was my entry into the business. Timing is everything, I was ready, it was just faith conspired to make it happen,” she said.

The award winning actress then continued on to discuss her career in Ireland and the United States.

“I got so tired of not getting work and I would be in competition with some American actresses who had names and some of them already had Emmys and Oscars so I sat down and wrote James Joyce’s Woman for the stage and later starred in the movie based on James Joyce’s Novel,” she said.

Mrs Flanagan said that one of her favourite pieces of work was “Some Mother’s Son” written by Terry George.

“We made the film during the first stage of the peace process and then by the time it had opened, there had been an attack which resulted in the film being pulled. It did open in the United States, they never put any promo into it, they were really frightened about what would happen, it’s unfortunate because it was a very good film,” she said.

When asked if she was aiming to stay busy, Mrs Flanagan said, “Yes, I just did a project for the Stars Channel which was filmed in Newfoundland called American Gods which sort of jumps around from 1600’s, 1700’s 1800’s and to the present date. I did a picture in Brazil to years ago and then Redwater which the BBC will bringing, which was shot in Ireland.”

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