My life orbits two worlds - EC Harris (where I work as a quantity surveyor) and the Dubai Drama Group (of which I am the chairman). Two very different fields, you would agree! I derive inspiration from people involved in theatre and film, mainly because they have been able to make a career out of their love of fine arts. Dubai Drama Group is one of those organisations that give the rest of us, (people who love the theatre but make a living in other ways), the opportunity to indulge our passion.
I grew up in Ireland and my father was involved in construction and it is from seeing him I became interested in quantity surveying. After the usual summer jobs (barman and carpet fitter, among others), I qualified and started working as a quantity surveyor in the mid-1990s. I joined EC Harris in 2002 and since then have had the opportunity to get involved in some really interesting projects. I focus on the legal aspects of construction projects and have an LLB degree.
It was around 2007 that I started to get involved in theatre. I guess I have always enjoyed entertaining people. However, not being able to sing or play an instrument, I relied on acting to give me the chance to entertain on a grand scale. My first opportunity to get involved in acting came in the form of an arts festival in Dundalk, Ireland. I scripted and acted in a short comedy piece. After the festival I was given the opportunity to take part in a full-length production and my parallel life was well and truly under way.
In 2008, my wife Una and I, in search of new life experiences and an interest in travel, took up an opportunity EC Harris presented to us to transfer to Dubai. We arrived in Dubai in September. Soon afterwards I met up with the Dubai Drama Group. New Developments, part of the group's annual calendar, is a production of the best plays submitted as part of an annual playwriting competition and I took part in the first production in 2009. I have been a member of the group ever since. In May 2010, I became chairman and am now in my second term.
Dubai Drama Group is Dubai's longest established theatrical group (it was established almost 30 years ago) and is going from strength to strength. What I love about the group is the openness to experiment. As well as running established plays such as those of William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw, we also have fun with evenings of shorter comedy pieces.
One of my favourite productions fromlast season was Omelet: An eveningof Scrambled Shakespeare - a comedy with three short plays loosely basedon Hamlet. I got to play the part of George, an accountant who accidentally ends up on stage and has to muddle his way through a series of plays, some of which he has never even heard of.
I enjoy acting and receiving feedback from the audience... once a review of my performance said I played my part ‘perfectly'. Combining a career such as quantity surveying, which requires definitiveness, and theatre, which operates in the sphere of make-believe, is really interesting.
On the face of it there is little overlap. However the structured approach my day job demands is of great benefit in my role as chairman and the techniques I learn in performing benefits me when I make presentations. On the other hand, it is the combination of both sides that makes me happy and I will continue to do both.
Our playwriting competition is on at the moment. Our production of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party is now running at The JamJar and we are in rehearsals for our next production,a family show, The Wind in the Willows, which will run at Ductac in December."
Life, in short, is very exciting in both my worlds.
Your favourite playwright?
John B Keane: his skill for capturing all aspects of the complexity of human character in the most melodic of language makes his works a joy to read again and again.
In addition to drama, I enjoy reading (mainly history and non-fiction), play golf when I get the chance - badly I may add. I also want to learn how to play the guitar.
Your favourite city in the world?
Coming back from a trip to Australia a couple of years ago, my wife and I spent a few days in Hong Kong. We both fell in love with the city. The genuine warmth and friendliness of the people means this is certainly somewhere we will go back to.