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IFTA Q&A Series: Roisin Gallagher on Acting
28 Apr 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Roisin Gallagher in The Dry
To mark the 20th anniversary of the IFTA awards, we are showcasing Irish talent who are blazing a trail across our industry, working in front of and behind the camera.

Hosted in association with IFTA, this Q&A Series connects with Irish talent who represent a range of disciplines across our industry. 

We find out what they look out for in the projects they take on, what their approach is to filmmaking and collaboration; what inspires them; and what recent work in the industry they most admire.

Roisin Gallagher is nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Drama for The Dry. Gallagher’s screen credits include The Fall, Nowhere Special, and Mandrake. She has an extensive acting career in theatre, and in 2017 wrote her first play Natural Disaster  which was then staged in The MAC in Belfast.

IFTN: IFTA celebrates 20 years this year. How does this significant milestone reflect the growth and strengthening of the Irish film industry over the past two decades? 

ROISIN: “It is a privilege to be a part of the Irish film and TV industry which is being celebrated globally for its exceptional storytelling, film making and production values.  I think the industry has grown in strength and numbers in the last twenty years.  I am delighted it is getting the recognition it deserves worldwide.”

IFTN: What do you look out for in a script?

ROISIN: “I want to feel both excited and terrified by the prospect of bringing a character alive. I look for all the ways I can relate to a script and all the ways it is different from my reality.”

IFTN: How do you prepare for auditions, and what advice would you give to younger actors?

ROISIN: “I have no set process for preparing for an audition. Each character and script requires something different from you. Sometimes it's research into a subject or genre I'm not familiar with, or tuning my ear to a different dialect from my own.  However I do it, with whatever time I have, I try as much as possible to enjoy the process of meeting a new character and not fixate on the outcome of the audition. That's the advice I would give to other actors. Every audition is an opportunity to hone your craft regardless of the outcome.”

IFTN: How did you approach playing your character in this film, and how much rehearsal was involved?

ROISIN: “With Shiv, it was important for me to understand the world of recovery. I observed AA meetings, read up on addiction and listened to lots of podcasts about recovery. I absorbed as much as I could.”

“We had a few days of rehearsal before filming started. It was during covid so previous auditions, chemistry reads and readthroughs had been on zoom. It was magic to get into a room with the rest of the cast and connect before the cameras started rolling.” 

IFTN: What Irish Actor/s have you been most impressed by recently?

ROISIN: “The WHOLE cast of Bad Sisters. I could watch them all day long!”

IFTN: What Director or Actor would you most like to work with and why (Irish or international)?

ROISIN: “Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan, I imagine that set would be class craic!”

IFTN: We often are our own worst critics. What is your approach to constructive criticism and inward reflection?

ROISIN: “Like many of my colleagues, I have a tendency to be highly critical of my work.  In the past I have found it difficult to watch things back but I think there is great value in being able to watch yourself objectively and from an audience's perspective. You can learn about what works and what doesn't.  The more screen work I do the easier I find it to reflect on my work positively.”

IFTN: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

ROISIN: “Don't compare yourself to others. Only you can do what you do.”

The 20th anniversary of the IFTA Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 7th.

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