This much I know Ryan An­drews

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Upfront - In con­ver­sa­tion with Hi­lary Fen­nell

I be­gan act­ing pro­fes­sion­ally when I was 10.

I’m 25 now and about to star in the Olympia panto. That’s where it all be­gan for me, in that very theatre, 15 years ago when they chose me to play the young Gene Kelly in Singing in

The Rain. I was hooked.

It’s a com­plete fluke that I be­came an ac­tor as there’s no his­tory of it in our fam­ily. Dad has worked in Guin­ness for over 30 years and mam works in M&S on Dublin’s Grafton St. I was al­ways a very out­go­ing child, I loved all sports, as well as act­ing and danc­ing. My brother Karl is three years older and he’s the com­plete op­po­site – very laid back.

I’ve grown up on telly, in RTE’s Fair

City. I’ve been in it for 10 years now and what’s re­ally bril­liant is that I’ve got to act out story lines that mir­rored what I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in my own life, as a boy and then as a young man. Be­fore that, my first big break was the film Frankie, when I was 13, and then The Clinic.

My par­ents agreed to let me quit school al­to­gether when I was 15, to con­cen­trate on per­form­ing.

The big­gest chal­lenge I’ve had to face so far was when I set off to Lon­don on my own at 17, to go to stage school. I was leav­ing my par­ents, and my girl­friend Michaela, but, it was the mak­ing of me. Hav­ing been around film sets since I was so young, I was al­ready pretty in­de­pen­dent.

The best ad­vice I have re­ceived was that hard work beats tal­ent when tal­ent doesn’t work hard enough.

The rea­son I love per­form­ing, is the buzz. Of course those but­ter­flies are go­ing up­side down and all around in­side me be­fore I go on, but I turn that feel­ing into en­ergy. And, I get to imag­ine what it would be like to ex­pe­ri­ence things that I never would, oth­er­wise – like be­ing the sus­pect in a mur­der trial.

If I could be some­one else for a day I’d be Walt Dis­ney. He was a cre­ative ge­nius and his legacy lives on.

My big­gest fear is let­ting peo­ple down.

My big­gest fault is that I take on too many things at the same time, I find it hard to say no.

I’m re­ally into go­ing to the gym and watch­ing my diet, par­tic­u­larly ap­proach­ing panto sea­son as we’ll be do­ing two shows a day for over three weeks. It’s very phys­i­cal work so I make sure to take my vi­ta­min shakes and try to get to the gym five times a week. I hardly drink – although when I do go out I en­joy a good time.

The gym can be a great es­cape, men­tally

as well as phys­i­cally. And, I love walk­ing our dog on Bull Is­land, not far from my home in Don­aghmede. If I’ve a prob­lem, the first per­son I call is Michaela. We were in pan­tos to­gether since we were 11, and started go­ing out when we were 15. She’s a pri­mary school teacher as well as a per­former.

The trait I most ad­mire in other peo­ple is a strong work ethic. I re­spect peo­ple who put their all into what­ever it is that they do. Michaela is the hard­est work­ing per­son you ever met. We run Stage Kidz Academy to­gether.

When it comes to nerves, we al­ways ad­vise our stu­dents to sim­ply take three deep breaths as they calm you and force your shoul­ders to re­lax and to re­mem­ber that the au­di­ence is com­ing to en­joy them­selves, not to find fault with you or take you down.

The thing that ir­ri­tates me most about other peo­ple are bad man­ners.

I’d like to be­lieve in an af­ter­life. I do think that the spirit con­tin­ues on in some way after a per­son passes away.

If I could change one thing in our so­ci­ety, I’d make sure that char­i­ties got more fund­ing. Es­pe­cially chil­dren’s or­gan­i­sa­tions We sup­port sev­eral of them, like Lau­raLynn.

So far, life has taught me the im­por­tance of be­ing re­silient and of tak­ing a chance – and also, of just be­liev­ing in your­self.

Fair City’s Ryan An­drews ap­pears in ■ the Olympia panto, Polly and the Magic Lamp from Fri­day, De­cem­ber 21 un­til Sun­day, Jan­uary 6, mati­nee and evening shows. Fea­tur­ing an all singing, all danc­ing cast, tick­ets are on sale now from tick­et­mas­ter.ie or from The Olympia Theatre Box Of­fice and by call­ing 0818 719 330.

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