Keogh women join forces for new sister act
SISTERS Vanessa and Sophie Keogh from Bray are following in the footsteps of their mother Irish, and forming a speech and drama school.
The two women have joined forces to combine their considerable experience and talent for the benefit of the children of Bray.
The Keogh School of Speech and Drama’s first 12-week term will open on Wednesday, September 18, at Epworth Hall on Florence Road. Junior and senior infants will go from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and first class to sixth class from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Iris Keogh, a speech and drama teacher of many years’ standing, has been an inspiration for both Vanessa and Sophie, who grew up going to their mum’s classes.
‘As kids she brought us to all of her classes since we were four,’ said Sophie. ‘We though every kid went to eight drama classes a week,’ said Vanessa, who would be put on her mum’s bike to head off to the class. At other times, they were held in the house.
The whole family grew up immersed in the theatre. ‘We grew up in a theatrical house,’ said Vanessa. Iris and her late husband Liam met in the Lantern Theatre.
Vanessa trained in the Gaiety school of acting and has performed in rolls across theatre, TV and film, including Fair City, The Clinic, The Tudors and Veronica Guerin.
Sophie did a degree in performing arts at Swansea Metropolitan University. Passionate about her craft, Sophie is a member of Square One and has had lead roles in a number of productions.
Both sisters have a higher diploma in drama education from Griffith College. Sophie did teaching observation with her mum at St Patrick’s school.
Watching her mother’s methods from an adult perspective and with the benefit of education was an inspiration to her, and another source of knowledge to ad to the growing fountain. Vanessa has been teaching drama for different schools across the country for the past 15 years.
Sophie is the resident drama teacher at Johnstown, Killiney, and last year established her own school in Killiney. It has been a hugely successful enterprise, with over 110 children now enrolled. ‘People have been saying why don’t Vanessa and I come together as a team,’ said Sophie.
‘It’s something that’s been in the pipeline for a long time. There’s such demand.’ With different and complementary skills, they thought that two heads would be better than one and decided to proceed with the project. Vanessa is also an experienced writer.
She has written a collection of plays, sketches and pantomimes for children. They have been performed nationwide, and those original works and more will be brought into this new venture. Sophie already used some of her sister’s work for her own school in Killiney and said the parents were astonished by the quality of the writing. Their objective is to see their students blossoming and growing in confidence, as well as skill, and above all having fun. ‘We are so excited to be carrying on the family tradition,’ they said.
Vanessa and Sophie Keogh outside Epworth Hall on Florence Road, Bray.