My five year plan was realised in five months

Having graduated from The Lir Academy last year, actress Julie Maguire has landed herself a series of dream roles, writes JANE McNAMARA
My five year plan was realised in five months
Actress Julie Maguire.

CORK’S latest rising star, Julie Maguire, 22, from Rathpeacon, graduated from The Lir Academy in Dublin last year and is quickly realising her dream, with some key performances.

She recently performed in Susanne R. Day’s lost play, Toilers,as reconstructed by Painted Bird at the Cork Midsummer Festival.

In the short time since graduating from the prestigious Lir Academy, Julie performed in last year’s Glow Worm Fringe Festival and landed a major role in a production in the Abbey. Her most recent performance, in Toilers, a devised piece focusing on the life of Susanne R. Day, will run in the Dublin Fringe from September 19 to 23.

Julie says: “Susanne R. Day was a suffragette from Cork. It has been a great piece to be involved in and it was so lovely to be part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. It was my first professional acting job in Cork.

“I was able to spend a lot of time with my family and friends around the rehearsal time. I can’t wait to bring it back up to Dublin and see what the reaction is like there.”

Maguire started in The Lir in 2013, just after her Leaving Cert.

Director Fiona McGeown, in rehearsal with actors, Julie Maguire and Seána O’Hanlon. Picture: Enrique Carnicero
Director Fiona McGeown, in rehearsal with actors, Julie Maguire and Seána O’Hanlon. Picture: Enrique Carnicero

“The Lir is part of Trinity and the only place to offer a degree course in acting in Ireland. There are three rounds of auditions to get in and they are intense. The course is great and tries to prepare you for the acting world.

“In third year you do a showcase, which is basically you performing for the industry. You do a two minute monologue and a four minute scene to show the world what you have learned in three years. We do one in Dublin and one in London. The hope is it to walk away with an agent but it is not always the case. I was lucky enough to be picked up by an agent based in London.”

For Julie, landing a role in Anna Karenina last December was a dream come true as it meant she would be on the famous Abbey stage.

“At the end of your time at The Lir, you do your plan A and plan B. In my plan A I said I wanted to be in the Abbey in the first five years of my career. When I graduated I went straight to do a fringe festival and while in rehearsal for that I did the audition for Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and got it. My five year plan kind of just happened within the first five months! I was thrilled.

“I played a character called Kitty. She was similar to me in some ways and I loved playing her, she was quite funny. I also loved being able to use my own Cork accent. Although it is set in Russia, everyone used their own accent for the production.”

Now Maguire is based in Dublin and going for auditions regularly.

“It is constant. You go for auditions all the time. Sometimes you get some, other times you don’t.

“I sometimes audition in London and would love to work in the UK since there is so much more work being made over there. But I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to train at home. If it had been ten years ago I wouldn’t have had the choice, so for that, I am grateful.

“I would say to anyone interested in a career in acting, if you have any bit of doubt, stay away. It is not easy. There is rejection and going without work for months and having to supplement it with other work.

“You have to believe there is something at the end of the tunnel. You have to want it 110 per cent, and that’s why I am doing it. For me, there is nothing else.”

Leah Moore, Seána O’Hanlon and Julie Maguire. Picture: John Allen.
Leah Moore, Seána O’Hanlon and Julie Maguire. Picture: John Allen.

Maguire credits an old drama teacher for sparking her interest in acting.

“I went to St Angela’s on Patrick’s Hill for six years and I started going to the Cork School of Music when I was about 12. I had a drama teacher called Regina Crowley and I went to her for six years. The skills that I learned from Regina I still remember and use today.

“With acting you always want to be truthful, you want to be real, that is the goal. When you read a script you might see the character a certain way but the director might have a different idea so you collaborate on the character.”

What about the future?

“I want to do everything! One of the reasons that I love this career is that there is so much potential. People go to see plays and watch films all over the world. Probably my biggest downfall at the moment is that I don’t write, or write anything I would want someone else to see! But in the future I want to; it is a huge thing to make your own work.”

Julie added: “I have three younger sisters, Alice, Sally and Patty. Growing up we were always singing and dancing. My parents don’t have a background in the arts but are very supportive. My mother, Tilly, minds us and my father, Frank, works in IT. They came to see me in The Abbey seven times and came to see me in Cork Midsummer Festival. They will, no doubt, come up to Dublin to see me again!

“In that way I know I am lucky, not everyone has it as easy as I have had it and I am really grateful my family support my dream.”

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