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Interview with Margaret McAuliffe (The Humours of Bandon)

03 February 2017
Interview with Margaret McAuliffe (The Humours of Bandon)

The Humours of Bandon, presented by Fishamble, won a Dublin Fringe Festival Little Gem Award and has been described as "terrific" by the Irish Times. Centred around Annie (16) and her all-consuming passion for Irish Dancing as she makes her way to the Irish Open Championship, it's a hilarious and heartwarming experience for anyone who's ever dreamed of being the best at something. Stefanie Preissner (Can't Cope, Won't Cope; Solpadeine is my Boyfriend) directs.

Ahead of her two-night run at Pavilion, we sat down with writer and star of The Humours of Bandon, Margaret MacAuliffe to discuss the show, her work and the unique world of Irish Dancing.


How would describe The Humours of Bandon in three words?

Well-structured nostalgia

How did your own personal experience influence the characters and story?

I took part in competitive Irish Dancing for 18 years so I had a wealth of material from which to draw from in terms of characters, events and environment. I started writing the play with one memory in mind, a searing memory that was rich in vivid detail. The rest of the story came out of that and is fictitious but I was lucky to have always been able to recall the detail surrounding the emotional moments in my life, this was just one of them.

You’ve danced from a young age - are you still involved in Irish dancing?

Irish Dancing is like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to do it, but you might find yourself too unfit to do it like you used to! After I retired from competitions 11 years ago, I completed my teacher’s diploma and opened up a school which I ran for three years before I had to give it up. I found it very difficult to juggle acting with dancing so last year I amalgamated the two to create this show!

Do you have any tips or techniques for keeping the energy level so high during the show?

Adrenaline does wonders for fitness but having retired from competitive Irish Dancing over 10 years ago and with a show about it on the horizon I had to prepare accordingly. I’m fit in that I run and I go to the gym but dancing fitness is another level altogether so I enlisted in Rince - an intensive, week-long Irish Dancing summer workshop run by Ronan McCormack along with a whole host of world renowned Irish Dancing talents such as Belinda Murphy and Breandán de Gallaí [Performing in Lïnger at Pavilion in March]. I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near my peak dancing fitness but I’m closer than before and it’s enough to get me through this show.

What was the reaction of the Irish dancing community to The Humours of Bandon?

The word I’ve gotten back from various sources is very positive. It seems to have struck a chord with all those who have similar memories.

After you’ve finished this national tour, what will you be working on?

I’ve just finished a two month run of Anna Karenina in the Abbey and I’m straight into rehearsals for the Humours of Bandon. I will be bringing my laptop with me on tour and hopefully will have a new play written by the time it’s all over.


The Humours of Bandon is coming to Pavilion for two nights - book your tickets now

Tue 7 & Wed 8 Feb, 8pm | €16/14 | BOOK ONLINE NOW (No booking fee)