It’s been an exciting year for Northern Ireland actor Kerry Rooney; he’s already been to Buckingham Palace to collect his MBE for services to older people and drama, and next week he will be recreating another rags to riches story in hit musical Me and My Girl.
The Belfast thespian and Artistic Director at leading local arts organisation Kaleidoscope, will be returning to the stage in the Grand Opera House for the first time in five years to take on the lead role in St. Agnes Choral Society’s production of Me and My Girl. “It’s a great thrill to be back at the Opera House,” Kerry told us. “I can hardly believe it’s been five years. The Opera House is one of the best places to perform in the whole country. The auditorium has a wonderful atmosphere, the audience are so close to you, it’s fabulous to keep looking up and up and seeing more and more faces. The noise of the crowd is incredible when they laugh or applaud. There’s no other venue quite like it. Me and My Girl is the perfect show for Opera House, it’s an old style musical, full of humour and some great singalong songs like The Sun Has Got His Hat On and Lambeth Walk.”
Speaking of beautiful surroundings, we asked Kerry about his recent visit to the Palace. “It was a wonderful day,” he said. “My wife, my mother and my sister came with me. It was incredible to see inside Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles was making the awards and he took time to speak to every recipient, we chatted for a few minutes about the work that I do through my organisation Kaleidoscope and he spoke very kindly about all the great work that is going on here in Northern Ireland.” Kerry is the Director of local theatre company Kaleidoscope. As well as producing their own shows like Pride and Prejudice and Talking Heads, the company uses drama as a way of working with groups like older people, teenagers and young people with disabilities. “Being involved in drama can do so much for people,” Kerry explained. “It’s not just about getting on stage, it’s a way of making friends, challenging yourself, developing your confidence and having a sense of belonging.” This is Kerry’s first show with the St. Agnes Choral Society and he’s loving the experience so far. “It’s great to work with a company like St. Agnes, they are so friendly and welcoming to everyone, they are also an incredibly talented and hard working group. This show is going to blow the audience away and do what theatre does best, give everyone a great night out and have them leaving with a smile on their face.” You can catch Me and My Girl at the Grand Opera House from Tuesday 9 to Saturday May 12.