Longford actor’s promising career is no Stalemate

Jamie McClean (left) with the other cast members of 'Stalemate': Seamus O'Rourke, Fiona Maria Fitzpatrick, and Tommy Sharkey.
Longford actor Jamie McClean is set to play one of the lead roles in the Backstage Theatre’s Canal Studio production of ‘Stalemate’ – a new play written and directed by the theatre’s artist-in-residence, Seamus O’Rourke. The production, is currently being rehearsed ahead of its debut at Backstage this Thursday, May 16, after which the crew will embark on a nationwide tour.

Longford actor Jamie McClean is set to play one of the lead roles in the Backstage Theatre’s Canal Studio production of ‘Stalemate’ – a new play written and directed by the theatre’s artist-in-residence, Seamus O’Rourke. The production, is currently being rehearsed ahead of its debut at Backstage this Thursday, May 16, after which the crew will embark on a nationwide tour.

“This is my first time to work with Seamus O’Rourke,” Jamie admitted. “He’s amazing to work for, though. I’ve never worked with someone with as much talent, input and vision. He’s also funny and enjoyable, and he’s very much a ‘hands-on’ type of director. He’s constantly approaching us with new ideas and he knows how to get the best out of the actors. I’ve learned a lot in the time I’ve spent with him.”

Explaining the plot behind the play, Jamie revealed he plays the role of a robber who attempts to rob a pub after-hours with his accomplice: “The robbers hold up a publican after he closes up for the night, but their raid doesn’t go according to plan. It’s an extremely funny story – that’s all I’ll say about it!”

“We’ll be heading out on a nationwide tour after the play finishes in Backstage,” said Jamie, who has also toured with a production previously. “When I was in college, I toured around the country with a production of a play called ‘The Big Book of Nursery Crimes’.”

Despite still being only 21 years-old, Jamie already has a long association with the Backstage Theatre. “I started with the Backstage Theatre’s Youth Group when I was 16 years-old. This is the eighth or ninth production I’ve been involved in,” he said. “I played the lead in the Backstage Theatre Group’s recent production of ‘The Playboy of the Western World’, and also played high-profile roles in ‘Lithium Waltz’ and ‘Philadelphia Here I Come’.”

In addition to his on-stage acting exploits, Jamie has also appeared in a series of recent television commericals: “I acted in four TV advertisements for McDonalds, where I played a character called Flynn, who is supposed to come from Longford. Originally he was supposed to be from Wexford, but I asked the director if it could be changed and he agreed.”

Having acted for the screen and on-stage, Jamie has noticed a contrast between the two. “I love screen acting, but with theatre you have to give it your all. There are no second chances and it’s great way to develop your acting ability,” he noted.

And what does the future hold for the young Longford thespian? “Well, we’ll be touring for most of June,” he said, before adding: “I’ve nothing else in the pipeline at the moment, but I’m thinking of moving back to Dublin because I want to concentrate more on my acting career there.”

Stalemate will be performed at the Backstage Theatre from Thursday, May 16 – Saturday, May 18 and early booking is advised. Tickets can be purchased from the theatre’s box office on 043 3347888 or www.backstage.ie, and from Farrell & Coy in Longford town.