Young Longford actor James Quinn for Abbey Theatre performance

Jessica Thompson


Jessica Thompson


Longford actor James Quinn

Longford actor James Quinn.

Young Longford actor James Quinn has been selected to take part in the National Youth Theatre performance of Rossum's Universal Robots in the Abbey Theatre this August.

James will be taking part in a five-week professional residential schedule and the costs involved are not small.
“The National Youth Theatre are very generous in that when you go to do the production, all expenses are paid. But they do ask you to make a contribution,” said James who was “bouncing off the walls” when he found out that he'd been selected.

Youth Theatre Ireland subsidises the cost of €5,300 per participant and the Backstage Youth Theatre will contribute towards this by hosting a concert entitled 'Jammin' for James', with top class acts such as Katie Gallagher, Jordi O'Rourke and an array of talent from Backstage Youth Theatre.
The play itself, Rossum's Universal Robots, deals with a company that creates top class robots in a factory.
“Basically the company thinks that they've created the greatest privilege to mankind - this free work force of what are essentially human beings, but artificially made.
“But these robots start thinking for themselves and - not to give too much away - these men soon realise that what they thought was this great idea of a free labour force could bring about, not the greatestprivilege of the world, but the world's destruction.
“They then have to deal with the consequences of creating such power.”
Rehearsals begin in a couple of weeks and the show itself will run from August 21 to 26.
“I got the part of Alquist. He's the main worker in the factory and in another sense he's almost the conscience.
“He contemplates everything that's going on and he's very aware that there could be consequences to the immense power that these men have come into possession of,” said James.
The young actor hopes that his future career will be one filled with theatre, the big screen and the small screen and says that if there was one actor he'd aspire to be like, it's Eddie Redmayne.
“Any time I'm watching him, I think could I ever reach that level of talent. He's absolutely amazing,” said James.
Backstage Youth Theatre has been a huge stepping stone for James.
“It's a funny story,” he laughs when asked how he got into it.
“My mum said to me in 2013 that two of my friends were going to try it and I said I didn't want to go next or near it, but she said 'just go in and try it'.
“So right up to the moment I went in, I didn't want to go. Mum said 'I'll pick you up in two hours' and it had just taken those two hours for me to fall deeply in love with theatre.”
James has been doing theatre ever since, but says the BYT has taught him a lot more than just acting and performance skills.
“One thing you learn from BYT as a teenager growing up in Ireland, is that you don't have to conform to stereotypical hobbies such as GAA,” he said.
“There are other things out there to enjoy. We're so fortunate to have such a great theatre in Longford.”
James is overwhelmed by the amount of support that he has received, especially from Paul Higgins of BYT who has been the main organiser of Jammin' for James.
Tickets for Rossum's Universal Robots are available from
Jammin' for James takes place in the Backstage Theatre on July 21 at 8pm.