Creativity and the arts is something that I believe can make the world a better place. After being involved in the creative arts world for many years, I have become friends with many creative people who are heavily involved in the arts. One of these people is Kieran Walsh. Kieran is a 22 year old semi-professional actor and writer from Waterford, Ireland. The earliest recollection Kieran has as an actor was back in primary school, where he performed in a Christmas nativity play. This play took on a different approach to the usual nativity play, however. The play instead focussed on three actors playing the wise men.

“I was Caspar” Kieran says, “So, I was delighted I was the one named after the ghost!” This was Kieran’s fist ever stage experience.

Kieran believes that this experience set into motion a chain of events that eventually led to him meeting his close friend, Adam Byrne, in secondary school who was attending Waterford Youth Arts at the time. Adam eventually convinced Kieran to go along with him to the drama classes at Waterford Youth Arts. This was in 2010 and, as Kieran says himself, “the rest is history”.

It was these classes that Kieran believes truly sparked his love for acting.

“I got a taste of how it was done on a regular basis”, says Kieran, “I kind of realised that this is something I can see myself being heavily involved in for a long time”. An important aspect for Kieran when it came to attending these drama classes was meeting likeminded people.

“I made me feel comfortable. It was very easy to fall into the rhythm there”. The classes at Waterford Youth Arts cemented what Kieran believes was a “distant notion” and became more realistic.

Since these classes in 2010, Kieran has performed in many of Waterford Youth Arts’ productions. When asked about his favourite role that he’s ever played, Kieran experienced a sort of dilemma.

“This is one of those questions that you can never get a good answer for, because whatever you say you’ll always think of something afterwards”. However, Kieran says he always comes back to Reverend Hale in The Crucible at Waterford’s famous Garter Lane Arts Centre.  “Nine times out of 10, the first one that always comes to mind when I do think about it is Reverend Hale”, Kieran says, “not to disparage any of the other roles I’ve done”. Kieran went on to say that this role was part of the first ever “proper stage show” he was a part of.

Photograph provided by Kieran Walsh

“To be on such an impressive set, working in period costumes, with period furniture, to be totally immersed in a whole world properly for the first time felt fantastic” Kieran said. Kieran says that Reverend Hale is one of those characters he wants to remember. As an actor, Kieran likes to challenge himself. According to Kieran, it gives you more to do and more things to explore. Kieran says “when you’re dealing with one-note characters, there’s only so much you can dig into”. Kieran believes that playing complex characters gives the feeling that you’re playing more than one character.

“You know you’re playing the one character” Kieran says “but it feels like you’re getting into the mind of another”.

Kieran is sort of a jack of all trades when it comes to the arts. He’s not only an actor, but he also writes.

“When I was a child growing up I was always a big reader. More so stories, rather than any book on any subject”. Kieran grew up a big fan of fantasy books, such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

“Because of the fact that I read so much when I was younger, it had influenced me”. While in primary school, Kieran won several class writing contests. When talking about these contest, Kieran said “It was a contest where you’d write a little paragraph, or a very short essay or poem”. Kieran went on to say that these contest reinforced in him the notion of telling stories, a concept that Kieran enjoys.

Kieran’s favourite subject in school was English. In relation to the over-analysing and critique of writing that comes with secondary school English in Ireland, Kieran both agrees and disagrees with it.

“It is definitely a good thing to know how to do, but I am not someone who wants to critique someone just for the sake of it”, Kieran says, “I don’t believe in outright attacking someone’s work”. In Kieran’s opinion, nothing hurts your case more than being sloppy when it comes to critiquing someone’s work. “It has to be neutral” Kieran says “it can’t be a case of ‘I didn’t like it’”.

Having worked with Kieran in the past, I was delighted to learn that his first completed written work involved me. This was a short scene he wrote called “a night in the trenches”, a scene written as part of Waterford Youth Arts’ “works in progress” event. This event involved members of Waterford Youth Arts writing, directing and acting in pieces written amongst them. I was fortunate to be given the responsibility of directing Kieran’s aforementioned piece. The scene centred around two soldiers during World War 1, who are standing watch outside of an army base.

In relation to making the world a better place, Kieran believes that the arts are certainly a way forward.

“You can express absolutely anything” Kieran says “there are a medium and a platform for every opinion”. It is clear from this that creativity means a lot to Kieran.

“It is probably the best therapy ever” says Kieran “obviously not as ideal as going to a doctor and seeing someone about it, but at the same time it is fantastic”. Kieran goes on to say how acting and writing is so cathartic and it allows you to “get weird”.

Kieran sees the arts as escapism. Since I’ve known Kieran, I was always blown away by how talented and humble he is when it comes to writing and acting. As he is only 22 years old, I can safely say that he is the future of arts in Ireland.