Old Clongownians light up the small screen - Clongowes Wood College

Posted: 2nd December 2013

Following on the extraordinary success of the Rhetoric drama, ‘The Last Confession’ it seems only fitting that we acknowledge those who have taken their thespian talents beyond the Clongowes theatre.  Having considered several past-pupils who appeared throughout RTE’s fine crime drama Love/Hate in recent weeks, we now look beyond our shores and find two Old Clongownians who have found their feet on the small screen on either side of the Atlantic…

When Damien Molony (OC’02 – above) took to the stage in the humble Third Line production of Tiger’s Bones all the way back in 1998, it is doubtful that he had conclusively sussed his life path. When he left Clongowes in the summer of 2002 Damien opted to study Business, Economic and Social Studies in Trinity College, Dublin, but the acting dream that had been awakened on the Third Line stage failed to wither. In a recent interview with Chris Jackson of the Sunday Independent (November 3rd), Damien alludes to a seminal moment in his career:  “I’m not a particularly religious person, but I remember I heard the Parable of the Talents from the Book of Matthew, which implores those with a gift to use it. I woke up one morning, my head still ringing with the parable, and said – okay, I’m going to be an actor”.

Instead of immediately setting off for London, Damien completed his studies before putting in the hard yards in Dublin in an effort to learn exactly what it would take to become an actor. Working 14-hour days in a Ballsbridge newsagent, Damien spent his evenings immersed in drama at theatre companies in both Dundrum and Newbridge. “I really feel one of the best ways to learn is to just go out and do what you want to do. I learnt so much in that year by just constantly practicing”.

Ultimately, Damien’s work paid off and he was accepted to the prestigious Drama Centre in London, alma mater of Hollywood residents Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy and Colin Firth. Following nomination for the 2011 Spotlight Prize (for Britain’s top student actors), Damien secured the role of Giovanni in a modern adaptation of John Ford’s 1630’s classic ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore. While the production sparked some controversy, Damien’s performances were lauded. Such positive reviews brought him to the attention of the casting director of BBC’s Being Human, which lasted for five series, ending in March of this year. With his star on the rise, further convincing efforts as the lead in Nicholas Wright’s Travelling Light have recently landed Damien the role of Detective Constable Albert Flight in the acclaimed BBC drama Ripper Street (9pm Monday, BBC One). According to Chris Jackson: “stardom can be capricious, but one would still be unwise to bet against Damien Molony’s early promise”.

Further afield Richard Flood (OC’01) has also had a healthy career to date but as detective Tommy McConnell in NBC’s Crossing Lines, he has been able to exhibit his talents on a wider stage. In a drama about an elite international team of crime fighters who seek to purge a host of transnational mobsters, Richard plays a key role in fighting crime alongside renowned actors William Fichtner and Donald Sutherland. Richard first came to prominence in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Mark Brokaw for the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Following further well-received performances on stage, Richard was cast in several shorts before appearing in the TV mini-series Titanic: Blood and Steel. A move to America has proved fruitful for Richard. While he is currently filming the second series of Crossing Lines, he has recently appeared in National Geographic’s eagerly anticipated Killing Kennedy (produced by Ridley Scott), where he convincingly portrayed John F. Kennedy’s boyhood friend Kenny O’Donnell.

Mr Richard McElwee

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