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Aodán Fox steals the show

THERE was great news for Shannon Musical Society at the weekend as Aodán Fox won the Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as Ursula in its production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Also James Cullinan was runner up in Best Youth Performance for his performance as Flounder, while the Society’s Front of House Management team were runners up for Best House Management.
On Monday, Aodán said he was very pleased.
“I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s 31 years since my first AIMS award and I thought I was done and dusted. I don’t do as much on stage as I used to do, so it was very nice. To get the nomination was fantastic, to win it was a big shock and it made for a great night,” he said.
Of the role he won the award for, Aodán said, “The part I was nominated for is traditionally a female role, the part of Ursula in the Little Mermaid. When Shannon Musical Society announced the show, I did a little bit of research on it and I discovered that the original Disney character, the visual for it, was based on a drag queen called Divine.
“I listened to the music and I thought a man could play the role, the songs are quite low. I didn’t think any more about it, I decided I wasn’t going to do the show, but then I messaged the director and asked if he was open to a male Ursula. He said he wouldn’t be adverse to it, if they were any good. I went and threw my hat in the ring.”
Playing a woman wasn’t easy and left him with some new perspectives.
“I won’t say it wasn’t a challenge, because it was,” he said.
“My appreciation for women went up with what they go through getting themselves ready, hair removal and high heeled shoes. It wasn’t an easy one, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
His whole family was involved in the show.
“I was very blessed to share the stage with them,” he said.
“My wife actually played the part of a male chef, one of my daughter’s was a sea gull and my youngest girl played Ariel. That was beautiful, I got to be the baddie to her princess. As a family we had an absolute blast and to win an award for it was the cherry on top of a perfect cake.”
With a huge passion for performance, it is far from his first award.
“Over the years I think I’ve amassed 16 nominations and I think this is my tenth win, in various categories. This is my first time ever being nominated in a best supporting role, so I think I have the whole set now! It’s time to stop!” he laughs.
Aodán feels that performing in a show is great for youngsters.
“I think there’s so much to be gained in terms of personal development with this kind of activity,” he said.
“In today’s world kids spend so much time online, on their phones, in solitary pastimes. Any kind of a team sport is brilliant, but not every kid is that way inclined, not every kid is good at sport, and this is as much of a team activity as any sport.
“I was a very shy youngster and I’m very passionate about doing this in schools and with the stage school to try and help kids not to be that shy youngster.
“If you’re not sporty you can get marginalised very easily, because there many not be something else where you can interact and excel.
“This kind of activity offers that and I’m thrilled that so many past pupils of the stage school are keeping it up as a hobby and going onto the musical society. It’s a social thing, it’s a confidence building thing, and it’s just a great all round activity.”
No doubt he will be stuck in the Shannon Musical Society’s next production and he has other plans too.
“I’m currently speaking to the Comprehensive School, they’re talking about doing a musical in November and they want me to direct it,” he said.
“We’re researching that at the moment to see what we can come up with.
“Shannon Musical Society have announced they will be doing a new musical called Cry Baby next year, it only had its amateur premier in Shannon earlier this year. It’s a fantastic young person’s musical.
“There are a lot of younger parts from late teens to mid twenties. I’m thrilled they are doing that because there is so much young talent about at the moment, it’s great to see the musical society harnessing the opportunity to get them on the stage.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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