a short film series with Kildare connections has narrowly missed out on winning RTE’s online Storyland competition. Cuckoo, which stars Leixlip actress Orla Gildea was just out-voted on the RTE website last Sunday March 25. It had been chosen as one of eight finalists out of 100 entries to make it to the final and the public had the final say.
Cuckoo is a series about a rebellious 17-year old, Niamh Keegan, who is trying to find out who she really is. Orla plays Niamh’s mother and assistant director Alan Rogers is also from Kildare.
Orla is not only experienced actress but a creative arts therapist. She has been also teaching speech and drama for the last ten years and starred in many productions.
“We were eliminated by just 51 votes so it was very close,” explained Orla, “We had done really well. Over 100 applied and only eight were chosen to go through. We got through the first round but we were eliminated in the second round. It was disappointing for everyone involved but we had great fun making it and they were a fantastic group of people to work with.”
Orla moved to Leixlip in 1990 from Dublin.
“I had been working in the ESB. It was a great job and I loved it but I left it to pursue drama. It was a big decision but I have no regrets,” she added.
Orla also teaches drama classes in Celbridge, and Leixlip. She is also involved with Celbridge drama group, Insight and is an Examiner (up to Diploma Level) with the Irish Board of Speech and Drama and has adjudicated at Speech and Drama Festivals.
Her work as a Creative Arts Therapist (specialising in Dramatherapy) is based at a residential hospital, national primary school and special care unit setting. She is an experienced facilitator with special needs groups including intellectual disabilities and autism.
The busy mum of three has a very impressive CV. Over the years she has acted in many roles and her theatre appearances include Riverbank, Draiocht, Moat and Smock Alley Theatres.
For the last two years Orla has performed in ‘A Scare at Halloween’ presented by the Red Thread Theatre Company, of which she is a founder member. An extract from this show was featured on Kazoo TV, RTE 2 on October 30 2009.
Orla also completed the Performance Writing Course in the Gaiety School of Acting and her own penned play was performed in Smock Alley Theatre as part of the requirement for this course. This play received a bursary from the Arts Department at Kildare County Council for recording in May 2011. The play, titled “What happened to our future”, is based on a couple and their son and how they cope with the recession. Orla is hoping to get her script on air in the near future.
In October 2010 she also appeared in a lead role in one of the episodes of the award winning Idir Mna on TG4 and in March 2011 she took on the role of Margaret in the short film, Hunchback of County Meath.
Drama is a passion for Orla and she believes it has a huge role to play in developing children’s self confidence and personal development.
To check out Cuckoo you can log on to http://www.rte.ie/drama/featured/storyland.