The new season of Drama On One starts this Sunday on RTÉ Radio 1 with actor-turned-writer Liz Fitzgibbon's Kicking All The Boxes - Liz writes for Culture about her journey from Youghal to the Abbey stage, and how a passion for kickboxing gave her the inspiration to write her first play.
I'm from Youghal in Co,.Cork . Its a picturesque town, situated on the mouth of the Backwater. It has a rich culture of musicians, artists and actors, and it's here where it all started for me.
I would have performed with the musical society from a young age - in fact, I told my Mum at four that I was going to be an actor, and she said absolutely.There is no history of anyone acting in my family, but we run a seafood restaurant called Aherne's which I worked in from a young age, and in a way the catering industry is like being on stage. From then, it was settled that acting was what I was going to do.
I went to Gael Scoail Chorain, which was very creative, and then secondary school in Midleton College which only ever encouraged me to follow my dream. After finishing school I started a degree in Drama at Goldsmiths in London; although I adored London and Goldsmiths, I knew that if I wanted to become a professional actor I needed to go to drama school. So I auditioned for the Gaiety School Of Acting, and got in. On graduating from the Gaiety, I was lucky to start working straight away, and have been working solidly since, from being on stages around the country and in the UK to working in RTÉ or performing on the Abbey stage, where I have been lucky enough to appear seven times.
Listen to Drama On One: Kicking All The Boxes in full below:
I love devising work and improvising, but never really considered myself a writer. I was encouraged in the past year to write my own show by people I have worked closely with, and who believed that I had a show in me. That's how Kicking All The Boxes came about. I was a competitive kickboxer all through my teens, but decided to stop fighting when I graduated from drama school, as I thought it would be a good idea to stop getting kicked in the face for a while. I became focused on my career, and coudln't see a way back to kickboxing although I missed it dearly.
Fishamble's Show In A Bag initiative and the Dublin Fringe gave me an opportunity to bring my two passions together - so that's what I did. I also wanted to look at what it meant to be a female at a certain stage of your life, what you were expected to have to show for yourself and how certain choices will spin your life in very different directions. I was extremely lucky to be guided through the process of writing the show by Mikel Murfi who is a mentor and a dear friend, and frankly a creative genius. I wrote every word myself, but Mikel was by my side every step of the way and I am eternally grateful for his support.
When RTÉ Radio Drama approached me about doing the show as a radio play, initially I was surprised as it is very physical and didn't know if it would translate to radio, but in fact it works beautifully. I am hugely thankful to Gorretti Slavin and the rest of the team for believing in it, and having the vision to see the work progress across a different medium.
Kicking All The Boxes, written and performed by Liz Fitzgibbon, Drama On One, Sunday May 13th at 8pm - listen to it (and other Drama On One presentations) here.