The Theatre Royal in Waterford is over 230 years old but for the first time in its history an artist-in-residence is in situ at the renowned venue, as part of a programme of work which will continue until summer.

The honour of filling the seat fell to actor Jamie Beamish, who grew up in Waterford city and had his first taste of treading the boards in the Theatre Royal, and the role is one of many he has been filling lately.

Mr Beamish has just finished shooting the third series of Derry Girls, while his role as Nigel Berbrooke in Bridgerton brought him to new audiences as the period drama was the most-viewed series on Netflix until recently.

Meanwhile, he has also finished work in Canada on a new western series, but his stint as artist-in-residence at his "home" theatre has brought him back to his roots.

"There's many memories. In 1992, the first time I ever want on stage was in a production of 'Chicago'. It was an amateur musical by Stage Fright Musical Society, directed by the late great Brian Flynn. Many people in Waterford would know and remember Brian.

"Before that I wouldn't really have come to the theatre much, my family wasn't at the time really into theatre or anything like that. A couple of my friends were getting involved and stuff and I kind of wanted to be in with the crowd and all the rest, so I came into it and the rest is history. It's mad."

He "got the bug" and a career in theatre and film has followed. Now he is back working in Waterford and the place where it all began.

"That was really exciting when they asked me to be the first artist-in-residence here. At the moment now, I'm working on a new piece of theatre because I write as well, I've written a couple of plays. So I'm working on a new play for the Theatre Royal here, using their resources... For me it's a big thing, because this is where it all started."

The move is a win-win for all involved, with the theatre benefitting from Jamie Beamish's experience and knowledge as well as his profile; while a number of different groups such as third-level students, cultural bodies and transition year pupils have also been involved.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

The latter group are taking part in a series of workshops with the actor, designed to give them an insight into the world of theatre and being an actor.

One of the workshops involved Mr Beamish showing students how to make a "self-tape", record a piece of work on their phones which would be good enough to send to casting directors, for the purposes of seeking auditions.

"I thought this would be a great experience to get involved in and a great opportunity as well," St Angela's Ursuline Secondary School student Jenna Dunphy said afterwards. "It's been great, really good. I've enjoyed the self-tape so far, just to get a look into possibly what my future could be because it's what I want to do anyway."

Dylan Power from De La Salle College in Waterford said the experience has been "amazing" already.

"Learning about all the aspects of theatre and everything, is great. I love theatre and film and it's just one of my favourite things to do," he said.

"I think the highlight so far has been the self-tapes because it was very interesting, getting some information on how to do one and the best tips for it."

Emma Power from Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School agreed: "I've always had a love of theatre and music and musical theatre is one of my favourite things and I always love going to the theatre, so I thought that if I did this it would be a great experience."

According to theatre manager Mary Boland, the appointment made sense all round. "Jamie has been treading the boards in the Theatre Royal for his whole life, or for the majority of it, and since returning from London we've been having these conversations about potential partnerships and opportunities.

"Getting Jamie back into the Theatre Royal building was a real priority for us and so he had done a few pieces of work and then, one day, it was like a Eureka moment: 'Well, how about becoming a theatre artist in residence, in a building you know and love, let's give you a set of keys and let's get you in here working on something that you want to work on and then engaging with everyone outside our door, on something or other.'"

So far, according to Ms Boland, for everyone involved it's been "enormously beneficial".