Alumni Spotlight

Roseanna Purcell - Actress

2 Jul
Roseanna Purcell

UCC graduate, Roseanna Purcell is currently starring as the female lead in ‘Copper Face Jack’s: The Musical’ written by Paul Howard of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly fame. The play, which is running at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre until 12th August, promises to be the hit of the summer and has been described as ‘Moulin Rouge with slow sets’! Roseanna talks to us about her time at UCC

Courses studied and year of graduation
I studied Drama and Theatre Studies and English at UCC, graduating in 2010 with a BA (Hons)

Best memory of University College Cork
It's so hard to pick just one, UCC was the time of my life! I pine for those three years a lot, of hanging out around campus and Cork city with the friends I made for life, putting on productions in The Granary Theatre, house parties, strolling into town for a night in The Bróg, dropping bags into the library to secure a study spot...then heading out into the sunshine to goof around (I studied at some stage, I swear) Gorilla theatre pranks with UCC Dramat, the sense of community and feeling a part of somewhere that was big enough to avoid people but small enough to run into people. Sometimes when I tell someone I went to UCC I get a response of regret that they didn't have that "real college experience", UCC was the place I grew into myself, I talk about it a lot with huge affection and appreciation and I cherish all those memories of my time there.

How has your time at UCC helped you get to where you are now?
After UCC I went to The Gaiety School to study acting full time and the degree in drama and theatre studies really stood to me. I wouldn't have known about various theatre approaches, styles, playwrights, practitioners, and so on. I simply wouldn't have been ready for the real world of theatre was going to throw at me if I hadn't gotten the academic and practical ground training I did at UCC.

What is your advice for current UCC students?
Don't play it safe. College is your time to really explore and try and fail in a safe surrounding. Find a society or group you're interested in and really get stuck in. Go to bars you normally wouldn't go to. Listen to music you normally wouldn't listen to. Go see plays in The Granary. Explore the campus and the city. Dress weird. Dare to be different. If you need help, ask for it. And always be up for a laugh!

What person in UCC had the most positive influence on you?
Easy answer- Ger Fitzgibbon, the head of the Drama and Theatre Studies department and English Lecturer during my time there. Ger to this day is the best person to my mind who can facilitate a playful and productive environment. He has such a brilliant, independent mind, he is so passionate about his work and is so supportive, nurturing and encouraging of everyone under his wing. He is still someone I would feel comfortable contacting for advice, which I have done before in my professional career. I also love bumping into him randomly when I'm in Cork and catching up. He's a pure joy!
Andrew King was also a lesson in how to command a room over hundreds of students with total charm, fun and, of course, Frank Sinatra. I'd never miss one of his lectures, we adored him! He was really inspiring and the essence of care-free cool

Were you involved in any clubs or societies?
I was heavily involved with UCC Dramat. I was a first-year rep on the committee and then Developments officer in second year but my best memory was getting to play "Dinah" in "On Raftery's Hill" by Marina Carr, a Dramat production that went on to win lots of ISDAs (Irish Student Drama Awards). We had such a surreal time putting on that play, it was really special and still one of my proudest stage experiences to date. Just the other week a gang of us got together to go and see The Abbey Theatre's production and we reminisced something fierce about our own glory days. It was a brilliant Society for people who mainly weren't studying drama or theatre but wanted to direct, produce, or help with set or lights, or act, or just be part of something creative. Societies like that bring a whole new social life and circle of friends into your world and, I suppose like anything in life, the more you commit the more you get out of it.

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