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Portrait By Lorna Fitzsimons

Our SHINE Festival in March 2021 was a roaring success, smashing all of our targets with 40,000 girls attending. Over 80 incredible, authentic and badass women joined us to celebrate being a girl for 3 whole days!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be catching up with some of the speakers to share why we love them so much and why you should love them too. These women are joyful, smart, positive and hugely inspiring…

For today’s “Shona Meets”, here’s the gorgeous and talented Megan O’Malley…

Portrait By Lorna Fitzsimons
Megan, for those who might not be familiar with you, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an actor and writer from Co. Wexford. 

I decided to go to drama school rather than college after secondary school and for me, it was absolutely the right decision. While in the Gaiety School of Acting, I fell in love with playwriting and creating my own original works of theatre. I decided I wanted to pursue this further and in 2018 I graduated from University College Dublin with a Master’s degree in Theatre Practice. 

I have spent the past few years writing and creating my own work as well as working with theatre companies to devise new plays.

How did you find yourself in an acting career, was it something you always wanted to do?

I always wanted to be a performer. From a very young age, I would make a stage for myself in my kitchen and force my parents and grandparents to watch me perform. Westlife lip syncs were a speciality of mine! 

I joined  County Wexford Youth Theatre when I was about 13. It was the highlight of my week. I found people who had similar interests and felt so at home performing. Seeing other members of the youth theatre who were older than me go to drama school made it seem like a realistic goal. I was lucky to have friends and family who encourage me to pursue my passion from a young age. 

I trained in the Gaiety School of Acting’s two-year full-time programme and upon graduating, started working in the industry while also creating my own work. 

What do you think your biggest achievement is to date? 

My biggest achievement to date is getting a master’s degree without first getting an undergraduate degree. The two-year course I did was incredibly intense and sets you up to work professionally as an actor. However, as a degree is not a requirement for an actor, there isn’t one attached to the course. 

This meant the third academic essay I ever wrote was my MA thesis!  It was a very challenging experience and I am proud of myself for achieving it. 

Portrait By Lorna Fitzsimons
Who would be your dream celebrity to act alongside? 

Oooh, so many! I mean obviously, Meryl Streep. 

I think Olivia Colman and Phoebe Waller-Bridge would be so much fun to work with. 

We know that recently there has been a pause on live theatre, but can you give us an insight as to what you’ll be starring in next?

My next project will be a live stream of a play I wrote called Forgive Me, Father. During 2020 I was one of eight playwrights who developed new plays as part of the Wexford Playwright Studio. We hoped to stage a rehearsed reading to a live audience at the end of 2020. Due to restrictions, we recorded our rehearsed readings and they will be streamed later this month. 

I was so lucky to be involved in such a creative process during the lockdown, I can’t wait for people to see what we created. 

Quick-Fire round: 

I’m bad at quick-fire, I want to expand on all of these but here we go!

Pineapple on pizza, yes or no?

Yes.

Favourite song to have a good bop to?

Lovesick Girls  – Blackpink

Favourite place in Ireland to visit? 

West Cork

Favourite holiday you’ve been on? 

Disney World.

We were also very lucky to have Megan as one of our Art Stage SHINE speakers this year!  Check out her incredible video below!

We don’t know about you, but we are so glad to have Megan in our SHONA Community! It’s mad to think of how many phenomenal women are on this little Island of ours! Stay tuned to see who else we got chatting to! 

P.S. If you have a suggestion of who you would like us to chat to next and have some burning questions, why not let us know on any of our socials ( @shonadotie ) or pop us an email at info@shona.ie 

If you would like to support us and the work that we do,  you can donate below ❤