Meet The Artist: Shane McCaffrey

Shane McCaffrey is a 48 year old Actor and Performer from Ballymena, but currently living in Antrim, Northern Ireland. When Shane’s son Brandon was 9 years old he told his dad he wanted to be an actor, Shane being a typical Northern Irish dad replied with, “aye no problem son”. However, Brandon was persistent and kept on at Shane that he really wanted to become an actor. So, for his thirteenth birthday Shane enrolled his son to the local theatre school, Starburst. Shane noticed his son’s confidence growing and how much Brandon felt at home whilst attending Starburst. One day the owner asked if any parents would like to perform in their latest show, Shane said he would give it a go and ten year’s later Shane’s been, “giving it a go” with becoming a full time actor.

What genre / style do you create in?

Acting for film, TV, stage, musical theatre I also play different characters in haunted houses and community events. Also Voice Over work.

What would you be best known for?

Currently I play Pablo’s Uncle john in Cbeebies children’s show, Pablo. 

What would you consider your biggest achievement?

Becoming a Dad.

What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?

Never give up, never stop learning and value your work.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Walking onto a stage in front of a live audience for the first time.

Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?

Before acting I trained in Chinese Kung Fu and kickboxing and have a purple black sash (Brown Belt) Winning titles at local national and international level, I have four amateur world titles in Kung Fu forms and self defense. I am divorced and have one son who is 24, his name is Brandon named after Bruce Lees son. I also love travelling.

Tell us about your most recent work?

The last short film I did was a short written and directed by Dominic Curran called Evergreen starring myself and Patrick Rocks. Its still in its festival run and was recently in the Cork Film Festival. I’m very proud of it and had a nice time working with a full professional and great crew.

 What would you like us to tell people about?

I have to mention Pablo as it is a very special show, because Pablo is a six year old boy with autism. It starts off in live action and when Pablo is dealing with stuff he doesn’t understand he goes into his animated world of animals which he draws and they try to help him understand. Another thing about the show is that the voice actors have autism or are on the spectrum, they also write and input into the story lines from their real life experiences. I think it is a fantastic way of raising awareness about children and adults with autism, I feel very honored to be a small part of this informative and special show.

If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?

I get to play dress up for a living playing different character’s some really nice and some not so nice. I also bring writers stories to life from paper to screen or stage.

What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?

Probably my first ever role when I started out, I played Widow Twankey and I had this dress on, hat was a tad t00 small for my big frame , clown shoes and the rarest make-up ever put on me alongside a big high red wig which I put on back to front!

What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?

I would say go to your local drama school or join an amateur drama group get a taste for it enjoy it and have fun, take as many singing and acting classes as you can, most of the professional theatres run workshops which are not that expensive and surround yourself with like minded people that will encourage you and believe in you. One last thing if acting and performing is for you, then you have to wake up every morning and the first thing you think of is acting or performing and your prepared to put the hours and hard work in then that is what you’re meant to do, no matter what anyone else thinks or says.

Anything else you want to tell people about yourself or your work?

For me acting is not about fame or riches its about producing good work and learning something from every project I do, I take little pieces from everyone and use what suits me, the rest I throw away to create my own path to earn respect from my from my peers.

Who do you look up to and why?

There are few people who I look up to in our local industry people who inspire me and have at one time or another given me advice and encouraged me, the first person is Julie Lewis who is sadly no longer with us, we met at the pick and mix festival at The Mac and I was doing a play with pint size productions. At the end of the festival we were having a few drinks as you do and I was introduced to this ray of sunshine who asked about how I felt doing my first professional play, I told her I loved every bit of it and she gave me a hug and just said welcome to the acting world which at that time was one of the nicest things ever.

Mart Mcguire for being as established as he is for being humble and giving me advice during a project we both were doing. I can’t not mention the most wonderful Maggie Cronin who I met at a Meisner workshop at the lyric and after a few weeks said I was a dark horse and had something in me, I managed to get an arts grant for 1-2-1 classes with Maggie and she helped break down the walls that were preventing me moving forward in the industry, I even studied some Shakespeare! Definitely not something a working class boy from a rough estate in Ballymena would even have thought of doing.


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