The Story

The cast and crew of Theatre Royal’s upcoming King Lear Review, including director Liam Meagher, actors Jenny Fennessy, Andrew Holden, Elishka Lane Barnes, Joe Meagher and Simon O’Gorman and facilitator Edward Denniston recently got together for a socially-distanced rehearsal at the theatre.

To be performed via live stream to secondary schools across the South East from 12th to 14th January 2021, the Review will animate the prescribed Leaving Certificate play for students whose primary experience of it is as a literary text that they study in class.

This review doesn’t retell the plot; instead, the director and cast select key scenes to help students decide how they understand and respond to the play’s central characters – what they say and why they say it, what they do and why they do it. It provides an enlightening experience for the students to witness the scenes brought to life on stage, encouraging them to engage with both the performance and the text.

The performance will include a LIVE DIGITAL CHAT between students and actors, facilitated by Edward Denniston and students will also be supplied with a Resource Booklet with essays by WIT English and Theatre Studies faculty members.


Edward Denniston – Facilitator

Originally from Longford town, Edward Denniston has lived and worked in Waterford City since 1980. Edward is a retired teacher of English and Drama. He spent his teaching years at Newtown Quaker School in Waterford.

He has worked with actors and directors on Theatre Royal Waterford’s Shakespeare Review for a number of years.

His publications are: The Point Of Singing (Abbey Press, 1999); Eskimo Advice, an ebook (Rectory Press & Hayrake Press , 2007) ; Interacting – 60 Drama Scripts (Russell House Publishing, 2007); The Scale Of Things (Salmon Poetry, 2013) and For Crying Out Loud (Salmon Poetry). He has written a few short plays and had a screenplay shortlisted at the annual Waterford Film Festival competition for short films and screenplays.

In 2019, Edward worked with Irish composer Eric Sweeny to create Hospital Voices, a choral work to mark 25 years of The Healing Arts Trust at University Hospital Waterford. As well as original text and music, the work incorporated voices and sounds from the daily life of the hospital, particularly songs, tunes and recitations remembered by patients and staff.

Edward has just completed texts for two choirs at Lake Forest College in Illinois, U.S.A.

Currently, as well as putting together another collection of poems, Edward is working with an Irish composer on a series of texts he has written, based on and inspired by, the Irish Civil War – 1922-1923.

Simon O’Gorman – King Lear

Simon’s most recent work was with the Gate Theatre as Father/Marley, in their production of A Christmas Carol. For Landmark’s Productions, he played the role of the Dad in Asking for It and for Prime Cut, Belfast he performed the one-man show, Every Day I Wake Up Hopeful. He also played Georgie Burgess in two sell-out runs of Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper at the Gate Theatre. Other Gate appearances include The Father, The Constant Wife, A Month in the Country, Romeo & Juliet and Festen among others. He has also performed many times at the Abbey Theatre, first appearing there as Dunios in St Joan in 1998. Since then he has appeared in shows such as Dolly West’s Kitchen, Tom Murphy’s adaptation of The Cherry Orchard, The Plough and the Stars, Woman and Scarecrow and, most recently, Sive by John B Keane. Elsewhere Simon has worked with companies such as Storytellers where he played Michael Henchard in a stage adaptation of The Mayor of Casterbridge, as well as in translations of Antigone and Oedipus Rex. For Second Age he appeared in numerous Shakespeare productions including King Lear, Hamlet, Othello and MacBeth. Simon’s Film credits include The Escapist, Bobby’s Girl, The Alarms and Dark Touch while, for television, Simon was part of TV3’s The Bailout which aired earlier this year, and spent the previous two summers filming Striking Out for RTE. Other television credits include The Clinic, Pure Mule, On Home Ground, The Big Bow Wow, Fair City (all for RTE); Ripper Street, Eastenders (BBC).

Jenny Fennessy – Regan / Goneril / Earl of Gloucester

Jenny Fennessy’s work includes Lovesong (Garter Lane, Civic Theatre, Cork Arts Theatre), Call the Midwife (BBC), King Lear directed by Greg Doran (Royal Shakespeare Company), Cymbeline directed by Melly Still (Royal Shakespeare Company), Liola directed by Sir Richard Eyre (National Theatre, London), Othello Shakespeare review (Theatre Royal) directed by Mark Lambert, A Life directed by Eleanor Rhode (Finborough Theatre) Blink directed by Killian Collins (Central Arts) and The Salvage Shop directed by Jim Nolan (Garter Lane). Jenny is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She was a finalist in the Michael Bryant Verse Speaking Award at the National Theatre.

Andrew Holden –  Earl of Kent / Emund / Duke of Cornwall

A native of Waterford, Andrew trained as an actor with the London School of Musical Theatre and the Gaiety School of Acting. Previous work includes appearances with The Gate Theatre, The Cork Opera House, Red Kettle, Little Red Kettle, The Eugene O’Neill International Festival, Bryan Flynn Theatrix, Long Road Productions and The Everyman Cork, amongst others. He is delighted to be back at the Theatre Royal Waterford once again for The Shakespeare Review, having previously appeared there in both ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Hamlet’.

Anne O’Riordan – Cordelia / Fool / Oswald / Edgar

Waterford-born actress Anne O’Riordan trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Her theatre credits include: Ghosting (Theatre Royal, Waterford), I and You (GEST), The Lonesome West (Royal Court, Liverpool), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Octagon Theatre), Gulliver’s Travels (Octagon Theatre), Alice (Theatre in the Quarter), Fallen Angels (Frinton Summer Theatre), Overshadowed (Sunday’s Child Theatre Company), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Merely Theatre), Cinderella (Octagon Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Red Kettle Theatre Company). Her television/film credits include: Call the Midwife (BBC), Doctors (BBC), The Clinic (RTÉ), 32A (Janey Pictures).

Joe Meagher – Earl of Gloucester

A native of Waterford City, Joe has been a professional theatre practitioner for almost 30 years, working and touring extensively as both an actor and director. He is also a singer/songwriter with Waterford-based band “Birds of Burden.”

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