Manx Actor Perry O'Dea

Perry O'Dea
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Perry O’Dea is a Manx actor who is highly skilled in dance, singing and stage performance. He has been on tour for the past three years in various shows and will be back on the Isle of Man for the Christmas holiday.

Perry has covered many roles such as Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Blood Brothers, Evita, Oklahoma and most recently Young Frankenstein. We caught up Perry ahead of a return trip to the Island for a series of acting classes with students looking to get into stage and screen careers. He will be helping young performers with their audition preparation, technique and confidence building both privately and for school students including Queen Elizabeth II High School on Friday 21st Dec.

Above: Perry performed at the Olivier Awards with the cast of Young Frankenstein in 2018.

Q. What or who inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

Hard Question to start with. There are so many people who have inspired me through my career so far. At the start it was mainly teachers such as Mr Craige at St. Ninian's High School and a teacher called David Greenall who taught me at Arts Educational.

Also my Mum and Dad. The amount of hard work they put in to help me through drama school was incredible and I am eternally grateful for their passion to do the most for their children.

Q. What opportunities were there on the island for you whilst growing up?

I was very lucky as a young performer on the Island with the amount of Amateur Dramatic shows that are put on the island and the quality of the productions. 

Perry and Hadley
Perry alongside his co-star, Hadley Fraser in Young Frankenstein.

Q. Last year you performed at the Olivier Awards which must have been an incredible experience and you must be very proud – what was it like?

As a young actor from the Isle of man. It was a very proud moment. One I will cherish for the rest of my life. To be at the Oliviers is a privilege. But to perform there is an honour. 

It was also very inspiring night and one that has motivated me a lot now, as I was in the presence of great theatre icons such as Andrew Scott, Bryan Cranston, Imelda Staunton and Sam Mendes but seen as an equal to them. I walked down the same red carpet, asked for autographs by the same theatre fans. Even got merry at the same after party.

In ways it was surreal and humbling. Being a young Manx lad rubbing shoulders with household names. But also very exciting as I was there on the same merit as them. 

Perry and Mel Brooks
Perry with Mel Brooks who directed the 1974 film, Young Frankenstein

Q. You’re coming back to the island over Christmas to share your skills in classes with younger students, tell us why you think it’s important to give back?

Yes. I'm over for two weeks to see family and friends. But also whilst Im here I'm going to be holding some workshops and private lessons to help young performers. 

Its incredibly important to me to give back to the Island and to help young performers here as it can seem daunting, even impossible sometimes to pursue the dream of becoming an actor from the Isle of Man. But I want to make it known it is possible. Its not as scary as it seems and you CAN do it. 

I want to share techniques, experiences and tips to young performers on some advice which I believe would of helped me for my auditions for drama school or just becoming a more confident actor and person.

Q. Being based in the UK means that you have access to a lot of exciting opportunities but is there anything that you miss about island life?

Its funny. The older I get the more I miss the Island and appreciate the unique lifestyle it provides. There really is no where else like it. 

I miss the relaxed tempo of life. Nothing is really in a rush. You don't have to leave the house two hours in advance to get anywhere on time. 

The main element I miss though has to be family and friends. If I could I’d be over a lot more to see them. 

Perry at the Olivier Awards
One of Perry's proudest moments was to attend and perform at the Olivier Award with the cast of Young Frankenstein.

Q. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I could give myself a whole book on advice to my younger self! Which is why I feel passionate about these workshops and lessons to the young performers on the Island. 

If I had to choose one piece of advice it would be. Have more faith in your ability. Just because you're from a quiet Island doesn't mean you're not as good as someone from across in England. 

Susan Stroman and Perry O'Dea
Perry with American theatre director, choreographer, film director and performer, Susan Stroman.

Q. 2019 is just around the corner, what have been your proudest achievements of 2018?

The Oliviers has to be up there. 

I'm now on an original west end cast album thats on iTunes with ‘Young Frankenstein’. 

Working with Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman. 

An achievement which is very personal to me is to work with actors like Hadley Fraser and Dianne Pilkington who I used to watch in pieces of theatre and dream of being on stage with them and achieving that. But them also seeing me as a colleague and valued actor just as much as them. 

Q. What’s next for you

I'm currently in “Motown the Musical” till Jan 2020! A very long job for myself. But very rewarding telling this story of how Motown originated and became the phenomenon it is today. 

After that…That's the beauty of being a performer. The next adventure is around the corner. But we shall see!

Past productions for Perry have included:

Evita, Joseph and his Techicolour Dreamcoat, Motown, Blood Brothers, Oklahoma, Grease, Young Frankenstein at The Garrick Theatre, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Perry will be coming to the Island in-between his new show 'Motown’.

Perry O'Dea
Perry O'Dea will be appearing in 'Motown the Musical' until 2020.

Follow Perry on Twitter + Instagram

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