Actor and writer Seamus O'Rourke

Come away from the Chop-Saw

In the final of our series in support of the ‘National Campaign for the Arts’, talented actor and writer SEAMUS O'ROURKE accepts that "the arts do need a shake".

There’s a chop-saw in the corner of my man-room, my writing room – it has an appeal that it hasn’t had for a while... don’t worry, I’m not the first Leitrim man to have a fetish with saws... it's just for the past ten years, I’ve been living my dream and working in the arts – an actor, a writer – it’s great, you just have to call yourself an actor or a writer and you are... like lads going off to America in the ‘80s... said they were carpenters... and they were... I’m a trained carpenter and some might think I should go back to it, now that there’s no live theatre – no one to encourage my flights of fancy. I would go back to the carpentry in a minute, but I don’t think I’d get a crowd in the Ramor or the Town Hall in Cavan, to watch me putting a wardrobe together.

The thing is – I was always an actor and a writer – I just worked at the timber, because I was all sensible and mature and knew the Arts couldn’t provide a living. For 30 years, I was untrue to myself and those around me. We were put on this earth for a reason, weren’t we? There are enough carpenters - a world with only carpenters, would be a world of nothing but breakfast rolls and taking the teabag out with your pencil.

And, believe it or not, we need the Arts. Anyone who thinks those within the arts are surplus to requirements, probably think the lives been lost to Covid are – unfortunate, but just one of those things.

The Arts do need a shake – we all need to shake ourselves up and make the Arts so damn exciting and attractive that the rest of the world throw down the hammer and take notice... we should stop calling ourselves artists and really become the light for everyone else... the embodiment of life itself! So that, at the end of a tough day in the office or a week in the meadow or a year of Covid 19 – that there is hope.

Seamus O’Rourke is an Actor, a writer, a poet and has just written his memoir, ‘Standing in Gaps’ (during Covid) it will be out on October 1.