By David Hennessy
Áine Ryan, the London-based playwright and actress from Upperchurch, Co. Tipperary, came away from the recent London Pub Theatres awards night with victory in two categories.
Áine Ryan won the Actors Award for her performance in Kitty in the Lane, a dark tale about rural isolation and grief, while also winning the New Writing Award for Paddy Goes to Petra, the story of a middle aged farmer who goes to Jordan and finds a new lease of life.
Both shows were featured in The Irish World and staged at the Brockley Jack which also won Best Pub Theatre on the night.
Áine Ryan told The Irish World: “It was a great win.
“I was delighted.
“It was brilliant to win the two but it was unexpected.
“I wasn’t really sure. I thought we might have a chance to win something but it was great to win two.
“Still buzzing from it all.”
In addition to the two gongs she did win, Áine was also nominated for Best Solo Show for Kitty in the Lane, there was also a nod for Outstanding Production Values for Kitty in the Lane while Paddy Goes to Petra’s Brendan Dunlea was also up for the Actors Award.
“I was really proud because I’ve been working on both shows a long time.
“With Paddy goes to Petra, it was many evenings since 2019 of myself and Brendan just rehearsing together and not really knowing where it would end up.
“It’s kind of really nice to have the hard work that has gone in acknowledged.
“And then I was delighted to get the Actors Award with Kitty in the Lane because I had to prioritise a good bit of writing before acting the last few years.
“I was absolutely delighted with both awards.
“You’re always hoping shows go down well but it’s always a risk, so it’s great when reviewers or the people that come to the show enjoy them.
“And then when there are awards and stuff, it’s always nice.
“But we were delighted even to be nominated.
“Myself and Brendan were against each other in the actors category.
“Obviously I would have been just as happy if Brendan won it.
“We were both glad to get nominated.”
While Áine is already working on her projects, she hopes for more productions of her award-winning shows.
“We’re trying to get Kitty in the Lane into a venue in Dublin.
“Let’s see what can come of both of them.
“It is really, really inspiring and definitely good encouragement to stay going with everything.”
Announcing that Paddy Goes to Petra had won, London Pub Theatres’ Paul Maidment said it was his favourite show of the year.
“I thanked all the team that had helped to create it, especially Brendan who gave the words meaning and life and made it possible to actually do the show.”
There was also a nomination for David Ireland’s Not Now at the Finborough in the Best Production Category. Next Door’s Baby lost out on Best Musical Production but director Kieth Strachan took the Director Award for that and About Bill at Theatre at the Tabard.
“It’s great to have a publication like London Pub Theatre magazine and it was a brilliant award night.
“Thanks so much to London Pub Theatre for their promotion and celebration of pub theatre.”