THE Chancellor of the University of Ulster, James Nesbitt will be helping celebrate the Riverside Theatre’s 35th birthday in Coleraine, with an evening of conversation and anecdotes about his life and career.
The actor, who was born in Ballymena and grew up in Coleraine, has been a local hero since he shot to fame in the 1998 television series, ‘Cold Feet’.
He will be chatting at the Riverside Theatre, where he took his first steps towards an acting career, to Dr Kevin De Ornellas from the University’s School of English and History on Tuesday, November 6 and will answer questions from members of the audience.
Nesbitt, who is one of the stars of Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ movie trilogy and is back on our TV screens in the medical drama, ‘Monroe’, began his acting career as a member of the Riverside Youth Theatre in 1978.
The theatre holds another special memory for him as he was installed as the University of Ulster’s Chancellor in a ceremony at the venue, two years ago. It’s a role he takes very seriously.
In a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said: “Accepting the role of University of Ulster Chancellor felt very important to me. These are difficult times for universities and I’m part of a group who is lobbying local government to get people into tertiary education who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity.”
Speaking about his appearance at the Riverside next month, James Nesbitt said: “It is always a pleasure to come back to the Riverside and particularly so in this 35th anniversary year.
“I could not have imagined when I first stepped out on the stage at the Riverside that I would return some day as Chancellor of the University and I am truly honoured by that. I am looking forward to a memorable evening on 6 November.”
Theatre manager Jeremy Lewis said: “It’s a huge privilege to celebrate Riverside’s 35th Birthday alongside James Nesbitt, especially as Jimmy and I both began our careers with the theatre at the same time - December 1978.
“Jimmy was at that time a 13-year-old pupil at Coleraine Academical Institution and I had just been appointed Theatre Manager. I can still remember his audition for the musical ‘Oliver’, where he sang most of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ unaccompanied, on the Riverside stage.
“Unsurprisingly, he landed the leading juvenile role in the show – The Artful Dodger – and went on to perform in several further Riverside productions between then and leaving school.
“This event will be a fantastic chance for an audience to celebrate the Riverside’s 35th birthday and to hear all about the success and further development of Jimmy’s career and Jimmy himself.”
* James Nesbitt in Conversation, Riverside Theatre, on Tuesday, November 6, 8pm. Tickets £10 available from the Box Office: 028 70123123; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; online at:www.riversidetheatre.org.uk