Derry man Kieran Griffiths has carved a pretty successful career out of the arts. That’s no mean feat in an industry where a consistent paypacket is hard to come by, and in an era where jobs are like gold dust.
The 34-year-old Waterside man has a degree in computer science. But from the very outset he took practical the advice of his father who steered him in the direction of a ‘sensible job.’ He used that qualification to self fund KI productions, and gradually established himself as a contender in the local and regional arts scene.
In November, Kieran was appointed producer at the Playhouse. He’s still ecstatic about getting what he says is his “dream job”.
“I don’t say that lightly,” he smiles. “I absolutely love this place. I don’t think people in The Playhouse work here, they live here. Everyone here shares the same passion for arts in the community and I’m delighted to be able to be a part of that, especially during the City of Culture celebrations.”
Being in the arts in Derry is a badge of honour. As the press clamber for bona fide talent, there will be a few bandwagon culture vultures along the way. However long before the UK City of Culture was born as a concept Kieran was treading the boards at the Playhouse, forming his own production company and still working professionally in the IT sector.
“The very day I walked out of my degree I had an audition and things really just developed from there. While I was working I had three or four years of doing that semi professionally. At that point I set up KI Productions and went on to get my Masters from the Royal Scottish Academy.”
Kieran burst on to the local scene as the director of ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ in 2006, and clearly making his mark, from that point on the work kept coming.
He played the lead in Jack and the Beanstalk to sell out crowds in the Millennium Forum and toured America extensively with ‘The 12 Irish Tenors.’ The only one of the 12 who was actually Irish, Kieran had to coach the other singers.
“That was an experience,” he laughs. “Basically, I had to teach them how to sound more Irish!”
While he enjoyed seeing America, Kieran was delighted to return to Derry in 2009 and wasted no time in getting his feet back on the ground and immersing himself in the local theatre scene, working with acclaimed playwright Brian Foster.
Last year, when the Playhouse received funding on the back of the City of Culture title, room became available in the budget to appoint an in house producer who would oversee several key productions during 2013. Kieran applied and got the job,
“It’s been pretty non-stop since I started before Christmas,” says the 34 -year-old.
“We’ve just finished the acclaimed ‘Over the Wire’ which was a huge success and the next show we’ll be staging is Ken McCormick’s ‘On the Subject of Love.’ We’ll also be producing ‘Re-energise’ by Gary Mitchell and have a number of other shows running as the year goes on. It’s very, very busy but I’m loving ever minute of it.
“It’s great to be here at home and know that I’m playing some part in what will undoubtedly be a truly historic year in cultural terms for the city. The Playhouse has always been at the forefront of promoting that marriage between international talent and local talent and showing that international talent what’s on offer here while increasing the craft of people locally who are getting to see the work of these major international acts. Everyone here during 2013, has a lot to look forward to - me included!”
Visit www.derryplayhouse.co.uk for a full programme of events.