Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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News from N. Ireland Branch meeting 11th June, 2012

15 June 2012

 Photos of branch meeting available using the following link -

  • Adam Knight is the new Chair of the branch, Cathy Brennan- Bradley (Vice Chair) Carol Moore (Secretary) and Michael Anluan (Treasurer).The remaining members of the committee include  BB Tohil, Brigid Erin Bates, Fleur Mellor, George Shane, James McAnespy, Aaron Og Barr, Kat Regan, Maggie Cronin
  • Adam said it was an exciting time for the arts and performers in NI and that he hoped the Branch would support members in regards to campaigns, training etc and Carol added that the branch welcomed any news from its members in Northern Ireland, so it could be uploaded to the branch website. Committee member Kat Regan is taking responsibility for branch information on face book. Since the branch website can’t upload photos or video at the moment, we will try to create links so you can view photos. Carol’s email address if anyone wants to get in touch is
  • Drew McFarlane (Equity Organiser for N. I.) talked about the new campaign “Make it Here” and asked all Northern Ireland members to get behind the campaign where Equity is calling on the entertainment industry and governments to invest in programmes made in Northern Ireland. Stephen Spence, Equity’s assistant general secretary has stated that: “One of the issues our members have is often a programme is labelled ‘BBC Northern Ireland’, ‘BBC Scotland’ or ‘BBC Wales’ but in reality there are few – if any – opportunities for performers in the nations to appear in them.”  A great example of how investing locally can reap rewards is the success of the film The Shore, which won the live action short film category at the Oscars 2012. The movie, which tells a story of reconciliation through the eyes of a returning emigrant, was shot on location at Coney Island, Co Down, Northern Island and starred local actors Ciaran Hinds, Conleth Hill and branch committee member and former Equity Council member Maggie Cronin. The campaign will try to reorientate politicians thinking since the arts is a major economic driver, with Game of Thrones bringing 45 million into the local economy. A template letter is being drawn up by Drew that members can access, add their names to and send off to their MLA’s. Stickers are also available.
  • In the council report Maggie Cronin contrasted the greater confidence with films like The Shore, Good Vibrations and Jump and that of ACNI’s decision to cut the funding of Northern Visions. A campaign by professionals and the community alike has given the organisation a reprieve and demonstrates that in N. Ireland we have found a unifying voice that is willing to fight on behalf of the arts.
  • George Shane attended the ARC were council discussed proposed changes to current Equity, which was eventually passed. George felt that it is not structures that will solve the problems but tackling the fears and insecurities of performers in the current climate and has suggested the branch run induction meetings/workshops for new members or those considering joining.
  • Amanda Doherty (Member) from Derry has put herself up for the Equity Council, General List. The N. Ireland branch supports her and requests that members vote for Amanda to represent the interests of members here. Poll closes 12 noon on 11 July 2012. Amanda states “… I am dedicated to enhancing the level of work for actors here. We are currently experiencing an unprecedented boom; new theatres, new BBC dramas and HBO’s Game of Thrones. However it will require constant work to keep this up. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure this boom takes root and blossoms into a thriving industry; leaving a lasting legacy and success story.”
  • Adam reported a proposal has gone to council that the ARC returns to Belfast in 2015.
  • Actors Agency, Medium Mogul, based in N. Ireland, has ceased trading and left a number of members with no agency. It was discussed at the branch meeting that we might invite a speaker to discuss the pros and cons of an actor’s co-operative agency. It was also suggested that agents might be invited to talk about the challenges of representing actors.



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