“Acting is an act of Love,” said Lee Strasberg, the famous American acting teacher. He is quoted in the preface to a book about Dublin’s Focus Theatre celebrating “fifty years of love”. The author Nollaig Fahy, chairman of Focus, went on to quote from my 2004 book Lovemarks: “Love cannot be demanded or commanded. It can only be given. Like power, you get Love by giving it.”
Focus Theatre was founded in 1963 by Irish-American actor Deirdre O’Connell and Luke Kelly, then a rising music star as lead singer of the legendary Irish folk band The Dubliners. They were young lovers who, in their early twenties, set out on a mission to establish a new ground-breaking theatre and acting studio using Stanislavski’s ‘method acting’ technique. During its life the theatre staged 400 productions – from classic plays by Ibsen and Beckett to contemporary Irish drama.
Bringing the theatre together was itself a labor of love and it was one that O’Connell and Kelly committed their lives to. They worked tirelessly to create and deliver their dream. Nollaig writes that “the Love that every person gave so selflessly during the last fifty years to the Focus Theatre & Acting Studio to create and shape it is a real and true Act of LOVE. Ireland and its people owe them a debt of gratitude. We must all be grateful indeed for their Love.”