BY JACKIE KEOGH
A WEST Cork actress is treading the boards at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London.
Ayoola Smart, a 22-year old actress who has lived in West Cork since she was three years old, is currently part of the ensemble in the Taming of the Shrew.
Her mother, Sally Smart, who lives in Schull told The Southern Star: ‘She hasn’t even finished college and, like a duck to water, there she is at The Globe. She’s part of the ensemble: dancing and playing two characters, as well as understudy for five of the main leads.’
When asked when Ayoola wanted to be an actress, Sally was very definite in her reply. She said: ‘Ayoola has always been an actress. We never had a television. She was the television from day dot.’
Sally and her daughters – including Midinyn and Coonkah who now live in Australia – moved from Cornwall to Copeen. They lived there for a number of years, but relocated about ten years ago to Schull, where Sally teaches drama.
‘When we came here, Ayoola started at Schull Community College,’ said Sally. ‘It is where she formed her real friendships. And she comes back whenever she can.
‘Now that she has got an agent, we’re probably not going to see her so much, but, when she does come, she practically leaps off the plane and it’s straight to Barleycove.’
It was during her showcase appearance at the Leicester Square Theatre that she was spotted by her agent and quickly signed to the prestigious Curtis Brown Agency.
Speaking from London, Ayoola said: ‘I didn’t hesitate. In terms of acting, Shakespeare has always been a huge passion of mine and to be able to work here straight out of drama school, has been a fantastic opportunity and privilege, especially to be involved in this show, at this time.’
‘To not only to be a member of a full Irish cast here in London during the centenary of the 1916 Rising, but also, and what I’m most proud of is how our director Caroline Byrne used Taming (known for being the ‘problem’ Shakespearean play because of if it’s misogynistic themes) to confront the inequality of women in Ireland and the promises made within the Proclamation that have not come to pass.