Lisburn actor Ryan Donaldson is looking forward to treading the boards in London’s West End once again as he brings the role of Carlo in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin to life.
Ryan, who has been performing in the stage adaption of the bestselling novel by Louis de Bernières, is thrilled to be continuing with the role in the West End having taken the character to heart during the show’s tour in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The local actor knew from a young age that he had a passion for the theatre and, after leaving school and studying at the prestigious London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA), he was thrilled to land his first ever role in the West End, a small part in Shakespeare in Love. “I didn’t always want to be an actor,” admits Ryan. “My grandfather played rugby for Ireland and I played a lot of the sport too, but I did a few school plays and when I decided to do drama for A Level, my teacher pushed me to apply to drama school.
“I got an agent in my final year and after I left LAMDA I worked in a pub for about six months and did auditions.
“My first job was a small part in Shakespeare in Love in the West End and it was amazing. Director Declan Donnellan was amazing to work with. It was like an extension of my training and I have worked with him a few times since then.”
The life of an actor can be precarious, and Ryan admits that he hadn’t worked for a while before landing his current role as Carlo in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
“I hadn’t read the book before I got the audition,” he says. “I read pieces of it for the audition and I’ve read it through twice since getting the part, but I’ve never seen the film. The book is sort of told through the lens of my character as he writes lengthy letters to Corelli. I think we have done a brilliant job of honouring the book.”
The entire cast of the production were delighted to have the support of the book’s author, Louis de Bernieres, who was rumoured to have disliked the film adaptation of the novel. “I am delighted that this production of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is moving to the West End,” he said. “The play is faithful to my story, movingly told, and the direction and acting are superb. It deserves a long run.”
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin transfers to the West End from July 4 to August 31.