The TG4 Finné episode I directed for TUA films about “Limerick’s own Billy Elliot” Roy Galvin will be broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday March 9th, at 9.30pm, and be available to view thereafter on TG4 Player.

The programme charts Roy’s childhood in Limerick city centre where the streets were his playground, and what it was like for him growing up gay when that phenomenon supposedly didn’t exist in Limerick at the time. We follow Roy’s blossoming as an artist, his move up to the capital to be a professional musician with Jury’s Irish Cabaret and the world that opened up to him in Dublin – disco dancing at Flikkers nightclub, decriminalisation, the discovery of ballet and his own transformation into Ireland’s first homegrown Irish ballet dancer, all the way through to the recent advent of marriage equality – and his own marriage.  Embodying the incredible social change in Ireland over the last 50 years, Roy dances us through his life and times, from disco to ballet to Sean Nós, interspersed with era defining archive from David Norris, and more. This is the man who founded his own version of the GAA! There is even some knitting.

I was delighted to work with the great team at TUA films on this project – producer Aisling Ní Fhlaithearta (who valiantly went beyond the call of duty when she jumped in to Roy’s adult ballet class at Dance Limerick with me); DOP Jass Foley; additional camera Eoin Kelly-Smith; Ailbhe Níc Dhonncha; editor Conall de Cléir, and of course series producer supremo Paddy Hayes. Coming from Indie world, it was a pleasure to be part of, and have the backup and support of such a talented professional team. What a treat.

I had been admiring Finné on TG4 for a long time, and it is a dream come true to get the opportunity not only to direct an episode, but also for it to be the grand finale of 4 series of this epic award-winning series on social change in Ireland over the last 50 years.

I hope you enjoy the finished product and would love to hear your thoughts on the programme if it inspires any.

Bigí linn!

Here are a selection of glympses from behind the scenes of this production, in case of interest!

Eoin Kelly-Smith shooting a traveling shot at Tigh Roy

Roy happy out in the Interrotron

The Interrotron. This setup was invented by Errol Morris

DOP Jass Foley shooting at LSAD, the former Good Shepherd Convent, Limerick

DOP Jass Foley shooting on the grounds of the former Good Shepherd Convent, Limerick (LSAD)

DOP Jass Foley shooting Roy reminiscing about his first kiss, Dublin.

Ballet dancer Kevin Witzenberger channels Roy in his prime

Kevin Witzenberger channels Roy in his prime

Jass shooting Roy in LImerick city centre.  Niall Creaven on sound.

Eoin shooting Roy in his kitchen at Tigh Roy

Myself conducting interviews in the Interrotron

Interrotron setup with me in it! Thanks for the photo, Jass Foley

Roy with the sadly recently deceased Katharine Lewis, training with Myrtle Lambkin fadó.

Eoin Shooting Roy’s Adult Ballet Class at Dance Limerick. Photo by Aisling Ni Fhlaithearta

Roy’s Pas de Deux Dance Company at National Gallery of Ireland in the early 1980s: Roy chatting to ballerina Zelda Quilligan, who features in the programme,

& PS – For the Seachtain na Gaeilge that’s in it:

One of my pandemic projects was to undertake Ardteist Gaeilge, Ardleibhéal. The Béaltríail, which constitutes 40% of the mark these days, was particularly tricky, as I had nobody to practice with, and couldn’t get out to Conradh na Gaeilge, or down to the Gaelteacht for a nice little sojourn. I put a call-out on facebook. Roy Ó Gealbháin, who I had the pleasure to meet while interviewing him for Dance Ireland’s 30th Anniversary podcast series came to my rescue. A passionate gaeilgeoir and brilliant teacher, (as well as Ireland’s first home grown male ballet dancer), Roy kindly drilled and grilled me over facebook live on my Srath Pictiúr, and Comhrá. Cé mhéad daoine i do theaglach? Cá rugadh tú? Cén aois tú? With the patience of Job, Roy went through it all with me, checking the grammar and pronunciation (Múin dialect insisted Roy!). Meanwhile, I said “somebody” should make a documentary about you! “Somebody” developed and pitched it, and it is coming soon to your TV screen, as gaeilge, subtitled as Béarla. And the Ardteist? Buíochas le Roy, fuair me 92% sa béaltriail, agus H2 overall. Tharr Barr!