Barry Irwin (born Barrie Coghlan)


Dancer, singer and artist who died at the age of 56, wrote this of himself in 1962


"In 1962, when Roy Hart came to lead the work, I was accepted to have singing lessons with him. I had been a dancer in the so-called professional theatre for some twelve years, my career culminating in a production where I had worked closely with the American choreographer Jerome Bobbins. For me the dance had meant everything, and then suddenly I had come to a precipices I needed answers of terrible dimensions and they were not to be found. In the midst of theatre I could not find theatre. Where was the meaning in my life? Why had not dance been entirely sustaining? Why had my attempts to relate intimately with my fellow human beings failed?  At first Roy Hart did not wish to teach me later we would concur that I had become too poisoned by back-stage atmospheres, the cynicism of the chorus dressing room, by the theatrical agent's office, by sensation and pessimism. He did not want to include me, but I kept asking. I needed a way to survive the torture and anguish that the individual soul experiences when the mode of life is no longer in keeping with the reality of the psyche. One is living a lie, or else life is felt to be without value or meaning and it becomes necessary to examine every aspect of one's being, painful though that examination may be.

I gave up my job in the professional theatre and gradually, from one lesson a week I was accepted to have more and there also came the opportunity to meet and work with other pupils. I who had been a dancer began to realise that, of the various means by which we express ourselves, the voice is by far the most intimate revelation of our essential self. Rooted in the very depths of our primitive being and yet aspiring to the height of spiritual awareness. It could encompass every instinct, emotion, feeling and mood which we can experience, and it expresses them all with the most subtle modulations...."

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::And this is what he had to say about the Roy Hart Theatre



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