Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Troubles with Housing in Belfast and Please Pray i get a room tomorrow

I never normally post a message on this thing or blog about my feelings but felt this was the right moment. It's been awhile since my last blog, since April really so this is a good time to catch up on The Life of Brian (Gotta love that awful pun which suits my name perfectly).

Well after a good part of the year travelling about the place in my gap-year (Derry, Dublin, Bangor, Barcelona and Rathdrum if you are curious where I went), I started to apply to drama schools and drama courses. With not much luck with Magee and drama schools in Scotland, Wales and London I apply to the HND Performing Arts in Belfast almost as a last chance at the acting life before I quit and did sometime else I wouldn't enjoy.

My thankfully putting my faith in God got my through the audition, treated it like it was my Swan Song (Again nice awful pun that suits my last name) and got in with an Unconditional Offer. Receive the same type of offer with Queens but decided to go with Belfast Met as in my view it’s the better course.

I guess with my grades i had nothing to worry about. But simply let the future not be decided by you and put faith in the Lord that what is meant to happen for you will happen is scary, as its the unknown but things always work out for the better this way and let again for me things came out okay.

And through bebo I found out who would be in my course, friends I’ve known from the ND Performing Arts course in Ballymoney and I’m really happy certain people at the audition got into the course too without naming names.

But my main problem and the point of this blog have been about student housing. Before i got onto the course, i apply to get a place through Shac but with trouble about a second reference when my first was perfectly okay and after spending alot on weekly train tickets i shouldn't needed to buy, the room i was shown was down right awful and a joke for the price i was expected to pay in rent and bills for the shared housing.

I won't bore you with the details but trust me it was awful. I decided to look for rooms to rent and having trouble with finding a place and the three rooms I’ve seen I didn't got because they choose someone else over me which end of the day is there decision.

But on Monday i saw a couple more places for a room to let at Uni Avenue and Stranmills Gardens with the latter being just perfect. I find out tomorrow if i could get the place at Stranmills and hope its yes but will try elsewhere for housing if its the same answer yet again which i really hope it won't be.

So do Pray, even if you're not the praying kind that the student housing finally gets sorted tomorrow as early morning starts to get to classes isn't great. I've been getting up at 5.45am to get the ten to seven train to Belfast most days of the week for the last two months and really don't want to continue the train travel that much longer given the choice.

So have pity on me and wish me luck all goes well tomorrow when i find out the news and will let it be know, good or bad, what the outcome is.

Thank You for Reading and do Pray all goes well


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Talking About Recent Auditions

As everyone who reads my blog know, I'm an upcoming actor. Currently in a gap year before going to a drama school in September 2007, I've been going along to 'The Grove Theatre Group' in Derry and have appeared in 'Ghost Bus Tours' (will talk about that soon on the blog) and the upcoming pantomime 'Beauty and the Beast' as one of the henchmen.

I don't have much to say in the Panto because my performance is mostly physical comedy and I'm really enjoying this part and how its all coming together and it's about one month until the show starts.

But the point of this blog entry is to talk about two of the most recent auditions i've been on which I've got different successes from each of these plus as no pictures were taking, I thought I would draw the scene for you.

Spring Town Camp

This audition was held on a Tuesday and became the start of my twice weekly visits to Derry (stop calling the town Londonderry after this point because the only people who called the town by this name were people who don't live there) and actually met up with my new friends just minutes after I got off the bus. Pretty nice we all meet up because it allows me to get to know them a lot better.

After getting dinner, we went over to The Forum and found out we arrived a bit early. We all have to fill out a form with basic information (i.e. Name, Address, E-mail etc…) and also state previous drama experience with I've had a lot and my friends were impressed by this as I haven't told them much about what I've done by this point.

Most of the people who came to audition was around are age, some people were older and others were people we haven't seen since Summer School back in July. We waited about after our audition just chatting and hanging out with friends, as my group were the first people to be called to audition.

The audition room was a lot like the picture I've drawn, the two people who wrote the script made jokes that this isn't like The X Factor (Well I'm done Pop Idol 2 which is similar but nothing like this audition). As this production is in co-produce with The Grove Theatre Group, we all would have a good chance in getting parts whatever happens. After a nice chat we all read parts of the script and taking turns to read different parts

On that Thursday we found out who got what part and I ended up with being the play's "Understudy" while likely playing a minor non-speaking part in the play.

Calamity Jane

Now auditioning for a musical is a whole different ball game. Kind of have to admit I failed this one for one reason… No Piano Music. I only heard of this audition about one month before hand from my new good friend Gemma and didn't know much about what to do. I had a monologue learnt but didn't know if I had to learn it off by heart on read of a page, so I choose the latter and kind of not felt great with that.

Then we no Piano music, I had to sing without a backing track and if the above picture can speak, you might not like what you hear.

Now I learnt some lessons like getting there early to be nice and friendly to the people running the auditions, which will help in the future if I do an audition with them again but the main lesson I learnt is to remember piano music.

So this has been the auditions I've done so far and hopefully there will be more success in the near future.


[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 13th February 2006]

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My Blog on History Matters Website

so i'm now apart of history and hopefully when i make it, people will reflect on this and see the start of my acting

I really like Thursdays now

It's the one-day of the week that before you would never admit to looking forward to but here I am aiming this is what I'm looking forward to

Largely because this is the day i go now to Derry and meet up with friends and go The Grove Theatre Group in Derry. I know to other people its not a big deal but this group is the only good group nearest to me as Ballywillian hardly lets the public know when they are going to audition people.

The show the group is performing by Christmas is 'Beauty and the Beast' at the Waterside Theatre. I have no idea what part I'm going to play or what performances of the 12 day run I will do but I'm hopeful I can win a part in the main cast whatever the role maybe.

So my day on a Thursday would start around 10am, then I would get wash, shave, have breakfast and then lunch before i head out to catch the bus into Coleraine at the top of the road at about 2pm. Of course i do other things which would only count as 'Not Much' when people talk about how your day has been but to be frank, four hours simply flies by in a moment.

I really like Thursdays but hopefully in the next few weeks when I've talk to agents, for my acting sake I'll start to really looked forward to other days in the week

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 14th September 2006]

Alarms bells at 25

This is what i would feel if i'm chosing to study at a drama school which would take me another three years to do as i already had three years with FD and ND of Performing Arts at the Causeway Ballymoney Tech which i got three A at.

But if i have to then that's okay but to get a place in a course which would only take me one year to two years and possibly one of the drama school's summer school course they do would be better for me in the long run.

I am a good enough actor now after the last three years and i feel i only need a little bit more training to feel i am complete as a actor with my training.

But i hope i don't hear any alarm bells.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 13th September 2006]

Updated Profile Bio

The old one needed updating so here's the new one about my acting.

I'm an actor and youth leader from Coleraine, Northern Ireland. After my academic success with my First and National Diploma of Performing Arts course, I'm currently acting full time looking for an agent to get me work in either Northern Ireland or the UK and going along to The Grove with my recent new mates at Derry. I'm planning on going to a good Acting School next year possibly in London and I'll get advice on the best place to study from people who know really soon. I've got a strong drive, and determination to have a life in acting and work hard to achieve this. I've taken part in various productions at different levels. From the amazing time I had with "Five Fantastic Days in July" and In Your Space's "Victorian Painting" to the Festive Parades for the "Coleraine Christmas Lights Switch On", Mr Basford in "Teechers" and Eugene in "Grease". These activities have developed my communication skills as well.

Highlights of My Performance from Teechers

This is worth watching to see how good of an actor you think i am and please do tell me in the comments

Highlights of My Performance from 'Teechers'

Part 01

Teechers - Brian Swann Highlights Part 1

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Part 02

Teechers - Brian Swann Highlights - Part 02

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[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 10th September 2006]

10 questions GOD won't ask you when you get to HEAVEN!

1. God won't ask what kind of car you drove, He'll ask
how many people you drove who didn't have

2. God won't ask the square footage of your house,
He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3. God won't ask about the clothes you had in your
closet, He'll ask how many you helped clothe.

4. God won't ask what your highest salary was, He'll
ask if you gave some to help others.

5. God won't ask what your job title was, He'll ask if
you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6. God won't ask how many friends you had, He'll ask
how many people to whom you were a friend.

7. God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, He'll
ask how you treated your neighbors.

8. God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll
ask about the content of your character.

9. God won't ask why it took you so long to seek
Salvation, He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in
heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

10. God won't have to ask how many people you
forwarded this to, He already knows whether or not you
are ashamed to share this information to whom you

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 10th September 2006]

Top Achievers at Causeway Institute

Top Achievers at Causeway Institute

23 August 2006

It has been another excellent year of results for students at the Causeway Institute. Congratulations to BTEC National Diploma Engineering students, Matthew Boyle, Malachy Mc Kay, Joanne Donaghy, Ciaran Steger-Hoey and Stephen Coyle all received the highest award of straight distinctions, the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level. Congratulations to all the students on the following courses who also received the same top grades.

BTEC National Diploma in Land Administration (Construction)
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Judith Campbell
Jonathan Neeson
Joanne Norton
Jason Spratt
Rachael Campbell
Laura Mc Nally

BTEC National Diploma in Health Studies
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Maria Kearney
Elaine Mc Kendry
Zara Mc Kendry
Loreena Mc Master
Trudy Mc Naughton
Kirstine Mogey
Stacey Moore

BTEC National Diploma in Media (Games Development)
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Andrew Anderson

BTEC National Diploma in Media (e-Media)
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Stuart Campbell
Richard Craig
Hugh OBoyle
Trevor Sharpe

BTEC National Diploma in Media (Moving Image)
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Robin Harman
Mark Henry
Richard Tweed

BTEC National Diploma in Care
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Kelly Bartlett
Lisa Connor
Alexandra Hartley
Victoria Hourican
Kiara Neill
Tracey Pollock
Colin Taylor
Ashley Thompson
Kelly Walker
Bronagh Young

BTEC National Diploma in Sports Development and Fitness
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Steven Callaghan
Alana Mc Killop
Victoria Wharry

BTEC National Diploma in Sport & Exercise Sciences
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Gary Devenney
Martin Law
Stephen Logan

BTEC National Diploma in Early Years
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Louise Brogan

BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts
Students who received the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level
Kathryn Mc Cullagh
Kirstie Philpot
Ruth Smallwoods
Brian Swann

The Director and staff of the Causeway Institute congratulate all the students on their results and wish them every success as they continue their education at University and beyond.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 3rd September 2006]

Plan A or Plan B

This is where i am at right now, chosing between two outcomes which will both lead me there in the long run but am not sure what path will feel right.

One Plan will lead me too more training into becoming an actor but will cost quite alot of money and take quite some time to pay off. But it's only more training to improve on the great actor i already am and i don't really need it that much but it would be helpful and if i don't get it it's not the end of the world and i can still get this somehow. Plus get an agent too.

The Other Plan will see me finding a Northern Ireland based Agent to get me work within the acting sector. Anything small will help and would be get to do some extra work, commericals and some theatre plays if i really lucky and improve on all this and get work around UK. Plus it means i need to get some sort of part time job to pay for all this travel, food and wherever i could say and might cost alot of money but not as much as The first plan i really hope.

Both plans will take some hard work and whatever is the plan i believe in God to show me the right way with this and after years of not knowing what i want to do with the rest of my life, i've decided acting is what i want to do with the rest of my life

[Edit: Since i wrote this about a year ago its mostly Plan A which i'm happy about and a little bit of Plan B for those who want to know]

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 7th August 2006]

My Article in Northern Constitution

As an actor this is my first ever interview article for everyone to see.
I pray for many more in the future and its very kind of the Northern Constitution to feature me.
I am ready for Millenium Forum's Summer Scheme and its five days and hope for the best outcome that will help me from September onwards.
I'm on hoilday from tomorrow so i will enjoy myself before things get really tough.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 1st July 2006]

This is my Swan Song

How many times would i be able to use this and it means something.
I really will miss my time at National Diploma of Performing Arts and i really hope i keep in contact with all the friends i made and hope they use the info on the cards i handed out today.

Save Tonight

Go on and close the curtains
All we need is candlelight
You and me and a bottle of wine
Going to hold you tonight

We know I'm going away
How I wish....wish it weren't so
Take this wine & drink with me
Let's delay our misery

Save tonight
And fight the break of dawn
Come tomorrow
Tomorrow I'll be gone

There's a log on the fire
And it burns like me for you
Tomorrow comes with one desire
To take me's true
It ain't easy to say goodbye
Darling please don't start cry
'Cause girl you know I've got to go
Lord I wish it wasn't so

Save tonight
And fight the break of dawn
Come tomorrow
Tomorrow I'll be gone

Tomorrow comes to take me away
I wish that I......that I could stay
Girl you know I've got to go
Lord I wish it wasn't so

Save tonight
And fight the break of dawn
Come tomorrow
Tomorrow I'll be gone....

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 20th June 2006]

You try holding a coffee mug in one place for two hours

The picture i was apart of is now being used on the front page of the Causeway Institute website.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 18th June 2006]

Two days until the end of three years of FD and ND in Performing Arts at Ballymoney

I've got two more days and this it? a Music performance of 'Save Tonight' and that really is it, after three years at the Causeway Institute is over.

I hope i will move peacefully to BIFHE in September with my audition next wednesday and everything will be okay. Plus i hope to keep in contact with most of the friends i have made there.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 18th June 2006]

Friday, June 29, 2007

Character Description of Mr Basford

Mr Basford is a character who is in his early forties and is one of the main teachers at Whitewall High School. He is in charge of the timetable at the school and arranges that he only teach the more clever students at Whitewall leaving other teachers with the slow, dumb and trouble-making children to teach. The subject he teachers is never made clear but when he says, Thats why I get the best maths results in the School we are led to believe he mainly teaches maths at the school.

My seems to have a strict discipline with his teaching job at Whitewall and to other teachers seem angry (when he bursts into the Drama Class after there Grease performance), mean (when he yells at Miss Parry at the beginning) and has a huge ego (claiming Im a Genius to Dont talk to me like that) but these reasons are some of the main reasons that make a fun character to play.

Other characters are scared of him like stop talking when he shouts Quiet to them, to pulling away from him when he shouts Hush Down in Mr Basfords classroom. I doubt my character would consider moving to another school as in his many years there hes created an easy teaching life for himself.

My character has mainly confrontational relationships with most of the teachers he appears with. Basford is in the middle of an argument with Miss Parry when we first see the character. Fighting over the fact that he is not getting the lead in The Mikado, he then storms out of her office, but when he sees Mr Nixon meeting her, he sees him as a threat and tries to make his time at the school not an easy one. But during his various meetings with Nixon, I believe he starts to respect his teaching style and in his final scene with Nixon, he shows off his pleasure at getting the lead in next years production at Whitewall High School.

My character does seem upset that he isnt taken seriously but I doubt he bursts into tears. Mr Basford does argue, debate, remain logical with the other characters in this production. This is shown in the conservation with Mr Nixon which ends arguing about Streamlining in the schools system.

From the rehearsal progress for this play I gather an impression of what my character would be like. I believe he would like to set an impression for the students and his fellow teachers by being sharply dressed with nice suits, I think he owns five suits and chooses his favourite to wear for that week. For this reason I chose a suit as my costume for the character.

His mood can be angry when he is in class with his students to being overconfident when he talks with fellow teachers. But its the mood of hidden sadness that surprises me when looking into this character. When Nixon gets the lead in the local theatre production over him, he feels that he is being snubbed and isnt considered as important by other people as he sees himself to be.

Whitewall High School is comprehensive school somewhere in England. The local landscape reminds us of a rural countryside setting, but this school is set in a town. Theres a factory, the noises from it being heard in the school, this is the most common sound you hear about the school apart from children laughing and playing.

Whitewall I believe would be dreary to look at because there has been little money spent to improve the school. The place is cold but has enough heat to keep the students and teachers happy. The colour scheme that Whitewall uses would be grey and white, which keeps to the dreary theme as it has no money to add colour to the school.

This is the twentieth century, the year is 1984, and its some date in late May, the time would be 10.30am and the season is in the spring.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 16th June 2006]

My Rough Notes on Teechers

I do need to talk about my possible Career making performance as Mr Basford in Teechers and the notes I made about my performance in the two weeks leading up to the main night. I understand what the notes mean and I hope you can figure them out to.

2nd May 2006


Need to be on stage for "there are only eight of us".

Been careful with chair at end of scene.

Make a chat on the phone

Everyone do "ET Phone Home".

Need to get books for table.

Make need to come from side exit

Romeo and Juliet - needs worked out

Voice slipping into American Accent?

Step towards Nixon always eye contact.

3rd May 2006


Quiet backstage

Don't flick the curtain when you exit and enter

Don't go behind poll

Work on "Mr Harrison and Eight of Us"

Need to hear you on the phone

Laugh and React

Don't have chat offstage.

Be careful of noise on platform

Don't look at Glenn in Scene 7

Two groups not putting effort in Fight for Scene 8 (Romeo and Juliet)

4th May 2006

  • Miss Cues for Harrison, 8 of us, and cold shower.
  • Make more of the look at end of scene.
  • Learns where better next time
  • Move tables stage right.
  • Good at holding curtain
  • On quicker for Scene 8 drama club
  • Think of way for Scene Change
  • Careful of Curtain at end of Scene 9

8th May 2006

  • More Life overall
  • Paul go front
  • Good understanding of lines.
  • Ninjas needs work on (miss cue)
  • Skip off to beat of music
  • Need to keep in character.
  • Act 2 Scene 5 needs worked on

9th May 2006

  • Be careful of curtains.
  • Dont Block Kat

10th May 2006

  • Miss lines at certain time.
  • Miss litter
  • Much more volume while music and noise plays in the background.
  • Pace needs quick up.
  • Remember bottoms of suit tomorrow.
  • Ninja scene needs worked on.
  • Good reactions
  • Dont step away in Act 2 Scene 5.
  • Try not to block Kat.
  • Remember White Shirt
  • Wrong Costume Tell Kristy she needs to do that.
  • Make more of first scene and for 8 of us and Mr Harrison.
  • Remember bottoms and shoes for Thursday.

11th May 2006

  • Be aware Mr Nixon, Mr Basford and Miss Whitham.
  • Dont come on too soon for Grease.

14th May 2006

  • Drum roll for like to thank
  • Volume
  • Dont knock mug over!
  • Volume over music
  • Get same reaction for quiet and hush down.
  • Volume at last scene.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Teechers Production a Great Success

Press Release Details

Teechers Production a Great Success


22 May 2006

Congratulations to Year 2 Performing Arts students on their production of John Godbers Teechers. An excellent evenings entertainment was had by all last Thursday evening at the Causeway Institutes Ballymoney camp

The play was directed by Performing Arts tutor, Gemma Shannon and Barbara Cooke. Teechers vigorously evokes life at a modern Comprehensive, using the format of an end-of-term play to sketch a drama teachers progress through two terms of unruly classes, cynical colleagues and obstructive caretakers until he departs for the safer waters of a private school. The play runs an array of emotions, climaxing with the final scene which gives a poignant edge to the comedy.

In the play, Salty, Gail and Hobby played by students Mark Graham, Kirstie Philpott and Kathryn Mc Cullagh made up the leaders of the pack, Mr. Nixon played by Glenn Mc Dowell was their new teacher and Oggy Moxon, played by Nathan Hernberg was the school bully. Other members of the cast include Ruth
Smallwoods, Brian Swann and Paul Black.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 22nd May 2006]

Counting the days until Thursday

Counting the days until Thursday when our main production will take place is a good way to pass the time.

All my lines are learnt in my head and we have time the quick costume changes so no one will miss there lines.

The set changes are easy enough and i hope we have room backstage and all the tables and chairs we will be using won't be in the way.

When you think we are there first production that is worty enough to charge entry fees it does make you feel proud.

Like always you worry about what happens next and if the choices i make will go through but i shouldn't worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself.

I hope this week will be the week i will never forget.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 14th May 2006]

Performing Arts Students Present “Teechers” Press Release

Press Release Details

Performing Arts Students Present Teechers Press Release

08 May 2006

Second Year Performing Arts students at the Causeway Institute are busily rehearsing their production of John Godbers, Teechers which will be performed on Thursday, 18th May at Ballymoney Campus starting at 8pm. Teechers vigorously evokes life at a modern Comprehensive, using the format of an end-of-term play to sketch a drama teachers progress through two terms of unruly classes, cynical colleagues and obstructive caretakers until he departs for the safer waters of a private school. The play runs an array of emotions, climaxing with the final scene which gives a poignant edge to the comedy.

In the play, Salty, Gail and Hobby played by Mark Graham, Kirstie Philpott and Kathryn Mc Cullagh make up the leaders of the pack, Mr. Nixon played by Glenn Mc Dowell is their new teacher and Oggy Moxon, played by Daniel Sharkey is the school bully. Other members of the cast include Ruth Smallwoods, Brian Swann and Paul Black. The show is being directed by Performing Arts lecturer, Gemma Shannon. A must see show for everyone who has ever been to school!

Tickets are £5 for adults and £3 for children and can be purchased from reception at the Causeway Institutes Ballymoney Campus. For further information please contact Hilary or Olive on 028 2766 0401 or visit

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 11th May 2006]

My Qoute about First Diploma Drama now on its website

I think this is pretty cool that they quote me about what i thought of my year in the BTEC First Diploma Course. Here is that qoute.

Brian Swann As someone who lacks confidence when performing, I found the experience of First Diploma to be a turning point for me. I enjoyed all of the practical work and have found it to be a major factor in my decision to return to the National Diploma this year.

[Originally Posted on my Myspace Blog - 8th April 2006]