Please don’t cast me as a prostitute — again
Poles are now the biggest non-Irish group living in the state — when will our stage production reflect this, asks Eithne Shortall
Before she heard about an Abbey theatre audition for an eastern European character, Alicja Ayres was ready to give up on acting. Having moved to Ireland in 2006 and enrolled in a full-time course at Dublin’s Gaiety School of Acting in 2009, she was starting to accept that the career she’d dreamt about as a child in Gdansk was never going to happen here.
Since graduating from the Gaiety last year, Ayres has landed meaty leading roles with independent productions. In Ireland’s professional film and theatre industry, however, the scope is limited. Ayres has played a cleaning lady and a refugee. Last year she was called to audition for The Fall, a BBC drama starring Gillian Anderson and shot in Belfast. “They were looking for a ‘stunningly beautiful escort, eastern European’,” she recalls.