Catherine Walsh (Madge), Shane O'Regan (Gar Public), Alex Murphy (Gar Private) and Seamus O'Rourke (S B O'Donnell) in Brian Friel's 'Philadelphia Here I Come!' directed by Geoff Gould and presented by Patrick Talbot Productions at Cork Opera House, running October 5th to 16th. This classic play by Ireland's most lauded playwright will be the first major dramatic presentation for live audiences in Cork since the easing of restrictions. (Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision)

‘Philadelphia, Here I Come!’ opens at at the Cork Opera House on Tuesday night and will feature the professional acting debut of an upcoming Cork actor, Oscar Smith.

Oscar, who is a Leaving Cert student in Cork City, was selected to play the role of Joe, one of ‘the boys’ in the play.

“This is my first professional stage role and I am very excited for the opportunity to be sharing the stage with such an accomplished cast and production team,” he said. 

Over a hundred young actors expressed an interest in auditioning for the roles of Gar’s other young friends, Tom and Ned, and Ben Reilly and Lorcan Strain were successful.

Donegal native, Lorcan was actually on a bus to visit friends in Cork when he heard about the auditions. He says he read the list of those already cast in lead roles and felt that he really wanted to be part of the production. 

“My friend, Shane O’Regan, was cast to play Gar Public and I texted him to say I was in the play too, before I even auditioned, so when I got in front of the Director, Geoff Gould, I had to get the part,” Lorcan said.  

Ben Reilly is a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting and has a long list of credits to his name. “When I found out that I’d been cast, I was delighted. There is nothing like performing to a live audience and I’m so looking forward to it.”

Starring Alex Murphy (Conor in ‘The Young Offenders’), the remainder of the 14-strong cast includes Abbey and Druid Theatre regular Catherine Walsh, Seamus O’Rourke, Fionula Linehan, Mark O’Regan, Garvan McGrath, Arthur Riordan, Megan McDonnell, Dominic Moore and Michael Sands.

Set in the fictional town of Ballybeg, ‘Philadelphia, Here I Come!’ is regarded as Friel’s first masterpiece. He would go on to write such legendary titles as Translations, Dancing at Lughnasa and Faith Healer. 

The production is directed by Geoff Gould, director of the Fit-Up Festival in West Cork, and formerly Artistic Director of The Everyman Theatre. Set Design is by Sabine Dargent, costume design by Liv Monaghan, lighting by Paul Denby and sound by Cormac O’Connor.  

Poignant, funny, and brilliantly theatrical, ‘Philadelphia, Here I Come!’ is not to be missed! 

Tickets €28/€22 concession from or call the box office on 021 4270022.