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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Fiona Walsh, Actress, Comic, Writer, Producer, Activist and President of Westwood Entertainment

Fiona Walsh is an actress, comic, writer, producer and activist and President of Westwood Entertainment. She trained at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin under the tutelage of Joe Dowling (AD at the Guthrie Theater). In London she appeared in television on shows for BBC, LWT and Carlton television. Her credits on screen include The Commitments and The Education of Max Bickford (working with one of her favorite actors, Richard Dreyfuss) along with many indie films and foreign TV shows. Favorite stage roles include Nellie Nora in Eclipsed at the Irish Repertory Theatre, Moya in The Shaughraun (also at the Rep) Sister Impartial in Celtic Tiger (me arse!) at the Irish Arts Center and The Yellow Peril in Da at the Guthrie, directed by Doug Hughes. She appeared in Mind the Gap's production of Britbits 5 and 6 at Manhattan Theater Source and also in A Celebration of Brian Friel at the Irish Arts Center. She was also in Origin Theatre Company's Mondays in May Reading Series of the acclaimed "Pump Girl".  Her film work was in the soon to be released indie feature “All that Glitters” ( and she will be filming the romantic comedy “Three Days in Dublin” later in the year.

Fiona has been writing since childhood! Her first production – The Fairy in the Bush – received its premiere in Mrs. Hoolan’s back yard! Other collaborations include While You Were Outa one act play about the struggles of the temping world, and Irish Soap a spoof on soap operas and Irish people, both of which were produced in NYC. She writes and performs character and sketch comedy and as a stand up has performed at clubs all over the city as well as New Jersey and the Northeast and the Galway Comedy Festival and the International Comedy Club, both in Ireland. Her material has been published in Judy Brown's compilation humor book Love's Funny That Way (Barnes & Noble 2006) alongside such folks as Ellen, Jerry Seinfeld and Rita Rudner. She’s been on The Joey Reynolds Show on WOR710AM and on Lionel Show on Air America.

You can also see her at Sundays at Seven, a monthly music/comedy show she co-produces and performs in at the Irish Arts Center which regularly features comics from HBO, Comedy Central and all the late shows. She also co-produced other comedy and theatrical events, including benefits for Chernobyl Children’s Project and Operation Smile. As a comic she has also performed at benefits for League of Humane Voters (NYC) and Coalition for NYC Animals “Great White American Teeth”, her one person show, debuted at the Midtown International Theater Festival in 2004 and ran off-Broadway at the Irish Repertory Theatre in 2006 and in 1st Irish 08 as well as touring the Northeast and New Jersey and the Mexican Riviera aboard Irish Music Cruises.

Fiona has also written two short films, Going Without and ErectOStop. ErectoStop won Most Outrageous Comedy at the Giggleshorts Festival in Toronto and has played at the LA Intl. Short Film Festival, Asbury Short Shorts, Galway Film Fleadh, Kittyflicks 2003 (part of the CatLaughs Intl. Comedy Festival in Kilkenny) Her short film script (Stashing the Ash) got to 3rd rounds of the British Short Screenplay Competition and she is working on a feature as well as several projects for film and television. She won the Warren Adler Short Story Competition (Peoples Choice) ( – writer of The War of the Roses. Random Hearts) and appeared with Mr. Adler at his book reading/signing at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Center.

Her interest in electronic music and deejaying has seen her branch out as a freelance writer/interviewer for and the soon to be launched and she also covers events for RTE Pulse Radio in Ireland. This will take her to Miami in March to cover the Winter Music Conference. As one of the organizers of the tri-state regions largest meetup groups for electronic music, Fiona is kept busy –moving and shaking!  We are so pleased to present her as our latest Mover and Shaker!  Peachy Deegan interviewed Fiona Walsh for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: When did you realize you were funny?
Fiona Walsh: I used to do impressions of my grand aunt getting out of a chair (she had a bad leg!) when I was 5 that used to make my family laugh, And then I used to do impersonations of Frank Spencer, a funny TV character. So I suppose pretty early on! 

What role have you enjoyed playing the most and why?
I would say it was a dramatic role - Nellie Nora in the play Eclipsed at the Irish Repertory Theatre. It was very heavy subject matter, about unwed mothers being sent away to homes run by the Magdalene Sisters. I had to play my character both as a young girl and as an older woman. It was a challenge but I really enjoyed it. 

Can you please tell us about Westwood Entertainment?
I started it a few years ago producing comedy gigs. People often ask me to put together shows for them. I've done gigs in NJ and in Long Island for the Elks Club and various places. But I'm expanding it to cover the TV and film pitches I'm working on. I do enjoy putting together a great show for people. 

Tell us about your field hockey career please.
Haha! Well as you saw from the excerpt of my one person show, Great White American Teeth, I did have a brief sojourn on the hockey field, very brief. I did play in school and was actually a sub on a team for a brief spell but spent most of my time running away from the ball. I always feared brain injury. The stage was a safer bet! 

What are you doing to celebrate St. Patrick's Day?
Well I will start in Cielo dancing with two of my favorite DJ's in the city, Niki McNally and Alex Pearce and I'll probably join some friends downtown to drown the shamrock later on. I'll watch the parade from home! 

What should most people in Manhattan know about the Irish that they don't know?
Irish people born in Ireland do not eat corned beef and cabbage. I may have had it once growing up. We ate bacon and cabbage!!  But we do love our spuds!! 

What's your favorite joke?
My favorite joke is too naughty for publication!!  

When will we be able to do a double feature with you and Warren Beatty?
From your lips to Gods ears!! I would love to take the show to LA and am working on that at the moment. There at least the possibility exists that I could invite him along!! It would be so fantastic to meet him in real life.  

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
I would have to say my parents. My dad always believed in not doing things in half measures - do a good job or don't do it at all - so I always try to live up to that. My mom instilled the love of theatrical arts in me. 

What are you proudest of and why?
I have a passion for good causes so I'm always proudest when I combine my acting/comedy skills for a bigger purpose, like doing benefits for animal -friendly or kid-friendly causes. I helped to organize a few benefits over the years that made money and promoted a good idea - that always me happy. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Truly, I would love to work with Steve Coogan. He's probably one of my favorite comedic actors. I never tire of his work. Steve... I'm waiting for your call!! 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
I won many medals and trophies for Irish dancing!  I've won several writing competitions, a giant chocolate Easter egg on the Late Late Show back home and most recently the Peoples Choice Award for my short story in the Warren Adler short story competition. It's called 'High Heels" and is available for download on 

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
I love walking along the newly refurbished Hudson River Park. Lots of dogs and dog runs and great views near my home! 

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
Forever 21!!! And Saks for perfume! 

What is your favorite drink?
What a loaded question for an Irish woman!! Mmm. Have to say an apple martini but I can get down with a lovely Jameson too!

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Being vegetarian, its got to be Candle Cafe on 3rd and 75th! Delish! 

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
Well I'm in the process of reading "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann and I'm sure that will turn into my favorite book but Warren Adlers' New York Echoes collection is wonderful. 

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
An animal rescue center. Because I love animals and believe in adoption first and foremost! Get those puppies out of the pound! 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Well I dance every weekend - is that athletic? I don't do much in the way of marathons or anything like that. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Get a kati roll at 5am in the morning! 

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
Well I saw the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit at the Whitney in January which was truly beautiful. Music I would have to say it was Electric Zoo last year at Randalls Island - a two day electronic music festival with some of the best artists in the world performing. Amazing! 

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Most underrated is how friendly people are - most overrated - pizza! 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Well its got to be TOP TEETH!! My one person show is called Great White American Teeth - I think my interest in it is obvious!! 

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I hate strong gusts of wind and unmanageable sandwiches!! I love having my feet tickled!! Maybe thats TMI?
How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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