James Boal: Trainspotting Live | Interview

James Boal: Trainspotting Live | Interview

By Sharon Clarke

The final cast is announced for the 2018 UK tour and London season of Trainspotting Live, the acclaimed no-holds-barred immersive, in-ye-face theatre staging of Irvine Welsh’s classic novel.

New to the cast are James Boal (as Mother Superior) and Andrew Still (Sick Boy). They join returning cast members Rachael Anderson (Laura), Finlay Bain (Tommy), Chris Dennis (Begbie), Erin Marshall (Alison) and Frankie O’Connor (Renton).

James Boal (Mother Superior in Trainspotting Live) is a Northern-Irish actor based in Edinburgh. His recent roles include the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Thor in Manhattan Children’s Theatre Company’s Mermalade, and William Shakespeare in The Shakespeares: Scenes from a Marriage at The Rose Playhouse, London as part of the “From the Thistle to the Rose” Festival 2017.

I spoke to James Boal about his career and how he got the role of Johnny Swan (Mother Superior) in the show…

Can we talk about your acting career and how it all started?

“Well, it all started in P7, when I took part in the school play. Joking aside, I started taking it seriously in 2009 when I joined an amateur drama group in Newtownards, I then attended Belfast MET and studied Performing Arts. After this, I spent a year training with the Lyric Drama Studio in Belfast. In 2013 I moved to Edinburgh to study drama at university.”

What can we expect from Trainspotting Live?

“It’s ‘in-your-face’ theatre, very closeup and personal, it’s feral, interactive and takes the audience very much out off their comfort zone. The creator of Trainspotting Irvine Welsh actually described it as the “best way to experience trainspotting.”

What appealed to you about the role?

“For me, it was challenging, something very different. Plus the film is a cult classic, who wouldn’t want to be in it? It’s so well known for the music, the characters, certain iconic scenes.”

What do you like to do when you’re not acting?

“I have a good social network of friends in Edinburgh and like to spend time with them and I also work part-time. I love coming home as well, home is always home. I have always had amazing family support and my Mum – Marlyn, is an almighty force and an extremely proud mum.”

Do you have a particular acting style?

“I think, as an actor, I work with what you get. It’s all about bringing the ‘script’ to life. I would stick to the classical principles of acting but still work within the realms of versatility and character.”

Who would you consider to be inspirational?

“Actors like Kenneth Branagh, Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench are phenomenal talents and I really enjoy their work. On a more personal level, certain lecturers and teachers inspired me, such as Sheila O’Kane and Jenny Long from Belfast Met.Their teachings and training were invaluable.”

Trainspotting Live runs at the Belfast Waterfront: Tuesday 30 January – Saturday 03 February ’18.

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