Derek Chapman has been acting and directing in Irish theatres since 1973. Having begun his career in Noel Pearson’s original production of Jesus Christ Superstar, he became a member of the National Theatre of Ireland, Abbey Theatre. His work as an actor, director and writer has ranged from Shakepeare through operas and musicals to pantomime, and he has worked throughout the world, from New York to Tokyo.
In 1984, Derek formed his own theatre company, Smock Alley, which has toured worldwide. He has acted over a dozen great Shakespearean roles, as well as the challenges of the leading parts in Equus, The Elephant Man, Amadeus, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead and Charley’s Aunt. As both an actor and director, he has been part of the International Yeats’ Festival at the Abbey and the Beckett Festival at the Gate where he directed and acted in five of the nineteen productions at the event. Lyric fm has also provided him with the opportunity to develop ideas on major dramatic achievements of performance artists across the spectrum through Ethna Tinney’s Green Room, a programme for which he has regularly written and presented.
In opera, Derek has directed Irene Sandford in Handel’s Imeneo at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. He is a tutor of phonetics at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and has collaborated with Veronica Dunne on many opera scenes and a production of Cavalli’s Egisto there. This collaboration with producer Colette McGahon on Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas marks the first operatic production in the RIAM’S Katherine Brennan Hall.