In Conversation with …..Maria McAteer, actor, writer, musician and ex world champion Irish dancer based in East Sussex. This week we welcomed Maria to chat with us on a variety of topics including family from Trinidad, Ireland and England, dancing, singing and acting highlights, life as a mixed race woman, as well as her thoughts on how people are managing during Covid-19.
Maria is half Irish and half Trinidadian, born in London and raised in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Maria was dragged to Irish dancing classes by her Dublin Mammy when she was four years old. An extremely high energy child, the aim was to exhaust her out before everyone else collapsed around her. Maria went on to become a champion Irish dancer winning All England, All Ireland and finally World Championship titles.
After completing her A levels at secondary school, Maria trained and worked as an RGN/SRN Nurse at The Freeman Hospital Newcastle. She then trained as a Midwife at St Mary’s Maternity Hospital before moving to London to pursue her first dream which was to study drama. Maria studied drama at “The Poor School” - a charity run drama school, where students who wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to study drama could work during study to pay their own fees. Maria worked as staff nurse in UCH, St Bart’s and Great Ormond Street Hospital throughout her studies. Her Post graduation TV acting credits include: Byker Grove, Finney, Harry, The Bill, Call Red. Theatre credits include: Theatre Centre, Krazy Kat Theatre Company, Damn Cheek Productions, Tara Arts, Talawa, Singapore Rep, Ridiculusmus Theatre Company, Brighton Beam, Tram Shed.
As a writer Maria won National Westminster Playwright Awards for her first two plays “Cat-food” and “Little Secrets” both performed at The Soho Theatre. Other plays include: “The Bees Mouth” and “My Friend Lester’’ both hits at The Brighton Festival. “My Friend Lester” - A musical play exploring the romance between Billie Holiday and Lester Young, transferred to Jermyn St Theatre London then toured UK and Sweden. Most recently “One Last Look” and “The Guinness Girl” - a semi autobiographical story currently in very early film development stages.
“On A Wicklow Hill” was due to premier at London’s Irish Centre in March 2020 but unfortunately had to be cancelled due to lockdown.
Maria’s late father Al Timothy was a well known Trinidadian jazz musician and composer who penned the hit “Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me” Inspired by her father, Maria studied jazz vocals at Chichester College and is a regular guest vocalist on the jazz circuit. Her album “Her Night At Noon” a collection of songs she wrote was released recently on iTunes.