Background: Originally from Dublin, Murphy is an actor, producer, director, writer and co-artistic director of the Fundamental Theater Project in New York. She lives in Hell’s Kitchen.

When did you move to the U.S.?

“I moved in January 2008 to attend the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in New York. I never planned to leave Ireland, and didn't even tell my family when I did the audition in London. Then that summer I visited New York for the first time and fell in love with it. When I found out I was accepted I knew that I had to go.” 

How did you first become interested in drama?

“As a child I took speech and drama classes and was an Irish dancer for years. When I was around 15 I had a wonderful English teacher who really took an interest in my writing. 

“I had always been an avid reader, but she ignited a new interest in me to explore literature, particularly drama. The first time I ever read Shakespeare was in her class, and I would say that experience really lit a fire in me.” 

What did you study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts?

“I attended for two years, completing the conservatory program in 2009. During my time there I developed a really strong foundation in my acting technique. 

“We studied mainly the techniques of Sanford Meisner, with some exploration of Stanislavsky, and covered all areas of theatre from the Greeks to contemporary American. We also learned the basics in stage make-up, fencing and stage combat. The approach was very hands on, and there were many opportunities to tackle many different characters.”

Tell us about your role at the Fundamental Theater Project.

“Fundamental Theater Project was founded in April 2010 by myself and my co-artistic director Sam Underwood. Since our formation we have worked with over 150 artists and produced work both here and abroad. 

“My responsibility is to find and produce work that speaks to the mission of our company. As I am from Ireland, Sam is from England, and our managing director Katrina Denney is from the U.S., part of our mission is to bring international work to the New York stage and vice verse. 

“Our first production was the U.S. premiere of Gary Duggan's play Trans Euro Express at the Irish Arts Center as part of the 1st Irish Theatre Festival.”

Tell us about your company's project 3DHamlet: A Lost Generation which starred Alec Baldwin.

“We knew that we wanted to do Hamlet, but with a modern twist. The lost generation part was inspired by a New York Times article of the same name which discussed the young people of today, and our struggles to find our place in society. 

“It touched on the conflicts between the old and new generation, particularly in relation to the recession. The 3D element relates to our use of multimedia -- the play within a play scene was filmed and presented in 3D! 

“We had actually done a one night benefit reading of Hamlet a few months prior with Alec and were delighted that he wanted to be involved in the actual production. We used a lot of projections in the show, and the ghost of Hamlet's father (Alec) was a filmed projection. It was received very well in Edinburgh, and we sold out almost every night. It's a piece we are all very proud of.”

Interview by Molly Muldoon

Dublin native Nicola Murphy