King Lear – Cast Bio | Danann

With the company now in rehearsals, we interview the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School actors cast to play alongside theatre professionals, Timothy West, Stephanie Cole and David Hargreaves in King Lear.

Here we get to know Danann, one of the Theatre School’s talented rising stars.


Danann McAleer
Kent/Understudy Lear

BOVTS: Prospero in The Tempest, Badger in The Wind in the Willows (both Redgrave Theatre); Touchstone in As You Like It, Harry Brewer in Our Country’s Good, Sparkish in The Country Wife, Arkasha in Ladybird, John Martin in Separate Tables. Pre BOVTS: King John in King John, Sol in Lockdown (Theatre Royal Bath); Ensemble in King Lear (for Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory); M. R. James in A Thin Ghost, Ethan in The Orchid Girl, Tupolski in The Pillowman, Apemantus in Timon of Athens, Corporal McBurney in The Beguiled. Film/TV: Theo in Watch Over Me (CBA Productions); Adolf Hitler in Seven Days that Made the Führer (Channel 5); Sam in Conversations with Strangers (James Sampson Film); Gang Leader in Cal (Bonne Idee).

Where are you from and how did you get into acting?
Grew up in Weston-super-Mare mostly, so I’m a local chap! I got into acting in a round-about kind of way: having spent several years post-secondary school working a variety of hugely fulfilling jobs (call-centre, warehouse, chip-shop, you name it), I took up evening classes on a whim (and a desperate need to be doing something creative), ended up successfully auditioning for a great course called the Bristol Acting Academy & just sort of ran with it! I realised pretty early on in that process that I’d found my calling. I’ve worked with a lot of great local companies & people since then – and eventually managed to trade-in the day job.

Who are you playing in King Lear and what challenges have you faced in that role?
I’m playing Kent, a role I’ve always loved – so I’m hugely excited to tackle it! He’s the embodiment of the loyal soldier, but sees honesty to his King as being an integral part of his duty… which leads him into some pretty precarious situations. Striking the balance between that noble figure & the volatile, dangerous guise he also appears in is sometimes tricky – but always fun! Deciding how convincing an actor he is, and where & when he gets lost in his part. Technically, the doubling of roles is a challenge too – luckily I get on very well with Will Kelly (my fellow Kent), and so the process has been entirely rewarding so far!

What’s your favourite thing about training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School?
I’d say that I’ve found the technical side of things the most rewarding – getting a grounding in so many forms of dance, singing, movement, voice techniques, etc. has been invaluable – especially as it’s the side of acting in which I had very limited experience. The shows we’ve performed in during our last year have been a great way to gear up for the industry too. Not to mention that the friends I’ve made in my time here really are like family.

How does it feel to be taking the Bristol Old Vic stage in your graduating show?
It feels fantastic. I’d hoped to be on this stage at some point in my grad year, and I’m thrilled that it’s happening as a part of such an exciting project. There’s an element of it which is daunting, but actually it’s feeling like home already. Everyone at the theatre has been so welcoming & it’s amazing to be working with Tim, Stephanie, David & Tom every day – the talent, insight & humour they bring to the rehearsal room is astounding. It’s a real joy. Here’s to a great run!

King Lear continues our 250th Anniversary Season in our Theatre 18 Jun-10 Jul. To find out more about the show and to book your tickets, click here.


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