Joe Gill is currently playing Harry O’Dwyer in the stage adaptation of Helen Forrester’s book By The Waters Of Liverpool, with the script by Rob Fennah. The play opened at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool last month, and opens tonight at Theatre Royal in St Helen’s before heading to Southport, Halifax, Lytham and finishing with dates at Floral Pavilion in Wirral from 24th to 29th October. Last year, Joe was in the one-man play Mr Incredible playing Adam, and he previously played Keith Rae at the Greenwich Theatre for Into Battle. In 2013, Joe joined the cast of Emmerdale as regular character Finn Barton, before leaving in 2017, and he will be appearing in the upcoming independent feature film Treading Water, which is set for completion at the end of this year, with the film being shot in Manchester and directed by Gino Evans and produced by Ben Toye from Big North Films. Recently answering our questions, Joe talks about performing in By The Waters Of Liverpool as Harry O’Dwyer, playing regular character Finn Barton in Emmerdale and working on the upcoming independent film Treading Water.
How is your time going so far performing as Harry O’Dwyer in the UK Tour of By The Waters Of Liverpool?
An absolute joy. I feel we’ve created a very special piece of theatre here. It’s a show uniquely different to anything I’ve been a part of before. And there’s a great bond within the company.
Was there anything that drew you to the production and what is Harry like to play?
I read the script as a whole when I was first contacted about the play and really connected with Helen’s journey. Harry comes into the play in the latter half and the emotion that the play takes on between the pair in the later stages of the play is what really made me want to be a part of it. On top of all the other fun roles that I get to do prior to this!
Can you tell us about By The Waters Of Liverpool and who do you think will enjoy watching the show?
For fans of the books it’s, of course, a must see for you! But if not, the play is about one incredibly strong, resilient, talented woman who fights for her opportunity.
What is it like telling Helen Forrester’s story and what was it like reading Rob Fennah’s script for the first time?
Brilliant. Some real laugh out loud moments and some tearjerkers. I actually think the first time I read it I decided to do it out loud with all the characters, just on my own… I was emotionally exhausted in a great way!
What are you looking forward to for continuing your role of Harry O’Dwyer until the final ever tour closes later this month?
The beautiful thing about a tour is it’s a different experience in every venue and city we go to. Stages are different and so are audiences. It keeps things fresh and alive for everyone.
How did you find the experience performing in the one-man play Mr Incredible last year as Adam?
Probably the most dialogue I’ll ever have to learn for anything. It was very demanding in that sense and I’m so happy to be able to say I’ve done something like that. It was an important piece of theatre and not an easy story to tell and I hope it spoke to people who saw it.
What did you enjoy most about playing Keith Rae in Into Battle at the Greenwich Theatre?
It was a really interesting experience being transported back to the early 1900s, never mind at Oxford University! I enjoyed the fact everything to do with that play and the lives people lead were so detached from anything I’d ever known myself and therefore was a completely new experience.
On screen, you are in the cast of the upcoming independent feature film Treading Water, is there anything you can tell us about this and what was it like to work on?
It’s a really gritty film shot in Manchester about a young man struggling with intrusive thoughts and OCD, who is constantly getting himself into trouble through being his own worst enemy mentally. It’s directed by Gino Evans and produced by Ben Toye at Big North Films and set for completion late 2023, then hopefully it’ll get a nice festival run over the next year and hopefully get picked up for distribution.
How was it joining the cast of Emmerdale in 2013 as regular character Finn Barton and do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role?
I’ll always remember that day. Cried my eyes out with joy.
What was Finn like to play and how was it on set of the series?
He was very different to me so it was great to really see things from his perspective and shape the character over so many years. And, of course, the set of the village was a beautiful place to work. Especially on a summer’s morning.
Do you have any stand-out memories from filming as Finn in Emmerdale?
Filming the big stunt of 2016 at Longcross Studios was amazing. Some really big films have/were being done there so it was great to be around that for a few weeks.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
I had a wonderful drama teacher at school called Mr Keyes. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be doing it, I’m quite sure.
What are some of your favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch?
I love all sorts, I don’t have a specific type of thing I like but I’ve recently watched the film Green Book again, which I think is a very special film.
Have you been given any advice over your career so far that has stuck with you?
Enjoy the ride as the final destination will forever change anyway. And don’t say no to other things you also want in your life away from acting. Let it all work itself out together.
How do you like to spend your time away from acting?
Family, friends, girlfriend, dog, Man United.
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