16 Jan 2022

A star is born

SCHOOL’S out for summer this week and most children are looking forward to the break and maybe a summer camp here or there.

SCHOOL’S out for summer this week and most children are looking forward to the break and maybe a summer camp here or there.

For Portlaoise boy Caleb Macken, who is aged nine, the excitement is almost unbearable, because he is about to take on his first acting role, a major part in an Irish movie, to be filmed this July.

Caleb’s stage skills were discovered by Elaine Hearty when he took part in the Music For Fun summercamp last year, and she awarded him a scholarship to attend her Showstoppers Stageschool Academy in Portarlington. The acting bug was in his blood though, as he is the grandson of Gabrielle Macken, who ran the Target Theatre Company in Portlaoise, and regularly goes to speech and drama classes.

Ms Hearty sent him for the film audition, and Caleb was thrilled to be chosen, and got a great reaction from his mother Carla, and classmates and teachers at Ratheniska NS, who allowed him time off for rehearsals.

“They all thought it was very good. Ms Stapleton my teacher was really excited, and the Principal Ms Dunne was over the moon,” he told the Leinster Express.

His proud grandparents Gabrielle and Paddy Macken, a retired Portlaoise librarian, have been driving him to The Factory Studio in Dublin for the rehearsals, and will be chaperoning their only grandchild on set.

The film, called Cluck, is backed by the Irish Film Board and is set to be premiered at the Cork Film Festival. It is produced and directed by Rory Dungan and Michael Lavelle. Caleb will play a boy in an orphanage called ‘Robot’. and is working hard to learn his lines. He is getting to know his fellow actors, who are all around the same age.

“It will be fun, but it’s a bit hard to remember my lines” says Caleb, whose favourite actor is Johnny Depp.

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