Wayne Jordan (42) is a theater director and writer. He is from Donaghmede and lives in Dublin.
I was sensitive, creative and cheerful. I loved He-Man, GI Joe and all those action toys. We lived on a cul-de-sac so we could be out on the street kicking balls at curbs all the time. There were a lot of children there.
Have you been to a lot of clubs?
My mother encouraged us to become carpenters. I was in the Boy Scouts, I swam, I did karate and I was in a marching band. From this developed a great love for music.
Marching band? Tell us more…
I played saxophone and clarinet. They gave you the instrument for free. They paid €1 a week and it was a way of learning. Many people from the area were in it. We only had seven pieces to play, but you had to know them and be able to march. We used to host the Rose of Tralee and St Patrick’s Day Parade each year. We loved going to Tralee. We all slept in sleeping bags at recreation centers for a week and you had to do a lot of parades.
Does music still play a big role in your life?
I started playing the recorder during lockdown. I got a baroque music teacher and was pretty fixated on it for a while.
We heard that you also liked swimming.
My brother and I swam competitively. We went to the pool before and after school for six years, we all did galas. One day we sat down with our parents and told them we had been swimming all our lives and wanted to give it up. And we did.
Choose three words to describe yourself.
Enthusiastic, playful and curious.
What drives you?
A connection to other people.
Is that why you came to the theater?
I like being part of a community rather than being creative on my own.
And why become a director?
I like leadership but in different parts of my life I would not enjoy it. I like to share my vision with people.
Tell us about the play you’re putting on at the abbey.
Luck just kissed you Hello by Amy Conroy is about three men at their dying father’s bedside – a gay man, a trans man and a married country man expecting his first son. It’s darkly funny and fast-paced.
In 2017 you attended the puppetry school in Prague. From where?
I wasn’t as fresh as I wanted to be and I wasn’t as clear about my position on the job. I wanted to step back and recharge.
Biggest lessons learned there?
I’ve learned to be with people and be with myself and be easy on myself. I was probably hard on myself before, but that was part of the drive that got me where I am today. Instead of pushing, I found another way – radical tenderness. After Prague I did an autobiographical dance work [Leaving]where I didn’t wear much clothing – a postmodern piece – and my mother performed with me.
What are your experiences with homophobia?
It’s an old story. Of course it is always there and always has been. I’m a tall, hairy man now, so I’m probably presenting a lot less “sparkling gays” than I used to when I was younger. But I’ve been chased and beaten and all that stuff. This [recent] Attacks make me angry.
Do you feel comfortable enough to hold hands with a guy in Dublin?
I don’t have anyone to hold hands with right now, but there are many people who would be afraid for many reasons. It has a lot to do with the government’s contempt for poor people, which is fueling a seething anger in the streets.
Best advice given?
My art teacher told me that I didn’t have to draw the same things as the other boys. She encouraged me to pursue my own interests.
Best advice you give?
Amy Conroy’s Luck Just Kissed You Hello premieres at the Abbey Theater on May 4; Abbeytheatre.ie
https://www.independent.ie/life/upfront-wayne-jordan-on-marching-to-his-own-beat-in-the-world-of-theatre-41597492.html First of all: Wayne Jordan on his march into the world of theater to his own rhythm