The pandemic and all it entails has quite literally wiped out a year and a half of our social activities. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the current question on everyone’s lips is: “What’s the first thing you’re going to do when the country fully opens back up?” Some people can’t wait to dine indoors, some can’t wait to go abroad on holidays, and some are keen to go to a live gig. If the latter is you, then read on, because we’ve got some great news.
This week, I caught up with Fair City heartthrob Ryan Andrews who has, over the past thirteen years, become a household name playing family-favourite Sean Cassidy. Arriving in the soap’s fictional village of Carrigstown as a fresh-faced teenager, regular viewers will know that Ryan has been at the centre of some of the programme’s biggest storylines. Spoiler alert – I’m told that things are set to ‘get really heated over the next two weeks’ for Mr. Cassidy, but you didn’t read that here! However, what you did read here is all about Ryan’s new venture where he’s calling all cars to ‘PARK N PARTY’ at his new venture, a safe, outdoor family experience, guaranteed to satisfy the appetite of Ireland’s entertainment-starved masses in a socially-distanced, yet fun-filled way.
In fact, when it comes to entertaining us, Ryan’s got some pretty stellar credentials. From the age of ten, this multi-talented Dubliner has worked constantly in theatre, stage and TV (he got his big break in RTÉ’s The Clinic), he was a finalist and a firm favourite with viewers in Dancing with the Stars, and he has performed in numerous stage and theatre productions.
In addition, Ryan has won a Best Actor Award for his role in the short film ‘Prodigal Son’ in New York’s Buffalo Screams Film Festival. So you get it, this twenty-eight year old trouper has more strings to his bow than the RTÉ concert orchestra.
Teaming up with old pal and fellow Panto star James Patrice, this Prince Charming tells us he cannot wait to get back performing live and “have the craic” with James: “It’s the first time in a year and a half that we can perform in front of a live audience, and I cannot wait for this. PARK N PARTY is a safe, Covid-compliant, drive-in show for all the family to enjoy”.
Think along the lines of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, only this time it’s ‘Irish style,’ and you’ve got the gist readers: “There’s a really nice concept to it. We are taking a chance and trying something fresh. There’ll be ‘Dancing with the Cars’, ‘Beep ‘n’ Bingo’ and audiences can sing and shout along with our live band for ‘Car-a-oke’” reveals an excited Ryan.
In addition, families ranging from ages nine to ninety can enjoy a game of Play your Cars Right in an effort to take home “a prize at the Wheelie Big Quiz,” laughs the show’s family favourite host.
The entire concept of ‘PARK N PARTY’ was made possible courtesy of a support scheme by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Ryan explains: “Due to us receiving this grant, this new show will employ up to seventy entertainment professionals. So apart from the performers, there will be employment for designers and technicians etc. too”.
While I was chatting with Ryan, he was keen to let readers know that he has “fond memories” regarding a trip to Roscommon.
“I work in the Spar on Fair City and I was a brand ambassador for Spar. One of my jobs was to cut the ribbon on the Spar in Castlerea. It was a good few years ago now but we had a lovely day visiting Roscommon. My dad came with me and he went into the local bookies to place a bet on a football match and when we drove home to Donaghmede (Dublin), he found out his team had won and he was delighted. He went to the local bookies to cash in his winnings but was told there was an issue with it or something like that. We just hopped back into the car and drove back to Roscommon where he had no problem at all cashing in his winnings. The girl in the bookies was lovely. There was no issue whatsoever,” laughed Ryan, before joking, “Mind you, by the time we’d spent money on petrol and stopped for a bit of lunch, he’d almost used up his winnings!”
If you want to go ‘parking mad’ and have a great time ‘to boot’, then tickets for ‘The Live Drive-in PARK N PARTY’ are on sale at The Black Box, Galway (August 27th to 29th) from thelivedrivein.ie. Tickets are €47.50 per car!