Bil Keating

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Bil Keating, Television and Theatre Director, Lighting Designer and Tutor was born in the Liberties of Dublin. Working as a messenger boy from the age of thirteen he fell in love with the Theatre and attended as many shows as his meagre income allowed. He became something of a “Stage door Johnny” waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of the actors and being rewarded with their autographs. At eighteen he took the boat for Liverpool and began searching for work. As luck would have it the first job he was offered was as an usher in the Liverpool Empire. This was, he decided, a sign of his destiny and bold as brass he crossed the road to the Liverpool Playhouse where in a matter of hours he landed a position more to his liking. Based in the workshop he began to learn the rudiments of stagecraft and watched rehearsals at every opportunity. A career that was to span four decades was launched. In a relatively short period, although not without tears, he moved from washing canvas and sweeping the stage to being Artistic Director of a Theatre Club in the heart of London where he directed most of the productions. This was followed by many years as director at the following: Richmond, York, Bromley, Clacton-on-sea, Guildford, Harrogate, Kettering, Salisbury, Colchester, Belfast and Leicester. A British Arts Council award for directing followed by two years as a drama director at the BBC brings his history up to the year 1968, when he was offered, and accepted, an invitation to join RTÉ Raidió Teilifís Éireann there later honoured with many awards, including a “Jacobs” Jacob's Award for his contribution to music. He also found time to direct for the stage; notable productions include: “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris”, “My Astonishing Self” with Donal Donnelly, “Star of Erin” (co-author) and other plays, revues and music based shows. Now in semi-retirement he continues to work in Theatre and Television as a free lance contract Director. The Hostage (play) is one of his favourite pieces perhaps because it was the first play he ever directed. Little did he know then that he would later be recommended by Samuel French as something of an authority on the play and chalk up no less than fourteen productions in the UK and advise on scripting and technical matters as far afield as Chingola and Santiago.