Sean Power (actor)

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Sean Power
Born (1974-11-01) 1 November 1974 (age 43)
Occupation Actor
Stage director
Years active 1993-currently

Sean Power is an American actor, writer and director. He has worked extensively in Canada, the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom where he currently resides. Having established himself as a theatrical lead actor in Toronto, New York and Dublin from 1992 – 2005, UK audiences would best know for his role as ‘Marty’, Jack Dee’s co- star in the acclaimed BBC 2 comedy series Lead Balloon and Colby Brown in the E4 series The Work Experience.

Early Life[edit]

Born to an Irish father and Italian mother, Power was raised in Canada, the U.S and Ireland. His family moved frequently every few years due to his father’s work commitments, living in Chicago, Edmonton, Dublin, Ottawa, Montreal, New York settling eventually in Toronto, Ontario where he attended Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute. In 1989, during his final year of high school he was one of the youngest applicants to be accepted,[1] into The National Theatre School of Canada in 1989.[2] He trained there three years with Pierre Lebvevre, Perry Schneiderman, Brigit Panet, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, George F. Walker, and Robert Lepage.[3]



In high school, Power was active in the theatre, playing Felix in the publicly staged production of The Odd Couple in association with TVO. He was recipient of a Sears Ontario Drama Festival Award for directing and acting in the two hander Babel Rap by John Lazarus, while simultaneously directing a performance art piece ‘Journey’ by fellow student Ian Rye. The next year Power’s improv troupe competed in the regional finals of the Canadian Improv Games in Ottawa, coming only second to the team led by fellow National Theatre School alumni Sandra Oh. During this time, Power was a member of the Young Actors Performance Troupe that performed in community centres and nursing homes a variety of vaudevillian cabarets and contemporary youth plays.

As one of fourteen students accepted into The National Theatre School in 1989, Power trained for three years under the guidance of Pierre Lefevre, Perry Schneiderman, Brigit Panet, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, George F. Walker, and Robert Lepage.[3], Paul Thompson, Sheldon Rosen and Marie Thérese (Cirque du Soleil). Productions included the Love of the Nightingale, Le Vieux Carré, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Village of Idiots and The Two Gentleman of Verona, during his final year Power was the recipient of the Tullio Cedraschi bursary award.


Upon graduation Power was unable to secure an interview for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and so instead he ‘crashed’ the auditions.Power had his professional theatrical debut playing Demetrius in Joe Dowling's adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on the mainstage of the Stratford Festival in Canada, acting alongside fellow NTSC alumni and Colm Feore.[2][4]Ted Dykstra. Power also performed that year in Albert Millard’s production of Moliére’s The Imaginary Invalid with William Hutt.

From 1993 onward, Power focussed notably on the development and production of new Canadian works, starring in the acclaimed productions of Ann Szumigalski ‘s ‘Z’ (25 th Street Theatre), MollyWood (Lovers and Madmen) by Christopher Richards(Dora Award Best play, Dora Award Best Production), Three Penny Epic Cabaret (Theatre Passe-Maurille/Bald Ego) by Adam Nashman and Stuck by David Rubinoff.

Stuck [5] a one man show based on the beat poets was written by David Rubinoff's  and dramaturged by Power, [6]  was critically acclaimed [2]   in New York, [8]  Dublin, [9]   [10]  Toronto, [11]  and London. [12]  Stuck was the recipient of CAA Chalmers Literary Award (Theatre Passe Muraille in 1998 ), [2]  Best New Play; 1997 and;Best Actor; Toronto Fringe Festival1996;Best Actor; nomination Dublin Fringe Festival 2001, ,[2][7]  and was nominated for the Canadian Dora Awards[2] and Canadian Olivier Award.[2]

In Dublin Sean performed in 12 Angry Men,[2] and in New York City while at he wrote and directed Lady/Speak/Easyand based on the life and music of With a 12-member cast and five musicians, it enjoyed a sell-out run. The show included musicians Bemshi Shearer (as Lady Day), bass player Theo Wilson (son of Billie's piano player ), Jeremy Pelt on Trumpet, Ed Swanston (ex-piano for Louis Armstrong), Kalil Madi (ex-drummer for Billie Holiday) and Michael 'smallchange' Johnson, who was also musical director.[8]


New York

The play Stuck brought Power to Here theatre in New York where he soon moved to the Lower East Side and subsequently developed a strong working relationship with the prolific Ellen Stewart of La MaMa,[2] .While at La Mama Sean starred in a number of productions, most notably the commercially successful original and remount of Jews And Jesus by Oren Safdi. Also under Ellen Stewart he wrote and directed Lady/Speak/Easy,[9] set in Harlem , and based on the life and music of Billie Holiday. With a 12-member cast and five musicians, the play enjoyed a sold-out run at La Mama. The cast included musicians Bemshi Shearer (as Lady Day), bass player Theo Wilson (son of Billie's piano player Teddy Wilson), Jeremy Pelt on Trumpet, Ed Swanston (ex- piano for Louis Armstrong), Kalil Madi (ex-drummer for Billie Holiday) and Michael 'smallchange' Johnson(Lemon Bucket), who was also musical director. Also during this time in New York, Sean played the title role in the Irish Repertory Theatre’s production of The Shadow of A Gunman, starred in The Irish Arts commercial successes ‘Celtic Tiger Me Arse’ directed by Neal Jones, Rinty and Paddywack; played Murph in the Second Stage production of Indian Wants the Bronx, and Prince Hal in the Gorilla Rep’s production of Henry IV parts 1 and 2 which ran in Rep concurrently.


Through his work with the Irish Repertory Theatre, Power was offered the role of Juror number 7 in the Irish premiere of 12 Angry Men by Lane Productions in Dublin. Although initially contracted for a 3 month run, the play ran for over 18 months and was a large commercial success. This was followed by the lead role in another Lane production of 44 Sycamore by Bernard Farrell, which also ran successfully for 12 months. Power’s Irish production company Big Papa then co-produced Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love at The New Theatre which subsequently led to Power being offered the series regular Warren on the controversial RTE series The Big Bow Wow. After one season the show was cancelled and Power was then hired to play Garth O’Hara in the RTE Soap Opera Fair City. Power was also cast as Frankie in the Irish coming of age hit film Cowboys and Angels. Power was then cast as John in Gilles MacKinnon’s Tara Road, which filmed in Cape Town, Dublin and London. He then relocated to London, returning to Dublin to film Honeymoon for One in 2011 with Nicollette Sheridan.



Power had his West End debut in Bill Kenright’s 2005 production of the Tennessee Williams play The Night of the Iguana alongside Woody Harrelson. Initially playing Hank, Power then shared the role of Shannon with Harrelson, and the two alternated mid week over the last three months of the run. During this time Power was asked to read for a new comedy series on BBC written by and starring Jack Dee. Lead Balloon, initially started on BBC4 and then moved to BBC2 with positive ratings (average 1.5m viewers weekly) where it ran from 2006-2011, with Power playing Marty, the sardonic writing partner of failed comedian Rick Spleen (Jack Dee). During this time Power also had guest leads on the British television series’ Moving Wallpaper, Holby City, Doctors, Taking the Flak, Wild West. Also during this time Power filmed his first feature in a series of three with the actor/writer Mick Rossi, Played.

Played, produced by John Daly, with an all-star cast and indie film budget, was originally intended to be a short. The film was shot without the use of a scripted screenplay and the director (Sean Stanek) allowed the actors to improvise a majority of dialogue as he shot the scenes. The picture was shot on location in London and Los Angeles and took three years to complete. Rossi then offered Power the role of by the successful heist film 2:22 which ran on Showtime for 3 years. 2:22 : won best feature at Malibu film fest & 5 noms Milan Film Festival. And then the psychological thriller A Kiss and A Promise which was chosen to open the Dallas International Film Festival and was the pick of the LA times movie of the month. 

During this time Power also appeared with Anthony Hopkins in Ferndando Meirelles interrelationship film 360. As part of the centenary productions of Terrence Rattigan, Power played Mark Walters in the Royal Derngate’s In Praise of Love to very favourable reviews.

In late 2012, Power starred alongside Ryan Sampson, Kate Miles and Diane Morgan as Colby Brown in the mock reality/hidden camera show E4’s The Work Experience. Each episode, partially scripted and improvised was shot in real time for 3 consecutive work days in a fictitious London PR firm. Each week, new interns were brought in believing they were participating in a documentary programme. At the end of filming The Work Experience, Power was cast as the vampire hunter Peter Vincent in 20 th Century Fox’s reboot Fright Night 2 filmed on location in Transylvania and Bucharest, Romania. He then returned to the West End to perform juror 7 with Tom Conti, Robert Vaughn and Jeff Fahey in Bill Kenright’s production of Twelve Angry Men at the Garrick Theatre. This was followed by Steve Barker ‘s popular zombie film The Rezort alongside Dougray Scott and Martin McCann.

Following The Rezort, Power was cast as the lead of the Lennox Brothers’ award winning debut feature AmstarDam (aka Stoner Express). The marijuana fuelled fairytale shot in Amsterdam and London, that also starred Billy Boyd and Alice Lowe, was author and cannabis smuggler Howard Mark’s last film before he passed away in 2016.

In 2016, Power created, directed and shot 10 episodes of Chinese Girls in London, a short format comedy series with an all Chinese cast. The show was optioned by Roughcut Tv Productions with the pilot episode to be shown on BBC 3 in late 2017. During this time, Power was cast as Mitch, in Mick Jackson’s Bafta nominated Denial, followed up by Lt Brett Biggle in Brad Pitt’s War Machine.

In 2017 Power was reunited with Woody Harrelson working on his directorial debut Lost In London. The film was the first ever to be filmed in a single take, with one camera and streamed live to audiences in over 500 American theatres, and was a commercial and critical success. Power followed this up with a role in Mark Strong’s series Deep State, filming through late 2017.

Critical response[edit]

As David Rubinoff's Stuck toured internationally, Power received praise for his work as 'Jack', the character he created and dramaturged for the play.[2] His performance in Dublin met with the approval of reviewer Tom Grealis, who wrote in his review of the play:

As Jack, Sean Power gives a tour de force performance, demonstrating a remarkable range. Power explodes across the stage in manic mayhem (...)[10]

And of Ian Hill of Financial Times, who felt Power's performance contained an uncomfortable reality when he wrote:

I'll tell you one thing, this guy Jack, the Toronto low-life portrayed by Canada-based, Irish-born actor Sean Power in David Rubinoff's monologue Stuck (...) is precisely the last person in the world you'd like to have come sit beside you on the bus, or at the bar.[11]

Randy Gener of The Village Voice said:

(...)Sean Power rivets, matching the disillusioned blasts of bop prosody with leaping exhilaration and singsong vocal dexterity..

Of the Toronto performances, John Attanas of the Off Off Broadway Review wrote:

As Jack, Sean Power was wonderful. Possessing both a powerful voice and a nimble body, he played the role passionately and convincingly. He was a pleasure to watch, and clearly has a future on both the American as well as the Canadian stage.[12]

Vit Wagner of The Toronto Star said:

The combination of intensity and slovenly nihilism that Power brings to the role of Jack is a perfect complement to Rubinoff's prose.

Paul Vale of The Stage granted that while Stuck did not break new ground, he could still recommend it as a piece of interesting theater. Of Power's performance, he wrote:

He paints the picture of Jack’s world with such a subtle undercurrent of pain and longing hidden behind the comedy routine of the stoned, out-of-work actor. Stuck may break no new ground as such but it showcases Power’s talent and vulnerability superbly.[13]

Of the production of Lady/Speak/Easy, The New Yorker said:

A seductive evening in a speakeasy with Billie Holiday. The house is set up as a night club, where a seasoned band of jazz performers plays music of a quality rarely heard in the theatre. Sean Power's script is cleverly structured so that Holiday's patter from the mike alternates with bits of gossip passed on by other characters - friends, lovers, managers - and the audience gets a sense of Holiday's life without any of the distracting speeches or flashbacks common to this kind of show. It is, of course, a sad evening in the end, but there's a fierce energy and intelligence running through the production that makes you understand Holiday's desire and her gift, as well as her pain. Bemshi Shearer, as Holiday, is ravishing, and the rest of the cast are up to her standard (Kwana Martinez does a brilliant comic turn as a cigarette girl with ambitions).

Film and television[edit]

Among Power's first television roles were in Life with Mikey and Joe's Wedding.[14] He followed in 2004 as Vince in the RTÉ series The Big Bow Wow, and, in 2005, as Garth O'Hara in the Irish soap opera Fair City, more recently being known for his role as Marty, in which he starred opposite Jack Dee in the BBC comedy series Lead Balloon.[15][16][17]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Stuck, The London premiere of the New Your, Toronto and Dublin hit". Finbourough Theatre. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  3. ^ a b "1992 Alumni". National Theatre School of Canada. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  4. ^ Brantley, Ben (September 10, 1993). "Critic's Notebook; Where the Ages Meet, and Sometimes Collide". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  5. ^ "Off-Off Broadway". New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. 30 (31): 66. August 18, 1997. ISSN 0028-7369. 
  6. ^ Plays international. Chancery Publications Ltd. 1995. pp. Page 37. 
  7. ^ "The Show: Stuck". RTÉ Entertainment. April 8, 2003. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  8. ^ Moore, Heidi W. "Lady Day Speaks". Atomic Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  9. ^ "La Mama presents Lady Holiday". New York Amsterdam News. February 9, 2000. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  10. ^ Grealis, Tom. "Review of Stuck's Dublin showing". RTÉ Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  11. ^ Hill, Ian (February 1, 2003). "REVIEW: Stuck - a flowing piece of gritty theatre". Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  12. ^ Attanas, John. "review of STUCK". The Off Off Broadway Review. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  13. ^ Vale, Paul (April 21, 2005). "review of Stuck". The Stage. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  14. ^ "Sean Power partial filmography". All Movie Guide. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  15. ^ Byrne, Ciar (January 26, 2006). "Dee writes BBC's answer to 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  16. ^ Hall, Julian (November 17, 2006). "Get a BA in comedy: Make them laugh.." The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  17. ^ O'Donovan, Gerard (December 12, 2008). "Last night on television: Sold (ITV1) - Lead Balloon (BBC2)". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 

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