Shaw Festival’s Patrick Galligan loves the variety

At first glance, you wouldn’t think York theatre graduate Patrick Galligan (MFA ‘98) could be the least bit intimidating or nasty, reported The Standard (St. Catharines-Niagara) April 28. His easy smile, animated speech and demonstrative arms quickly reveal a kind soul. But, last season, he played the rather nasty Bill Walker in Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara. And he loved it. “I would never get cast as a thug or a mean guy. It’s not the impression I generally come across as, but [Shaw artistic director] Jackie [Maxwell] is happy to challenge actors,” he says. Being able to step into the role of a character who is so far removed from their own personality is an actor’s great challenge. And when one becomes a believable nasty ogre, that can be both frightening and liberating, Galligan says. “Only by doing things outside your normal comfort zone can you break through the limitations you set for yourself,” says the Toronto-based actor, who is married and father to an 11-year-old son.

This season, Galligan stars as Bluntschli in Shaw’s Arms and the Man, which opens the 2006 season on May 4 at the Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Standard said. In keeping with his wide range of characters, Galligan will also appear this season as Rosmer in Rosmersholm, by Henrik Ibsen and adapted by Neil Munro. To be a member of Shaw’s ensemble is something he’s always aspired to, Galligan says. “I love repertory. I love the fact I can play a variety of characters over four seasons here,” he says. “There’s great variety in the roles.”

Galligan has also appeared in a wide range of productions at various Canadian theatres, and his television credits include CBC’s “Made in Canada”, “Crossed Over” (CBS), “La Femme Nikita”, “Queer as Folk” and “Sue Thomas F.B. Eye”. He also appeared in the films The Day Reagan Was Shot and Extreme Measures. This winter, he’s signed on for Soulpepper’s production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol