Interview Sharon Mannion – The Curse of the Button Accordion – Smock Alley


We had the chance to interview Sharon Mannion – Writer and Performer of ‘The Curse of the Button Accordion’ which runs at Smock Alley as part of the ‘Scene and Heard Festival’. You can see the results below.

Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th February 2016 @ 9pm

‘The Curse of the Button Accordion’ – Smock Allies: Scene & Heard Festival 17 Feb – 5 Mar  I   Smock Alley Theatre   I   Presented by Speckintime

You have worked on a lot of TV and stand-up comedy performances. How different is theatre from either of these pursuits?

I suppose it’s somewhere smack bang in the middle of those two mediums. With TV, you’re obviously very removed from your audience so you make performance choices with little or no input from them. Stand up is instantaneous, you prepare material but you very much play to the energy and responses in the room. Theatre is somewhere in between. You connect with the audience but in a calmer more measured way than with stand up. It’s a different skill entirely I think.

When did you get the idea for the play?

It’s one of those ideas that have been in the back of my mind for so long that I can’t remember exactly when it arrived! I started writing a lot about five or six years ago, mostly as part of a group, but I suppose that would have started me thinking about doing my own show. Also, Sonya Kelly’s show ‘The Wheelchair on my Face’ had a big impact on me. I knew Sonya from the stand up circuit and I loved the way she used her comedy in a theatrical way. I’ve always had a fractious relationship with my accordion, so to me it was obvious to write a show about it.

Will you be playing the tin whistle/ accordion live on stage also?

Probably, to what level is another question entirely!

Does the script draw from real life at all?

Yes, absolutely, the whole show is based on my own experiences but heightened in parts for dramatic effect. I’m not quite as insane as the Sharon in this show.

When did Matthew become involved in the project? Did you approach him with the script fully written?

I always knew I’d like Matthew to be involved. I’ve worked with him before on a few different things and he directed ‘Rhubarb Crumble’ a show I did in Fringe 2014 (Best Ensemble Nominee/Fringe 2014). I like his style and I think we often approach things from different angles, which is exactly what I felt I needed. I had the script written but he’s very much been involved in editing and improving it along the way. He has different strengths as a writer to me, so I value his opinion.

Did you ever secretly dream being Sharon Shannon?

Well it’s funny you should ask that as she’s mentioned in the show, not least because her name sounds a lot like mine. Coincidence? I think not!! You’ll have to come along and find out.

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