THE NUALAS – THEN & NOW…
The Nualas were formed in a Dublin kitchen in May 1995, when Susan Collins, Anne Gildea and Tara Flynn got together over the leftovers at a party. Their mutual love of food, comedy and singing inspired them to form a trio and book their first 10 minute slot at Dublin’s famous club, The Comedy Cellar. They brought the house down and as they crawled out of the comedy rubble that night they knew they were destined for great things. They went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, slept on floors, and trawled the streets on foot, guitar in hand, playing gigs wherever there was a stage and a few students. They got encores at all their performances, and eventually they were offered a full run at The Gilded Balloon comedy venue the following year.
They returned to Dublin to play in the first fringe theatre festival, where their show, The Nualas Christmas Special was a sell-out. It transferred to Andrew’s Lane Theatre, for a further three weeks.
“The show is a hilarious send-up of every sugar-coated value we cherish – and you need to see it.” The Irish Times
At the end of that year they won The Comedy Cellar Best Comedy Act of the Year Award. Over the subsequent six years The Nualas underwent four different line-up changes with Anne and Sue as the core writing and performing team. During that time they toured nationally and internationally virtually non-stop, played six total-sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, had several major theatre runs in London and Dublin, and worked in radio and tv in both the UK and Ireland:
In 1998 The Nualas toured to Australia and were one of the biggest box-office draws at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival. On the way home they headlined the first Singapore Comedy Festival. In addition that year they wrote and performed a six-part comedy series for BBC Radio Four, and a one-off New Year’s Eve Special. Their numerous television appearances included RTE’s Late Late Show and an extended set on BBC’s The Stand-Up Show where they shared the bill with US stand-up Jon Stewart:
“..two longer sets from two significantly better-than-usual acts.” Time Out TV Listing
“*****Kill to get a ticket.” The Scotsman
“Phenomenally funny.” The Herald
“The audience bayed, clamoured and stamped for more. I haven’t seen the like at a Fringe show before!” The Edinburgh Evening News
“Simply stunning. Bloody brilliant, n fact.” In Dublin Magazine
“The most downright funny act to hit town.” The Straits Times, Singapore.
In 1999 The Nualas completed two hugely successful month-long runs at London’s Drill Hall Theatre, where they received outstanding reviews. During the summer their four week run of The Big Shiny Dress Show was, due to popular demand, extended to nine weeks.
In 2000 The Nualas undertook a 64-date tour of England, performed with other Irish acts at the Royal Albert Hall, played a two-week run at a West-End theatre and recorded a four part improvised comedy radio series for BBC Radio Four and a video of their live show, which was released on the Sony label. They ended the year with a five-week sell out at the HQ venue in Dublin.
They decided to call it a day in 2001 – they spent their last year touring Ireland, their BBC Radio Four series was broadcast in the Spring and their farewell show in Edinburgh “Goodbye, We Were The Nualas” was a total sell-out at The Assembly Rooms. Their last run was their American debut – a three-week stint at The Irish Arts Centre in New York. It was extended to seven weeks such was the critical response.
They started where they began – their final farewell was a two-night stand at The Olympia Theatre, in Dublin.
AND NOW…. THE PRESENT-DAY NUALAS:
The Nualas today are Anne Gildea (Brunette Nuala), Sue Collins (Blonde Nuala) and Maria Tecce (Red-head Nuala).
The Nualas re-launched in Dublin’s Vicar Street on March 25th 2011, to an instantaneous standing ovation. In the subsequent three years they’ve toured constantly in Ireland, North and South, playing venues from The Everyman Cork, to The Royal Theatre, Waterford to The Lyric, in Belfast.
Anne Gildea trained as an actress, under scholarship, at ALRA, London. She is an original founding member of The Nualas. She’s been a stand-up, worked as sketch writer and performer on Irish telly and radio, done stints as a panellist, pundit and a critic, been a columnist for seven years with The Irish Mail on Sunday. Her first novel Deadlines & Dickheads was published by O’Brien Press in Ireland, 2006 (“An hysterically funny debut novel” Irish Tatler, “Comic writing at its best” The Irish Times, “Some of the best comic writing I’ve read in years” Tommy Tiernan). Anne was diagnosed with cancer in July 2011 – the treatment of which was documented in an hour long documentary Breast Cancer: No Laughing Matter, which aired RTE 2 in Spring 2012. Her second book, I’ve got Cancer. What’s Your Excuse, a memoir, was published by Hachette Ireland in September 2013 (“Ireland’s answer to David Sedaris” GCN, “A deft comedic touch and a distinct writerly skill” The Sunday Business Post, “Honest, insightful and entertaining” The Irish Independent).
Sue Collins started her acting career as a really serious actress doing profit share shows and children’s theatre in her early twenties. After a particularly gruelling stint playing a witch in a touring show for toddlers she became disillusioned with ‘theatre’ and fell in love with comedy after a visit to The Comedy Cellar, the famous home of new Irish comedy. Sue hooked up with some comics in Dublin to set up the famous Dublin Comedy Improv where she performed alongside comedians such as Dylan Moran, Ardal O’Hanlon, Dara OBrian and Finbar Funny (a comic who never made it to England). In 1995 she teamed up with Anne Gildea and Tara Flynn to create The Nualas which went on to be a roaring success. After they disbanded in 2001 Sue met Phelim Drew (son of Ronnie Drew) and they married a year later. For the next ten years Sue pursued a solo career in stand up and writing comedy and had four children in quick succession. Finally in 2010 after much harassing from Anne her long standing writing partner she decided to re-launch The Nualas – “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made” –Sue-Nuala.
Maria Tecce is an Italian-American singer, actress and composer. This will be her first Edinburgh Fringe as part of The Nualas having previously performed one woman shows Viva (2009) and Strapless (2010) at the Festival (“A voice to melt butter. Sheer class… haunting” The List, “one of the highlights of Europe’s smart and adventurous jazz and cabaret scene” The Times). This jazz chanteuse has shared the stage with performers as diverse as Dionne Warwicke and Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners. Maria’s acting credits include ‘Emelie’ in ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ at Dublin’s Gate Theatre, cult short film ‘I Hate Musicals’, Hugh Leonard’s ‘Roman Fever’, and BBC television series ‘Inspector George Gently’ with Martin Shaw. She’s a Yank through and through, born and bred in Boston, but you’d never know, watching her tread the boards as red-head Nuala. Maria is also musical director, accompanist on piano and guitar, and nibbles-consultant for the group.
Wackily original. THE NEW YORK TIMES
Feckin’ great. THE VILLAGE VOICE
With writing as funny as theirs, these small-town Irish girls could sing about watching someone watch paint dry and we would still be riveted. THE INDEPENDENT
Astoundingly hilarious lyrics. Simply resonantly hilarious. THE EVENT GUIDE
Beautiful vocal skills and a natural facility for artfully wry banter. TIME OUT
An almost Beckettian take on life with exquisite close harmony vocals. I fell instantly in love with Nuala, Nuala and Nuala. WHAT’S ON
The Nualas are the new rock’n’roll. THE INDEPENDENT
The cult queens of Ireland who put the b in bejaysus. METRO, LONDON
Dripping kooky, faux glamour, they will win you over with their nutty lyrics, zany tunes and endearingly silly dresses.They had a capacity crowd eating out of their hands. THE EVENING STANDARD
I’m knocked out by the vocal prowess that drives their whimsical musical creations. The Irish trio inspire instant adoration. THE HERALD, SCOTLAND
Sequin chic and bone-dry wit from the Irish trio. Where else can you hear a love song to a balding hunchback or the perils of wearing clothes made from your dead cow to an animal rights ball ? THE INDEPENDENT
Simply the best. THE DAILY EXPRESS
Critics choice SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Attractively rounded, witty antidote to the po-faced and cadaverous Corrs
Hilarious, stretch-sequinned, glitter-ball evening of bizarre comic songs and febrile Irish banter. TIME OUT
When they skipped off behind the glittering backdrop for the last time, I was truly sorry to see them go. THE TIMES
Like true comedians they establish a superb relationship with their audience. You will be smitten. WHAT’S ON
THE NUALAS: www.thenualas.com @TheNualas Facebook/The Nualas