Spotlight 2017

Rob Moloney - Composer, Sound Engineer and Lighting Designer

24 Jul 2017
Rob Moloney

Rob Moloney is a composer, sound engineer and lighting designer. He was nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award in 2014 for his design on Painted Bird's show ‘Between Trees and Water’. His work with THEATREclub led him to explore socio-political issues culminating in a move to Greece to volunteer in a refugee camp, Lesvos Solidarity - Pikpa. Rob describes how his time at UCC developed his interest in theatre, music, politics and social justice.

Course/subjects studied in University College Cork

Bachelor of Music (major in composition) from University College Cork (2009 – 2013). Classification: First class honours. Awarded Scholar of UCC status upon graduating in 2013.

Best memory of UCC

It's quite difficult to pick a single memory from a very formative four years spent in University. A few memories that come to mind include walking into the ‘seomra gamelan’ for the first time, performing in the Cork Opera House, walking across the shaky bridge on the journey to the music department, designing shows for UCC Dramat, working in the Granary Theatre, and collaborating with many different artists in exploring a style and voice that resonates with my own creative impulse.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

UCC has helped me in numerous ways. It is where I developed an interest in theatre, politics, social justice, and consolidated my love for music and composition. Early on in my time at UCC, I felt the tug of the theatre industry, and decided to tailor my skills accordingly. With this in mind, I approached my studies with the intention of refining my skills in composition and sound design. Following my graduation in 2013, I worked as a technician in various theatres and also began working as a freelance designer. Subsequently, in 2014 I was nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award, alongside UCC’s PHD candidate Tom Lane, for designing ‘Between Trees and Water’, a show made by cork based company Painted Bird. This show exposed me to the possibility of using theatre to address socio-political issues within society, which subsequently paved a way forward in my own creative practice.

At this point, I was fortunate to start working with THEATREclub in Dublin, who believe that “theatre can change the world, by starting conversations that send ripples towards social change”. While working with THEATREclub and having spent time focusing upon issues at national level, the need to explore socio-political issues beyond Ireland came to the fore. As an observer of the socio-political conflict in Greece resulting from the inordinate numbers of refugees attempting to access mainland Europe, I moved to the Greek island of Lesvos, in December 2016, for two months to volunteer in Pikpa, a refugee camp run by Lesvos Solidarity.

The main objective of Lesvos Solidarity is to stand in solidarity with refugees and people in need through shelter, protection and awareness rising on the basis of principles of solidarity. Pikpa is an open, independent refugee camp that provides humanitarian support to the most vulnerable people including families with children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, people suffering from serious medical conditions, and victims of shipwrecks who have lost loved ones at sea. While there, I taught music and English, and worked in food distribution. I returned to Pikpa at the beginning of July, 2017 to continue helping in whatever way I can. I am teaching English again and amongst other things plan on training a small team to record and edit audio. Hopefully this will allow us to create a small independent media outlet where we can provide consistent and trustworthy information and news, and a platform for dialogue and debate.

What is your advice to current UCC students?

Take risks and dream big, especially in the safety of a university setting. Don't be afraid to veer away from your plans every now and then, you never know where it might take you.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

The Dramat society and the Granary Theatre provided a rich, diverse and nourishing environment for students to collaborate, take risks, fail, learn, and ultimately, refine a craft.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

I joined the Dramat society which enabled me to explore, create and improve my skills, where I organised events, practiced lighting design and gained experience in technical theatre.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition

I can’t think of any bar the quad story!

Alumni and Development

Alumni agus Forbartha

University College Cork, 2.12 Western Gateway Building, Western Road, Cork, T12 XF62, Ireland