Yesterday we lost one of the best – Maeliosa Stafford, who passed away at his home in Sydney. Affectionately known as Moy to all of us lucky enough to pass through his orbit, he described himself as “an actor, director, teacher, and Manchester United Fanatic”.
He enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the performing arts, and his work took him all over the world to high acclaim wherever he played.
He joined Druid Theatre Company in 1978 and was at the forefront of much of the recent surge in outstanding new Irish writing. As Artistic Director of Druid, he collaborated with the poet Vincent Woods on the creation of At the Black Pig’s Dyke which toured to all the world’s major theatre festivals.
As an actor Moy was involved with the premier productions of the work of Martin McDonagh, including The Lonesome West which won several Olivier awards on the West End and was also nominated for four Tony awards on Broadway, where Moy performed in The Leenane Trilogy. As co-founder of O’Punksky’s, he directed their inaugural production Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. A new production from O’Punksky’s was always an Event, and this one has remained vivid in the collective memory ever since.
I’ve known Maeliosa as a theatre practitioner and colleague for many years, and he directed a number of student productions for us at ACA, most recently last year’s Twelfth Night featuring the Graduating Company of 2023.
I first came to recognize his prodigious talents as a compelling and charismatic actor when he toured to the Sydney Festival in productions from his native Ireland, and his work on either side of the footlights was always informed by integrity, conviction and a deep and enduring love of the craft of theatre.
He had a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with our students and share it he did with great passion.
Our hearts go out to his family. I know that our students past and present share in our grief as we mourn his passing.
In a recent interview, Moy answered some questions that helped readers gain some insight into how he saw the world, and so I shall let the great man himself have the final word…
Favourite holiday destination and why?
The west of Ireland! The best place in the world as long as the sun does a deal with me.