Patrick Martins interview: ‘I realised the shows that I was seeing at the Abbey and the Gate didn’t really represent me or people like me’

The actor, who appears in the Abbey Theatre’s adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s An Octoroon, is hopeful that things are finally beginning to change in the Irish arts world allowing more opportunities for people of colour

Patrick Martins: ‘I want to be an inspiration for young people of colour, who want to pursue a career in the arts – whether that’s acting, directing, writing – that they will see me and think it is possible.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

In a dressing room backstage in the Abbey Theatre, actor Patrick Martins is getting ready for the day’s rehearsal. Previews for An Octoroon, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s anarchic adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s 1859 slavery melodrama, are soon to start, and the company has just brought the work onto the Abbey stage for several days of “tech”.

The days are long, as lighting positions, sound cues and physical transitions are worked over and over until perfected, but Martins ...