Friday, February 05, 2021

Bill Malone, the Ashe Road native and Virgin Media Television’s Director of Content.

VIRGIN MEDIA Television’s Director of Content has spoken about his native Waterford city’s decades-old championing of both creativity and its practitioners.

Speaking to the Waterford News & Star, Bill Malone of Ashe Road, Kingsmeadow, said: “Waterford people have a really interesting sense of humour and they’re really creative. And what I’ve always found really interesting about Waterford is about how open a city it is in terms of being creative and being artistic.”

Bill, a St Paul’s Community College alumnus who rowed competitively with Waterford Boat Club, was a keen musician in his youth and also penned a play (‘Fool’s Gold’) aged 15 with Waterford Youth Arts.

“It was the most natural thing in the world for me, to be a teenager growing up in Waterford and to be involved in the arts. Now the arts can sound like an introspective, highfalutin concept and something quite inaccessible but it’s never been like that in Waterford. It’s an amazing city in terms of how accepting and encouraging it is of the arts and one of the big things I get an immense kick out of is making arts accessible.”

Support: Waterford playwright Jim Nolan.

Bill, who was RTE 2’s Channel Controller prior to his move to VMTV in 2016, added: “I think too much of what goes on in Irish media is actually making art inaccessible whereas for me, art being accessible is rooted in the things I got to do when I was a teenager, like playing in different bands, all those bands that came out of Waterford and having the theatre world so open to me as it was. While I was writing my first play, I asked Jim Nolan to meet me and have a coffee to chat about it and of course he was open and agreeable to that, as so many other people down through the years will also testify to – and Jim was immensely helpful. And for that to happen in Waterford is not unusual, which is another great strength of the city.”

Bill continued: “To be involved in the arts in some places is not seen as normal but to be involved in the arts in Waterford – in culture, creativity, Spraoi, Sprog, storytelling, accessible theatre, painting, Waterford Walls and so on – it’s all brilliantly normal. And that’s such an incredible strength that the city has it’s something we should be all very proud of – that laid-back normalisation of artistic expression. Art is so accessible in Waterford and we don’t even notice how good we are at it.”

* Bill Malone is the latest interviewee in our ‘WellSaid’ series, which will feature in next Tuesday’s print edition

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