Current projects: Bob is collaborating with Duke Special on a musical adaptation of Pat McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto for Landmark Productions, which will premiere in GIAF 2020 before transferring to the Olympia, Dublin, The Birmingham Rep and the Donmar Warehouse. His most recent play, Tintown, was staged by Blue Raincoat and received excellent reviews. His film script The Vision is in development with TW Films and has been selected as part of Creative Europe’s LIMM programme 2019.
Recently Bob & the cast of Blue Raincoat’s The Travels of Jonathan Swift won the 2020 Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Ensemble.
Bob Kelly is an actor & theatre maker from the west of Ireland. Trained in Paris’ renowned Lecoq school, he has performed in notable European venues including The Louvre, The Royal Ballet School, Theatre13 Paris and Theatro Massimo in Cagliari, as well as throughout Ireland. In recent years he has twice worked with the acclaimed director John Tiffany (Once: The Musical & Let the Right One in). He has played Cuchulainn in Coney Island, New York and Coney Island, Sligo (On Baile’s Strand, Blue Raincoat). In Paris he received critical acclaim for his work in l’Ecrivain Public (Plateforme), and in 2012 he was nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award for The Poor Mouth (Blue Raincoat). He speaks several languages and has performed lead roles in French (l’Ecrivain Public) and in Italian (Cabaret Emotivo). Other recent projects include Nivelli’s War (Cahoots, New Victory NY) and Samuel Beckett’s Play (Blue Raincoat).
He has written for Landmark Productions (Breakfast on Pluto), for Blue Raincoat (Tintown, The Rallying Call) and for the Hawk’s Well Theatre (The Big Wall). From 2016-18 he was Artist in Residence at the Hawk’s Well. In 2013 he staged an adaptation of Dradin, in Love by the acclaimed fantasy author Jeff Vandermeer (Annihilation). His award-winning short film Foxglove is currently in development as a feature with TW Films. His theatre work has been featured in the US publication The Steampunk User’s Manual: An Illustrated Practical and Whimsical Guide to Creating Retro-Futurist Dreams.
Other acting work includes The Picture of Dorian Gray (Abbey Theatre), The King of the Great Clock Tower (Royal Ballet School), Five Minutes Later (Sugarglass), Country Girls (Red Kettle), Macbeth (The Mill), Cabaret Emotivo (Theatro Stabile de la Sardegna) and Pinnochio (Cahoots NI). With Blue Raincoat Theatre Company he has performed in At Swim Two Birds, Rhinoceros, On Baile’s Strand, First Cosmonaut, The Poor Mouth, and Playboy of the Western World. On film, Bob played Sean Heuston in Abú Media’s 1916 Rising TV series Seachtair Dearmadha. He has also performed in a number of short films including Foxglove (TW Films), Withdrawal (El Zorreo) and Without Words (Technowolf).
He is a prolific voiceover artist, and has fronted campaigns for the GAA, Lidl, ESB, Deliveroo and many others.
Let the Right One In: Meet the Cast
Arena Interview, April 2019 – Tintown
Kelly writes and performs with fierce, almost manic intensity… a wonderful, sobering production. Emer O’Kelly, Sunday Independent
Elegant and clever… Kelly’s beguiling solo performance is detailed and authentic. Katy Hayes, Irish Independent
Nivelli’s War (2014, 2017)
(Nominated for UK Theatre Award)
Bob Kelly gives a masterclass in European-influenced physical theatre, his tortured face and wracked body bearing the brands of all manner of human ravages…. Culture NI, Jane Coyle
Playboy of the Western World (2015)
Just look at the arresting Kelly, finally smiling at his reflection and moving spryly… this is a daring ‘Playboy’.. a fascinating new production.. Peter Crawley, The Irish Times
A strung-up Christy Mahon is specially grounded by Kelly, his body deftly balanced so as to grapple the infernal rope and spin the scene around him. What settles is a brutal display of penal punishment…. Chris McCormack, Musings in Intermissions
Bob Kelly’s turn as Christy is riveting and complex. One minute he’s a poor put-upon creatur destroyed by the harshness of life. The next he’s a transparent fantasist… captures the dark mania resident in Synge’s play… a vivid and provocative experience. Padraic Killeen, The Irish Examiner
Wildness and vengefulness well to the fore from Bob Kelly’s Christy… Emer O’Kelly, The Sunday Independent
On Baile’s Strand (2014)
Cuchulain has always been known for his ego, and Bob Kelly rounds it off with roaring ferocity. Yet there is something stately about his performance, more reasoned than instinctive, that allows you to better understand the hero’s frustrations and unwillingness to settle with a woman or have children… our protector has become a law onto himself. Yet… you feel that you can never truly condemn Cuchulain… Chris McCormack, Musings in Intermissions
Five Minutes Later (2014)
Played with tenacity… Kelly strikes the balance well in a turn that babbles but shapes out a masculinity that is lonely and, startlingly, violent…. Musings in Intermissions
Kelly’s ventures into violence – as Matt’s isolation tipples into a hatred of women – turn the play into a tragedy, and it is his message which is the most disturbing and most memorable of the entire performance…. Heather Keane, tn2
Kelly’s choice is a perfect fit, filled with the gravitas and unsettling pace that make the words of Shakespeare come to life… will leave you stunned with gleeful awe… simply a must see. Siren
L’Ecrivain Public (French Media) (2011)
We cannot but share in the triumph of Colette Nucci, the Director of Theatre13, for this show… it is a young Irish actor, Bob Kelly, that revives the role of Lansko. Displaying vivid emotion throughout the performance, his interpretation is remarkable. He combines rage and gentleness, violence and fragility with skill…. Pariscope
What empathy with the young refugee… at last theatre that daringly exposes its emotions – all its emotions! A triumph! CultureCie
The actors are exemplary (a special mention for Bob Kelly in the role of Lansko, vibrant with emotion and humour)… Theatrorama
A touching story illuminated by the presence of a young actor unknown to us, Bob Kelly… who incarnates [the role] in a striking manner… imposing the youth, energy, anger, and sensitivity of a young man who must become an adult sooner than he could ever want… Figaro
…Interpreted with depth and sensitivity by Bob Kelly… FigaroScope
Into this world… enters Lankso (the superb Bob Kelly) Au Poulailler
The actors all have presence, with a particular salute to Bob Kelly, who lends such beautiful life to the character of Lansko… Les Trois Coupes
Bob Kelly/Lansko is absolutely remarkable in intelligence and sensitivity… Philippe du Vignal
Lively, generous, Bob Kelly incarnates him strongly & well. l’Humanité
Frank Pig Says Hello (2005)
Bob Kelly and John Rogers are an unnerving duo as the schizophrenic youth.. Irish Times
The two actors (Bob Kelly and John Rogers) use skilful energy and a series of well-devised, snapshot characterisations to sketch the boy’s murky, disturbing world. Irish Theatre Magazine
Bob Kelly as Berenger was superb. Waterford News and Star
..the perfectly executed wordplay of Bob Kelly and Ciaran McCauley… Campus.ie
Bob Kelly… a dishevelled, yawning, reprobate – in short, our kind of guy. Irish Times
First Cosmonaut (2014)
a glorious piece of theatre… a wacky waltz to the stars…….simple and subtle character changes… a study in discreet clowning….masters of their craft. Edinburgh Guide
brilliant … the cast morph brilliantly through a range of roles. The Scotsman
infinite invention… a beguiling piece of theatre. Herald Scotland
Poetry and profundity from apparently simple ingredients… [the cast’s] command of mime-based movement is clear to see.. displaying verve and versatility in a variety of roles. All Edinburgh Theatre
Highly technical and rhythmical…you do not simply go to ‘see’ the play but rather you experience it in its fullest as a multisensory event…. beautifully realised. Irish Theatre Magazine