College Principal - ICTheatre Manchester
Paul worked as an actor using his stage name ‘Paul Loughran’. He is best known for playing Butch Dingle for many years in Emmerdale and also Detective Sergeant Ian Butchers in long-running Manchester police drama Blue Murder with Caroline Quentin. He has also had prominent roles in The Darling Buds of May, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Jericho, Heartbeat and The Royal and did a lengthy stint on the cobbles in Coronation Street.
Paul moved to Manchester from Belfast as a child. He is a passionate advocate of this wonderful city and its finest football team! Paul’s interest in theatre was fostered aged 11 when he was selected to play in Sean O’Casey’s ‘Hall of Healing’ at the Horniman Theatre in Didsbury. The minute he walked into that iconic Manchester building he knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. The Horniman was then home to the Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre and offered three years training to be a professional actor. The course was run by John McGregor, who one day asked Paul if he wanted to be an actor, when Paul said yes, John replied ‘You’re mad but I’ll do everything I can to help you’. John went on to mentor Paul for several years and his kindness, support and altruism have stayed with him his whole life. Paul regards his appointment to the College Principal role at the new Institute for Contemporary Theatre in Manchester as a direct result of that conversation forty years ago.
Paul later became a member of the Manchester Youth Theatre under the legendary Geoffrey and Hazel Sykes known for inspiring and developing so many young actors from this city. When Paul returned to Belfast with his family he secured an agent and was lucky enough to be cast in a BBC film called ‘Scout’ which was the directorial debut of Manchester director Danny Boyle and it was that experience that convinced Paul he must train to become a professional actor. At 18 Paul returned to his beloved city and trained at the Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre, the very same place where he first fell in love with acting.
Paul’s acting career spans three decades working extensively in film, TV and radio. Throughout his career he has taught young people of all ages and has never forgotten the example of his mentor, John McGregor. Paul is ‘beyond excited and truly grateful’ to have the opportunity to launch and lead the Institute for Contemporary Theatre in Manchester and to replicate the great creative atmosphere and success of ICTheatre in Brighton – but with a distinctly Mancunian twist. Paul is a true advocate of the ICTheatre ethos and will be guiding the next generation of 21st Century performers through their training in Manchester.