It All Started With Wanderly Wagon…

One likes to take evening courses, one does. In fact, one could possibly be a Serial Student. The problem is, I’m not interested in just one or two things, I’m interested in everything. If I gave you a run-down of all of the courses that I have taken over the years, you’d believe me…


So here’s a run-down of all the courses that I have taken over the years:

(Post Leaving Cert, obviously. Let’s not bore you completely)

  1. Performing Arts at Ballyfermot Senior College (recall particularly enjoying being a slug for an entire day).
  2. Bachelor of Arts at UCD (Irish and Greek & Roman Civilisation if you must know. And no, I’m not sure why either).
  3. Diploma in Communications and PR (wanted to drink free champagne at pointless events)
  4. Diploma in Legal Studies (wanted to be Ally McBeal)
  5. Beauty Therapy (I give the worst fake tan jobs)
  6. Web Design (waaaay too late in the game & seriously not bright enough)
  7. Acting Classes (ongoing, therapeutic and essential to my wellbeing, thank you)
  8. And now – TV PRESENTING!


It’s not the first time that TV Presenting has come up as one of my interests. Growing up, one of my schoolfriend’s dads worked at RTE, and brought us on the set of Wanderly Wagon and Anything Goes. It was a major thrill at the time, especially to get a good, close up gawk at Aongus McNally’s curly mop. I don’t think that I did what I did intentionally (I mean, I would now), but when the cameras rolled, us kids were supposed to hang out in the background, looking utterly amazed at our good fortune to be in Montrose. In. The. Background. One seven-year-old Shazzy Hayden, in her one good dress, minced right out across the camera lens. And back again. Out, and back. No matter how many times I was told to sit still, I wanted that camera to know I was there. I can’t remember what the producers did to deal with my diva behaviour in the end, but I was probably relegated to some sewing job with Mrs. Forty Coats.

As grown ups, I guess we sometimes forget that fearlessness we once had as kids. We get polite and don’t want to come across as overly bossy, ‘full of ourselves’ or seen to be hogging the limelight. I found that to be my main problem at my first class in TV Presenting With Bill Hughes at the GSA on Monday – a little shyness!! There’s something nerve-wracking to me about standing in front of a small room of people, and performing something straight. Give me Vicar Street, a microphone, a comedy song to sing in my knickers and no problem! But this was different. I’m mostly used to shouting and roaring when presenting live shows, so I found myself forgetting how to project and delivering my pieces to class with a little bitty tiny voice. Something, thankfully, that Bill Hughes was able to spot and rectify straight away.

I had never met the course facilitator Bill Hughes before, but after a wonderfully warm welcome to everyone at the beginning of the class, and two hours working on scripts, techniques and exercises, I already feel like he’s an old friend. He has a very unique way of instantaneously making you feel like you are under his wing, and that he’s rooting for you to do well, that makes you feel like you’re in the right place and the right hands.

Next Monday can’t come quick enough now for the second class. I’m practicing to myself in the mirror every day and already planning what geansaí I’ll wear when I get to host The Late Late Toy Show ;o)


For more information on The Gaiety School of Acting and the TV Presenting course, please visit:

And my website is