This is Nicholas - Living with Autism

By Tara McCoy

After nearly a year and a half of production efforts, Ballyfermot College graduate, Nicholas Ryan Purcell is making his mainstream theatre debut.

The documentary, titled ‘This is Nicholas- Living With Autism’ is appearing in various theatres around Ireland and will be screened in IMC Tallaght on February 28 at 6:45pm and 8:45pm.


Nicholas Ryan Purcell has always made films.

After Purcell’s first documentary on champion racehorse Gordon Lord Byron proved successful, winning an award at the Hollywood Independent Documentary Awards, he kept the winning streak going with ‘This is Nicholas’ receiving an award at the New York City Mental Health Film Festival and being nominated for two awards at the upcoming London Film Makers Festival, for editing and education.

Purcell reflected on the film making process noting that even through the difficult times growing up there was always something positive to balance it out.

He credited the reconstruction of the death of his neighbour and friend John Joe McGrath as the most difficult part of production but said: “I feel really fortunate with the people who crossed my path so early in my life, the most joyous part of producing the documentary was reflecting on the positive impact that an individual can have on a child by showing that child there is hope.”

Nicholas is now paying it forward by being his own source of hope for those coming out to fill the theatres.


Nicholas Ryan Purcell behind the camera.

Nicholas expressed his gratitude for all involved, “it has been a tremendous experience receiving such warm feedback from teachers, children on the Autism spectrum and mental health workers who come to the screenings.”

Hearing other people on the spectrum say that the film has given them hope and been a source of light for them makes all the difference for Nicholas.

In the future he hopes to continue this work, with his next project being a documentary on autism and relationships, with reference to his experiences growing up, developing relationships socially and learning to fit in.

'This is Nicholas - Living With Autism' will be shown on Thursday, February 28 in IMC Tallaght at 6:45pm and 8:45pm.

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