Friday 23 March 2018

Speaking the language of true love - Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe

Frank McNamara is working with his wife Theresa Lowe in her new communications consultancy

Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe are working together in a communications consultancy. Photo: Dave Conachy
Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe are working together in a communications consultancy. Photo: Dave Conachy
Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

The first time Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe met was during auditions for The Music Show in 1983. The blonde beauty walked in to try out for a 'new faces' slot, and musical director Frank turned to the producer and said: "This one will be good."

Theresa, then 20, proceeded to sing fabulously, confirming Frank's hunch. He was impressed, but alas she initially found the music maestro to be 'desperately annoying.' She was holding the microphone too near to her mouth, which distorted her voice, and he kept pulling her hand away from her face to bring the mic down.

"At one point, I thought, 'I'm going to hit him," she laughs, "because I was shy and I felt really exposed. When we got talking afterwards I found him very thoughtful and intelligent and we got on very well."

So well, that Frank, then 23, asked Theresa if she wrote lyrics, which he admits was just a ruse to get to see her again. She fibbed and said she did, so they began working on a set of songs he was recording. Her lyrics, she says, were dreadful, but luckily it didn't matter as they weren't what he was interested in. They were hanging out a lot, and one day, it suddenly dawned on Theresa that being with Frank made her happy.

"He grew on me and he's still there," she says.

Frank admits that he panicked when the songs were finished, because he had been dying to ask Theresa out, but was terrified she would say no. When he summoned up the courage, luckily she said yes. So what attracted him to Theresa? "Obviously she was, and still is, beautiful and bright and intelligent," he says. "She knew what she wanted from life. Theresa was special."

At that time, Theresa was studying English, French, Greek and Roman civilisation at UCD. As the second-youngest of eight children born to John and Marie, she grew up in Dublin. Her sister Joan is a senator and founder of the suicide prevention service, Pieta House. Theresa worked in continuity at RTE for six years after college, and presented Where in the World? for seven years, while studying law at King's Inns. She was admitted to the bar in 1987, where she specialises in criminal law and personal injury.

She and Frank were married in 1987 and have four children. Frankie and Quincy turn 21 today and are studying music, while Charlotte, 15, is still at school. Their son JJ is 17 and is studying piano at Chetham's School of Music in the UK, while also doing A levels. He is immensely talented and recently won his first international piano competition.

Theresa says JJ gets his talent from Frank, who is the younger of the late Rita and Ciaran's two children, and grew up in Thurles, Tipperary. He won a scholarship to the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin at 13, and did a music degree at Trinity College. He started working with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra at 18 while at college, and then began working at RTE. He is best known for years of work on The Late Late Show.

Frank and Theresa both have great faith and regularly attend Mass, while Frank runs the folk group in Dunshaughlin. They are impressed by Pope Benedict, but say they would be even more impressed if the church gave away the wealth it has amassed to people in need. "Music can be a huge force to bring people back to the church, but it has to change," Theresa says. "If anyone is going to bring that about, it'll be the new Pope, because he is a humble man who has lived in poverty."

Theresa has just added a new string to her bow with the launch of Theresa Lowe Communications, which provides bespoke training courses to individuals or groups. Whether you are a business exec who has to give presentations, a nervous father-of-the bride tasked with delivering a killer speech, or an aspiring media presenter, she will help you find your voice and deliver the goods in a polished and confident manner. Frank is working with her and she says that his years of work in media and music is invaluable.

"We show people how to communicate in spoken word, and work on language and delivery," she says. "Frank is brilliant at scripting, as he knows everything about technology and is really interested in the voice."

Frank says that you need rhythm, tempo, speed, pauses and pitching when speaking in public if you don't want to send your audience to sleep. He and Theresa are warm and encouraging, and they aim to train people in a positive way that instils confidence, while letting them practise on camera. They say it's amazing to see someone grow in confidence under their tutelage and begin to enjoy public speaking.

"It's great to work with young entrepreneurs, as they have amazing new ideas and just have to be shown how to communicate them," says Frank. ''As an entrepreneur, you usually just get one pitch to banks or investors so that's your only chance to make a good first impression."

The dynamic duo are currently accepting applications for their TV and radio presenting course that will begin before Christmas in Dublin city centre. No better people, with such a wealth of experience between them. They are also enjoying working together. "It's great," says Theresa. "We love seeing people blossom in confidence and find it really rewarding."

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