Gleeson founded Collapsing Horse Theatre with Aaron Heffernan, Eoghan Quinn and Dan Colley, fellow classmates at Trinity College in Dublin. Their surreal comedy Bears in Space did well at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival and now is transferring to the Soho Theatre in London.
Gleeson, now 23, was lucky enough to land a central role on the HBO series, based on the books by George R.R. Martin. But after his character was assassinated last year, he said, offers began to pour in from Hollywood studios that wanted to cast him in action films.
"The offers came in, but I just had a lack of desire to do a big action movie," he said. "What I enjoy most is this kind of thing [Bears in Space], where I can have fun with my friends.... My real interest is in creating something from the ground up. I never say never to anything, but for the time being I get far more fulfillment from being part of a project that I have helped create and have more of a stake in."
Bears in Space, which mixes live and puppet characters like Avenue Q, "is about two bears in an intergalactic space ship who have just thawed from cryogenic stasis. It’s a journey of self-discovery for them and ultimately a story about love and friendship."
It's scheduled to run Aug. 3-22. For more information, visit sohotheatre.com/whats-on/bears-in-space.