Des Cave first appeared on stage in roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operas in college. In 1962 he joined the National Academy of Allied Arts, Camden Street founded by Anew McMaster. He was accepted into the Abbey Theatre School of Acting, run by Frank Dermody in 1963 and was invited to join the company in the same year. He has been a member of the Abbey company since then playing both major and minor roles in the company's classic and modern repertoire.
Des was nominated Best Actor of the Year 1973 by the Evening Herald and Best Actor of the Year 1974 by the Irish Independent for OEDIPUS and for his portrayal of Arturo Ui in Bertolt Brecht's THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI directed by Thomas MacAnna. He was nominated for a Harvey's Award in 1982 for his performance in THE HIDDEN CURRICULUM by Graham Reid, directed by Sean McCarthy.
Recent theatre work with the Abbey Theatre includes; A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM directed by Gavin Quinn, THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS, Father Jack in Brian Friel's DANCING AT LUGHNASA which went on a national tour and then on to tour Australia; FAMINE directed by Garry Hynes, THE DOCTOR'S DILEMMA directed be Lynne Parker, MOSES ROCK, PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME!, MACBETH and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST all directed by Patrick Mason, JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK directed by Ben Barnes and THE HOUSE by Tom Murphy, directed by Conall Morrison.
He has appeared in a number of Dublin Theatre Festival productions outside the Abbey, notably CHAPTER TWO by Neil Simon at the Olympia Theatre and EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOUR by Tom Stoppard also at the Olympia Theatre, THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, THE HEIRESS directed by Michael Rudman, THERESE RAQUIN directed by Michael Caven, and Alan Stanford's acclaimed production of ROMEO AND JULIET, all at the Gate Theatre. Other recent credits include BORSTAL BOY at the Gaiety Theatre, directed by Conall Morrison for Verdant Productions.
His television appearances include; CRADLE SONG directed by Deirdre Friel for RTÉ, I'M GETTING OUT OF THIS KIP directed by Tony Barry for RTÉ, THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS by Sean O'Casey, directed by Michael Garvey for RTÉ, AGAINST ALL ODDS directed by James Hawe for BBC, GLENROE for RTÉ, THE AMBASSADOR, a six part drama series for BBC directed by Patrick Lau and VICIOUS CIRCLE, directed by David Blair for the BBC.
Des’ film appearances include; Gar Private in the film of Brian Friel's successful play PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! directed by John Quested, THE OUTSIDER, Joe Strick's production of James Joyces' novel A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, TROJAN EDDIE with Stephen Rea and Richard Harris, directed by Gilles McKinnon, THE GENERAL directed by John Boorman, COUNTRY directed by Kevin Liddy in which he plays the lead role of Frank, WHEN BRENDAN MET TRUDY directed by Kieran Walsh, VERONICA GUERIN directed by Joel Schumacher and OMAGH directed by Pete Travis.
Des has worked in Radio Drama both in Ireland and the UK. He was one of the cast of the long running radio soap THE KENNEDYS OF CASTLEROSS directed by William Styles. He is also an accomplished Radio and TV voiceover artist, most recently providing the voice of John Dillon in the 1916 documentary '1916', directed by Ruán Magan for RTÉ / PBS.
Des is based in Dublin.