Tune into this play from the comfort of your own home and be transported back to Ireland of the 90s... where not all is as it seems.

It’s an exciting week for Cork writer and performer, Irene Kelleher, who is working on a number of projects, with Corcadorca and The Everyman. In our weekly Person to Person feature, she tells us about her life and work
Tune into this play from the comfort of your own home and be transported back to Ireland of the 90s... where not all is as it seems.

Writer and performer Irene Kelleher.

TELL us about yourself;

My name is Irene Kelleher. I am a writer and performer. I studied Drama and Theatre Studies at UCC and followed it with a Masters in Advanced Performance Practice, also at UCC. I trained at Shakespeare and Company in in Lenox, Massachusetts in 2010.

My three plays, Mary and Me, Gone Full Havisham and The Misfit Mythology have all been professionally produced and have enjoyed critical acclaim. Mary and Me is currently having its U.S Premiere at the Players Ring, New Hampshire.

For the past few months, I have been working on my latest play, A Safe Passage with Corcadorca Theatre Company. The play is set in an Irish lighthouse and I will be presenting a work in progress presentation of this as part of Corcadorca’s SHOW 2020.

Where were you born?

In the Bon Secours Hospital, Cork!! And I grew up in Ovens, County Cork.

Where do you live?

I did the big move to the ‘real’ capital nine years ago, so I now live in Turner’s Cross!

Family?

I live with my husband Denis O’Sullivan. We are married four years and have been together for almost ten years. I am very close to my family, my Mam, Marie and brother, Tim, sister Mary and her partner, Miguel.

Lockdown has been very hard as I haven’t been able to see them as much as I like, but it will be all the better when we are reunited.

Best friend?

Paula Lynch, we met studying Drama in UCC in 2004 and became instant friends. She is now living in Key West, Florida. But I am constantly trying to lure her back home — I mean, what has Florida got that Cork hasn’t?!

Earliest childhood memory?

My sister taking me to see Beauty and the Beast in the Capital cinema when I was four years old. We had to queue for hours but it was absolutely worth it. It was magic and I remember it so clearly.

Person you most admire?

My mother. Right, I know that sounds like a cliche but that is my honest answer. My mother is my hero. We lost my beloved dad three years ago. They were married for 44 years. My Mam is the rock that has held us all together and her strength and love is unparalleled. So, my mother is my hero.

Other honourable mentions include: Mary Robinson and Gloria Steinem.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Iceland — our honeymoon. Iceland is the most breathtakingly beautiful place we have ever been. Denis and I both love to travel but this year (because of Covid restrictions) we stayed in Ireland for our holidays. We did a two week West Cork island hop and toured Dursey, Cape Clear, Sherkin, Bere, Whiddy, Garnish, Heir and the Fastnet Rock. It was incredible and was such a wonderful experience, it even rivalled Iceland.

Favourite TV programme?

The Sopranos — the best TV characters of all time.

Favourite radio show?

The Arts Show with Elmarie and Conor on 96fm every Sunday morning. The only thing that can get me up in the AM!

Your signature dish if cooking?

My husband is a Master Chef so I am very lucky! But I am the baker in the house and my Victoria Sponge seems to be requested often.

Favourite restaurant?

Iberian Way on Douglas Street. It serves Spanish Tapas of the finest quality, has a beautiful atmosphere and the most fabulous staff and owners.

Last book you read?

The Secret History by Donna Tart. Outstanding.

Best book you read?

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. (Followed closely by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre)

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Purple Rain by Prince on Vinyl.

Favourite song?

Tougher Than the Rest,- Bruce Springsteen

One person you would like to see in concert?

Bruce Springsteen again — I have seen him three times but would go every chance I get. He is my favourite.

Do you have a pet?

No, but I REALLY want a cat. I used to have cats as pets growing up and I am very much a cat person.

Your proudest moment?

The publication of my first play Mary and Me by Oberon. That was quite surreal.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

I quite like where we live at the moment. Unless we can move the sea here also? Then we’d be in heaven!

What makes you happy?

Being out on a remote island in the middle of nowhere with Denis and no internet access! That and cups of tea and cake.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a kind person who made others happy. But I’d also settle for crazy cat-lady.

What else are you up to at the moment?

As I mentioned earlier, I am working with Corcadorca to present a piece on my new play A Safe Passage as part of SHOW 2020. This year SHOW is an online platform for artists to present their ideas for a site-specific performance to a panel of Irish and international arts industry professionals to offer feedback and guidance. I am in very good company as five other brilliant artists are also presenting their ideas: Clare Monnelly, Mint Productions, Taste in Your Mouth Productions, Emma Reid and Murmuration Productions. It will take place from today, Wednesday, November 25 to Friday, November 27 online on the Corcadorca SHOW website.

My third play The Misfit Mythology is being presented tomorrow, Thursday November 26 as part of the Everyman Theatre’s Play it By Ear Season. This is directed by Killian Collins and my co-star is Anna Hardwicke. Cormac O’Connor has a fabulous sound design so this is very exciting. Audience members can tune into this play from the comfort of their homes and allow us to transport you to Ireland, 1990, to the small town of Kilthomas where not all is as it seems.

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