The most interesting souls come out at night...

Alice Barry, Creative Director of BOO! at Ballymaloe, talks to us about her work, family and what makes her happy
The most interesting souls come out at night...
Alice Barry, Creative Director of BOO! at Ballymaloe with her children, son Murragh and daughter Amelia.

Tell us about yourself;

My name is Alice Barry. I am Artistic Director of Noggin Theatre Company and Creative Director of BOO! at Ballymaloe; a walk through, interactive, theatrical adventure for all the family. I am a mother, writer, actor, and director and wear many more hats but these are my favourite.

Where were you born?

The Erinville Hospital in Cork.

Where do you live?

I like to say L.A. — Lower Aghada, Midleton, Cork.

Family?

I have a son, Murragh, who the Prince at BOO! is named after this year. It had to be done as I also have a daughter Amelia who the princess was named after last year.

Best friend?

It’s got to be Zeezee Bojangles, fortune teller extraordinaire and one of the many characters at BOO! this year. She’s dramatic, entertaining, intelligent and funny — what’s not to love? Also, I wrote the script, so I have been living with her for many months.

Earliest childhood memory?

My mum taking us to Fossetts Circus, which in many ways has inspired the carnival theme that infuses BOO! this year.

Person you most admire?

Many brave, courageous women, but since I’ve been working with Ballymaloe and I’m from East Cork, I’d have to say Myrtle Allen, who started a restaurant from her own home in the middle of the countryside and went on to become a Michelin star chef. Her legacy continues everywhere in Ballymaloe, ensuring people will return.

“Build it and they will come.”

Person who most irritates you?

Witch Winnie, another character from BOO! but only because she is constantly in my head, making suggestions about how we can improve the adventure and entertainment levels of the experience.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

I think Prince Murragh would make a great Minister for Finance as he is determined to travel.

“No borders or boundaries or walls to divide, but values and morals and culture from worldwide. What a wonderful leader this Prince will make, not like the pompous ignorant fake leaders we deal with on a daily basis. Murragh will welcome all creed, colour and races.”

Alice Barry, Creative Director of BOO! at Ballymaloe.
Alice Barry, Creative Director of BOO! at Ballymaloe.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Disneyland Paris with my kids. We dined with the princesses and ‘Yeehawed’ at the rodeo — something for everyone, just like BOO!

Favourite TV programme?

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events; a refreshing, funny, intelligent show for children that doesn’t patronise or preen. Pure inspiration.

Favourite radio show?

Anything on Lyric FM. Food for the soul.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Lamb’s liver and boiled offal on a bed of salted seaweed. Oh no, sorry, that’s Witch Winnie in my head again! I don’t really have one.

Favourite restaurant?

It’s got to be The Yeats Room in Ballymaloe or The Pepperstack Bistro in Aghada. Scrumptious.

Last book you read?

Stephen King’s On Writing.

Best book you read?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. A wonderful love story set in a circus.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

George Ezra. I brought the kids to see him in Independent Park. It was their first concert and he was fantastic.

Favourite song?

At the moment it’s Can you Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John as I’ve just joined a choir in Midleton and this is our first song. Loving it.

One person you would like to see in concert?

My daughter Amelia. Not now as she’s only 10, but she’s already an incredible talent so definitely in the future.

Do you have a pet?

We have two cats — Kitsit, a lovely black cat who Witch Winnie wanted for BOO! but I had to put my foot down! (There are no animals harmed in the making of BOO!).

We also have Sunshine, who is a tiger cat, so I guess there would have been a place for him in the carnival section of BOO! too.

Morning person or night owl?

Night owl. The most interesting souls come out at night, especially around Halloween.

Your proudest moment?

My children make me proud constantly with their kindness, empathy and strength of character.

Spendthrift or saver?

I will spend on experiences but I’m not a consumer.

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

I would stop Dairygold, who plan to pump three to four million litres of fat, oil and grease into beautiful Cork Harbour in the very near future.

The impact on the harbour, its nature reserves and its ecosystem has not been adequately investigated or modelled. The cheapest solution is rarely the best solution.

What makes you happy?

Intelligence and justice.

How would you like to be remembered?

With presents and goodies on my birthday, at Christmas and Valentine’s.

“Other than that, it won’t really affect me.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I am in pre-production for a one-woman show called Violet Gibson; The Woman Who Shot Mussolini, about an Irish woman who did in fact attempt to assassinate Mussolini. It was on in The Everyman a few years ago and I constantly have people asking for it to come back.

I’m also touring a one-woman show that I wrote called Fruitcake starring Mary McEvoy (Biddy from Glenroe) in early 2020.

BOO! at Ballymaloe runs throughout mid-term from October 25 to 31 and tickets cost just €15 per person from age two upwards.

For more details on BOO! at Ballymaloe and to make a booking, visit www.ballymaloefestivals.ie.

To enquire about room rates and reservations, visit www.ballymaloe.ie or call 021 4652531.

You can also follow the conversation on Facebook @thegrainstore, Instagram @ballymaloe_grainstore, Twitter @thegrainstore #BallymaBOO

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