My Weekend: There are no lie-ins with a 1 year old around!

Actor, director and playwright, John McCarthy, tells us about his new solo work, CITY, as part of the Everyman Play it By Ear series
My Weekend: There are no lie-ins with a 1 year old around!

John McCarthy.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work:

I’m a writer, actor and director living in Cork.

I was the inaugural Theatre Artist in Residence at Cork Opera House-UCC from 2018 to 2020, a mentor on the Young Playwrights Programme with Fighting Words and Graffiti, and creator of Hammergrin’s In Darkness Vast audio-drama.

I was nominated as Best Supporting Actor at the Irish Theatre Awards 2019 and wrote Stage Irish, which won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Playwrights Progress Award 2014.

I co-wrote Hollander, nominated for Best Production in the Irish Theatre Awards 2010.

My new one-person play, CITY, is crisply packaged, recorded and mastered, and available to stream for nine days only.

It’s a piece I’ve written about stories and loss and how a city fizzes and throbs with both.

And, for the first time, I’m performing on stage in something I’ve written.

Filmed on the beautiful Everyman stage in a specially created work for viewing at home.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Recently, Fridays are the same as any other day of the week, but if it was possible to suddenly go out with friends, into town, and have a bite to eat followed by a drink or two, that would be wonderful.

John McCarthy with Julie Maguire, Aine Ni Laoghaire and Amber Deasy.
John McCarthy with Julie Maguire, Aine Ni Laoghaire and Amber Deasy.

Lie ins or up with the lark... which is it for you?

There are no lie ins at all at the moment because our daughter is just one year old and loves an early start.

I know more about the hours of 6am to 8am than I have known for many many years.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Yes, it does — being a freelance artist is brilliantly diverse and affords endless creativity, but it also blurs a lot of the distinctions between work and life.

It’s exciting to be working on something and you can be doing that sitting at your desk or pouring the cereal and all the places in between.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

I think I’d like to go to Berlin with my partner Rebecca and our daughter Iris.

It feels so implausible at the moment under lockdown that I can’t really imagine more than that.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

I’d love to go to Clonakilty and out to Inchydoney, or further afield, skip down to Baltimore and take the ferry out to Cape Clear and stay a few nights there.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

I do indeed. With the homogeneity that’s crept into the week now under Covid, the weekend is much the same as the rest of the week, but talking to family and friends or texting and sending pictures definitely helps.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I love reading. I haven’t been able to really get lost in a book in a good while, but I’ve a promising pile collected at home now I’m determined to allow myself indulge in soon.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

I’d take either in a heartbeat now. 

I do miss being round a table with friends and swapping stories and news over home-cooked food. 

We didn’t know we had it so good!

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

Cork Coffee Roasters and Lab 82 for coffee.

For lunch, the sandwich stall in the market.

Dinner anywhere they’ll let us sit in.

Cannot wait to eat out indoors again!

Sunday night comes around too fast... how do you normally spend it?

Watching something on Netflix probably.

Or putting the final touches to a funding application...

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

If Iris hasn’t already sung us awake, the alarm gets its chance at 7am.


Actor, director and playwright, John McCarthy, has written, and will perform, his new solo work, CITY, as part of the Everyman Play it By Ear series, an on demand video stream from the Everyman Stage from Friday, April 16 to Sunday, April 25. Age recommendation 13+ with adult, see

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