It’s almost Cork Midsummer Festival time, which is always my favourite time of year!

Sadhbh Barrett Coakley is the Stage Manager on Irene Kelleher’s new play A Safe Passage, running at The Firkin Crane on June 17, as part of Cork Midsummer Festival
It’s almost Cork Midsummer Festival time, which is always my favourite time of year!

Sadhbh Barrett Coakley is the Stage Manager on Irene Kelleher’s new play, A Safe Passage, which will open at part of Cork Midsummer Festival at The Firkin Crane on Friday June 17th. See

TELL us about yourself;

My name is Sadhbh Barrett Coakley. I am a theatre producer and stage manager from Kerry but I’ve been living in Cork for ten years now, so I like to think I have dual citizenship in both the Kingdom and the Real Capital!

I moved to Cork ten years ago to study Theatre and Drama Studies at MTU Cork School of Music.

After graduating from the degree, I set up a theatre company with my partner Al Dalton called ALSA Productions. As well as making work with ALSA, I also freelance as a producer, stage manager and sometimes actor.

Last year, I joined Once Off Productions as an associate producer. Once Off produce work for independent artists so I’ve gotten to work on some really exciting projects with them over the past year.

Where were you born?

Camp, Co. Kerry. A tiny village between Tralee and Dingle.

Where do you live?

I’ve just moved into a tiny home on wheels by the sea near Kinsale with my husband Al and our two dogs Rua and Loah.


I’m the eldest of three siblings. I’ve got a younger brother and younger sister. My parents are both from Dublin but have been living in Kerry for over 30 years now.

Best friend?

When you work in theatre, you usually work really intensely with a group of people over a short period of time, so you can make great friends that way, but then you might not see them again for months. I’ve got some great friends that I’ve been close to for years but the one I’ve known the longest would be my friend Linda. We grew up together and we’ve been friends since primary school.

Earliest childhood memory?

I remember the day my little brother was born. I was about two and a half and I remember meeting him in the hospital for the first time. I think my parents were hoping I’d take kindly to the new arrival so they told me to check under his pillow, where I found a little Barney toy and a packet of Maltesers that he had brought me as a “present”.

Person you most admire?

I think my parents are pretty amazing. They did a fantastic job of raising me and my brother and sister. 

They are both self-employed but they managed to balance the unpredictability of all of that with giving us a really fantastic upbringing.

When we were young, they took us all out of school for a month and we travelled around Argentina and South America. 

And when I was in TY, I went to India with my dad to volunteer in a school in Kolkata. Such amazing life experiences. It’s only now that I’m working freelance myself that I realise how much they must have been juggling all the time!

Where was your most memorable holiday?

I love to travel. When I was 16, I had an amazing trip to India with my dad. I’d love to go back there again. The people were just so lovely!

Favourite TV programme?

I’m slightly addicted to home renovation programmes like Grand Designs and Tiny Home shows.

Favourite radio show?

We listen to a lot of radio in our house, especially since the pandemic, it’s basically on all the time. I would switch between Today FM and Lyric FM most days. I really enjoy the Dermot & Dave show, Matt Cooper’s Drivetime is great for current affairs and I love Movies and Musicals with Aedín Gormley on Lyric.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Probably a salmon and coconut curry, with loads of veg.

Favourite restaurant?

There are so many great ones in Cork! I love Cafe Paradiso or Japanese from Miyazaki.

Last book you read?

Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo

Best book you read?

I couldn’t possibly choose! I used to read voraciously when I was younger but I’ve really gotten out of the habit of making time to read recently. I’m hoping I’ll get better at that because I really love escaping into a good book.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

I don’t remember the last album but I really like listening to the Other Voices playlists. I’ve been introduced to some great Irish artists via Other Voices.

Favourite song?

I don’t have an all time favourite but I go through phases of listening to certain musicals, or songs from certain musicals, on repeat. 

I could list a hundred but recently it’s been Being Alive from Company if I want a good cry, or Welcome to the Rock from Come From Away if I’m looking for something uplifting.

One person you would like to see in concert?

I saw Toucan in Cyprus Avenue and they are amazing. The most fun I’ve had at a gig!

Do you have a pet?

Yes. I have two dogs, Rua is a Jack Russell and Loah is a Collie.

Morning person or night owl?

Definitely a night owl! I think that’s partly why I ended up working in theatre.

Your proudest moment?

Possibly when I passed my driving test. I had been struggling to learn to drive for years. I never really gave myself the time to practice and as a result I’d become a really nervous driver and I never thought I’d master it. 

When I finally knuckled down and stuck with it, I passed the test first time and I was delighted! 

A lot of the credit has to go to my partner Al for being my long-suffering instructor!

Spendthrift or saver?

I’d be a pretty good saver. When you’re working freelance in the arts, you really have to learn how to make your money last!

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

Public transport! I’ve lived in cities and in the countryside and it’s just impossible to rely on public transport when you live rurally in this country. I’d love to see less cars and a more accessible public transport system here.

What makes you happy?

Walking on the beach with my partner and my dogs and chatting with friends over a coffee.

How would you like to be remembered?

As somebody kind and loving.

What else are you up to at the moment?

It’s almost Cork Midsummer Festival time, which is always my favourite time of year! This year I’m working on two brilliant projects.

The first is Irene Kelleher’s new play A Safe Passage which is set in a lighthouse in 1979. It’s on in the Firkin Crane from June 17-21.

 Irene is an amazing writer and performer. I’ve always really admired her work so I’m delighted to be working with her this year.

The second project I’m working on is All These Dark Citizens from Peter Power. It’s an audio walk through the city at night time, ending up in the National Sculpture Factory. It’s got this amazing soundscape that the audience can listen to on their headphones and then there will be visual installations dotted throughout the city. It’ll be a really unique experience. It’s running June 23-25.

See for a full programme

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