My Weekend: Remember - Panto is for everyone... keep the child alive in you

Catherine Mahon Buckley, director and co-producer of The Everyman Christmas pantomime ‘Cinderella’
My Weekend: Remember - Panto is for everyone... keep the child alive in you

Catherine Mahon Buckley with the main cast of the Everyman / CADA Panto 2022 - Cinderella Picture: Miki Barlok

TELL us about yourself:

My name is Catherine Mahon Buckley and I have been directing and producing the annual pantomime at The Everyman for the last 28 years (I gulp).

I am also director of Cork’s premiere stage school, CADA (Cork Academy of Dramatic Arts). Every single child, or adult, who walks through the doors of CADA is special to me and the staff.

It is an honour to see our past pupils who are following their dreams in careers of their choice. Many of our students are engaged in the arts/business/science faculties. Sarah Greene is one of many, Sarah is an established actress who is currently starring in the hit TV series, Bad Sisters.

I live in Glanmire with my husband Ted. I have one brother, Tony. Unfortunately, my Mum, Patricia, died recently. I love animals. They show us unconditional love — a wonderful experience to receive. I have super friends and fantastic neighbours.

I must mention my righthand person, always prepared to go the extra mile in our business and friendship, Caroline. Everyone should have a Caroline in their lives.

Ideal way to spend Friday nights?

It depends on the Friday night. Sometimes working in the studio with our very enthusiastic students. Other Fridays, going to theatre or catch up with friends.

Lie in or up with the lark —which is it for you?

Most definitely up with the lark. Usually a planned visit to the hairdresser, John Geaney, or a facial at Waterfront Studios, I love a good facial. Shopping for food or a bit of retail therapy.

I visit our studios and witness the wonderful work being created by teachers and pupils.

I love the early morning, there is something about the newness and everything coming to life.

Zoe Allman Walsh who plays Cinderella in this year's Everyman Panto and Catherine Mahon Buckley, CADA. Picture: Darragh Kane
Zoe Allman Walsh who plays Cinderella in this year's Everyman Panto and Catherine Mahon Buckley, CADA. Picture: Darragh Kane

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Most definitely. When you work in the arts, weekends can be a very busy time, rehearsals, meetings, planning. When you love what you are doing, then it doesn’t feel like work.

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

If money was no object, I would hire a private jet and head to the Grand Cayman, a place of paradise.

I would bring my husband Ted and my close family, friends, hairdresser, staff of CADA Performing Arts, and all the panto cast and crew of Cinderella.

What a wonderful dream. But, alas, money would have to be no object.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries (particularly beauty spots, walks, beaches)?

A trip to West Cork — Gougane Barra — or Kerry, where you walk in the woods, sit by the water edge to breathe, be at peace, dream, believe in your thoughts, and gain the energy to achieve what is in your head.

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

Most certainly, it is so important to me. The week can be so busy and the best part of life is your family and friends.

To chat, to eat, laugh, and have fun. It is such a wonderful time of the week.

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

I love to go to the gym, a good workout and then a swim, walk the water, relax in the sauna.

Also a great hobby of mine is the garden, it is so therapeutic. It absolutely grounds me. 

Back to the soil, highly recommend it.

Entertain or be entertained? Do you have a signature dish?

I love both. I entertain a lot, but it is also lovely when someone entertains me.

I don’t have a particular signature dish, I enjoy vegetarian food or a good hot goulash.

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

It all depends on where I am at the time or the party I am meeting. I don’t have special places but I love places that have atmosphere, nice surroundings, and a big welcome and make you feel special.

I have a motto about eating out. The place must create something much more special than my own kitchen can offer.

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

During working times, it is planning the week ahead, the meetings, the projects, preparation of clothes, house, family, all listed, deep breaths saying ‘yes, I can do this’.

On holiday time, Sunday nights are having a ball and plenty of fun.

What time does your alarm clock go off Monday morning?

6am — then, hair in curlers, exercise, make-up on, and delighted to have health to do the work which I love.

Anything else you are up to right now?

After months of preparation and planning, The Everyman/CADA panto, Cinderella, is running until January 15.

Remember, panto is for everyone. From children to adults, keep the child alive in you and have fun, laughter, sing, dance with a wonderful cast , crew, and production team and allow the magic happen.

Also our younger performers are preparing for their own show at CADA Performing Arts.

Remember you are all invited to Cork’s best Royal Ball at The Everyman. Don’t be late, I will be watching out for you.

The Everyman Christmas pantomime, ‘Cinderella’, runs until January 15. See or phone 021 5501673.

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