A question of taste: Cathy Walsh

Cathy Walsh is a choreographer and performer from Cork. She is the movement director for the current run of Dancing at Lughnasa at the Everyman in Cork.

Best recent book you’ve read: Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, by Barbara Ehrenreich. It is just that. A look at how humans have historically celebrated together, for various reasons, and how the absence of that shared, mass celebration leads to over-individualisation and potential depression. She gives examples of where we get our community joy now, at concerts, sports events, and protests. It’s a wonderful study for how important dancing together is!

Best recent film: Jimmy’s Hall. I loved it, it’s such a powerful and important story. I watched it on the train and I was bawling crying!

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: Robert Curgenven’s sound piece in the National Sculpture Factory. I also saw Orla Barry’s Breaking Rainbows in Cork Midsummer festival and I adored it.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Hazmat Modine’s ‘Everybody Loves You’.

First-ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you: Corcadorca’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a huge one for me! That was back in 2001. They did it first in Fitzgerald’s Park, but I saw it in Fota Gardens and it blew me away.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): It’s a tough question, but I would have to say Hotel ProForma’s ‘Tomorrow, in a Year’, at Cork Opera House in 2011.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I don’t really watch much TV, but I get into a series every now and then. I loved Arrested Development.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: I love podcasts and listen to them all the time, when I’m cooking, cycling, in the gym, when I’m travelling.

Favourite choreographer of all time, and why? 

I really appreciate Meg Stuart’s work. It is vibrant and emotive and funny, and I love Michael Keegan Dolan’s work.

You’re curating your dream festival — what three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

I’m choosing four: Onteroerend Goed (theatre company from the Netherlands; Clipa theatre (An Isreali company); Liz Peterson (Canadian choreographer and performer); ANU productions (Irish site-specific theatre company.)And then Kate Bush and George Michael.

Your best celebrity encounter: When I was performing for Tino Sehgal, at the d(O)cumenta festival, in Kassel, in 2012, Brad Pitt came to visit. They cleared all the other visitors out of the room and we waited around for about 20 minutes for him to arrive. The performance was in a dark room and when he did come, he stayed for about one minute and left, What a disappointment!

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why?

I would love to transport myself back to the time of Queen Meadb to see her ruling the lands!

Do you have any interesting family or ancestors?

My Nana was a powerful woman who played camogie, and in the All Ireland final (sometime around 1950), she was cold, standing in goal, pregnant with my aunt, so put on her fur coat, which was her wedding present. Some legend! She lived to be 101.

Unsung hero — individual, organisation, or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: Carers! Anybody who takes care of other people, they are often unpaid, or badly paid.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree?

I would implement universal basic income! Without disregarding how useful money is as a transaction tool, I hate how powerful money has become in our society.


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