A question of taste: Derry Cotter

Derry Cotter was a lecturer in UCC for 35 years. His first stage play, The Inheritance, opens tonight in the Cork Arts Theatre, and will also be performed by the UCC Players in Ardmore, Co Waterford on Friday, May 26 . Cotter was born in a pub in the North Main Street, Cork, which his parents used to run for Murphy’s Brewery. He is married to Carmel, and they have four children.

Derry Cotter's play, The Inheritance, opens at Cork Arts Theatre tonight.

Best recent book you’ve read: I found The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, to be very enlightening for personal development.

Best recent film: For its sheer escapism, I really enjoyed La La Land. I also loved the Irish films, The Young Offenders and Sing Street, both of which portrayed the innate humour that enriches Irish culture.

Best recent show you’ve seen: Half a Sixpence, running in London’s Noel Coward Theatre, is a fabulous production. A good storyline, some great music and an excellent cast.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’. It’s just like the Irish weather forecast, but much more fun to listen to.

First ever piece of music or film or gig that really moved you: When I was five, my father took us all to see Ben Hur, right, in the Coliseum, which was then a cinema on MacCurtain Street in Cork. I have never forgotten the incredible spectacle of that iconic chariot race.

The best gig you’ve ever seen: The (100 Violins) Hungarian Gypsy Orchestra, who simply blew away the audience in the Cork Opera House a few years ago.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I mainly watch sport, especially if there’s anything resembling a ball. I also watch the ‘Good evening’ part of the News. It tends to go downhill pretty fast after that.

Radio listening: Lyric FM is my favourite station. I also love Drama on One.

You’re curating your dream festival — what three artists are on the bill, living or dead? Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Barbara Streisand.

Your best celebrity encounter: I was in the old Jurys Hotel in Ballsbridge a few years ago, when, amid a flurry of flashing cameras, Woody Allen strolled past. I also remember my sister taking me to (what is now JFK Park), and getting very close to the US president as he boarded a helicopter to take his leave of the city.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history — where, when, and why? Since seeing Ben Hur through the eyes of a five year old boy, I have always been fascinated by Roman history and culture. With L being fifty, and XL only being forty, it must have been a confusing place for clothes designers. I would also like to interview King Henry VIII, and ask him if all that chopping and changing was really worth it at the end of the day.

Unsung heroes – individual or group you think don’t get the ppraise they deserve: Priests, nuns, and others with religious vocations deserve to be acknowledged for their enormous contribution to Irish society. Having devoted their lives to the service of others, it is sad to see so many having to shoulder the responsibility for the grievous offences committed by a small minority. Also worthy of special mention is the work done by teachers, whose dedication to educating our young people is often taken for granted.

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree? There is so much to do — I would be a nervous Rex. My first decree would be that carers, who bear the greatest burden of all, should get much needed support.

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