Kieran McCarthy is a councillor in Cork city and is also heavily involved in the local musical theatre scene through Cork City Musical Society. He directs a production of Crazy for You from April 29 to May 1 in Firkin Crane, Cork.

Best recent book: I’m a geographer by trade, so I love books that have a view about people and their connection to landscape and place, and how the concept of memory weaves in out in framing how they interact and view their world. I have been engaging a lot with the work of Rebecca Solnit the last year and love her rich narrative piece called A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

Best recent film: I saw the film Sing Street recently, which took me by surprise in how much I enjoyed it.

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: I really enjoyed an exhibition on the Celts in Europe in the British Museum at the start of this year. It was amazing to see their vast range of influences on artwork and cultural identity within the EU.

What formats do you access music? I am an iTunes man. I have so many CDs from various music styles over the years. I enjoy all styles of music, especially musical theatre. Plus I am always on the look-out for songs, which I enjoy and get sheet music for and bring in to my singing teacher, Elaine Canning, in Turners Cross.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: I am constantly listening to the music of Crazy for You, by Ira and George Gershwin. It is toe-tapping music; you cannot but get swept away by the sounds of tap-dancing in ‘I Got Rhythm’ or feel pulled in by ‘Someone to Watch over Me’.

First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you:

A tough question, but it was Forrest Gump. I laughed and felt for this man through the film, but it was the death of his wife, that really moved me coupled with the emotional rise of the feather at the end of the movie, after he put his son on the bus. It was a great homage to how life throws you curve balls but evolves and finds other routes.

Best show you’ve ever seen: It was a few years ago and I was lucky to have a part in it. West Side Story, directed by the late Bryan Flynn in Cork Opera House. It was the company’s belief in the story and the messages behind it, which led to a fantastic piece of engaging art being created.

Radio listening: I am a fan of 96fm in the mornings; listening to PJ Coogan and Deirdre O’Shaughnessy is a great sounding board as a councillor to get to know what the key issues of our city and region are I love Elmarie Mawe’s The Arts House and her interviews with artists.

Name three of your theatre heroes: My theatre heroes are local ones. Musical theatre with the late Bryan Flynn, who gave me my first break into professional shows; drama with the amazing Marion Wyatt, who has a great way of looking at and re-making nostalgic worlds; and community theatre with Kinsale woman Yvonne Coughlan. Her ability to gel a groups of strangers on the stage always impresses me.

Your best celebrity encounter: I got to meet the legendary musical theatre performer Michael Crawford in City Hall once; he was singing in concert with the brilliant Cork Youth Orchestra. I am a big fan of his characterisations of different characters and his story-telling, singing voice, wit, and humour. He spent a good few hours chatting with the orchestra offering advice and support, which was admirable.

Most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought: The two suits I bought at the start of my first local election campaign in 2009; they had to be bought (€400 each!), but two very good suits on one day was a shock to my wallet and campaign resources.

Tech habits: I am a big fan of the Scanner Pro app. Being a researcher, I have been pdf-ing documents and newspaper clippings. I have stopped photo-copying and scan materials instead. I have so many papers and books from over 20 years of research, that I am constantly trying to find a way to be able to harness such information or to have it readily available on a hard drive, more so than having to conduct an archaeological investigation through my archives and the garden shed.

Unsung heroes: I have a lot of time for those people who go out to teach something to someone on an evening during the week, [be it] in the arts or in sport.

You are king for a day – what’s your first decree? I’d ensure every vacant social housing unit in the country was fixed up. It is one of my bugbears there is no money to really fix up houses and give them to people who really need them, and who will ultimately become homeless.


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