Thursday 22 August 2019

My cultural life: Olga Barry, festival director

Orla Barry
Orla Barry
Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Guess who's coming to dinner
Her kind

Olga Barry is the director of Kilkenny Arts Festival. She is originally from Cork and has been immersed in the Irish arts and music scene for over 20 years, doing everything from merchandising for Radiohead, performing with Corcadorca Theatre Company, project managing Ireland 2016 /RTE Reflecting the Rising, and managing the RTE Concert Orchestra and Crash Ensemble. She is passionate about all things arts-related, and hurling, and so her role in Kilkenny is full of joy - but sometimes tinged with (hurling) resentment.

TV: Fleabag

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Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge

I'm a TV addict. My current favourite show, Fleabag, is written by and also stars the very brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She is without doubt one of the most original voices to emerge in recent years and this show breaks several moulds. It's sort of cringey and gorgeous all at the same time with a central character that is both irreverent and consumed with self-loathing. And Waller-Bridge discards the fourth wall throughout and brings the audience inside in a really visceral way. Truly original TV.

Designer: Rudolf Heltzel

My Rudolf Heltzel silver ring. I just adore it, and it gives me no end of pleasure both to wear and to look at. It's a very simple design, but has a sort of big dramatic personality while being very elegant at the same time. Rudolf moved to Kilkenny in the 1960s so you see a lot of women wearing his stuff in Kilkenny, of course. It's quite the Kilkenny 'house style'.

Movie: Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

I would watch Sidney Poitier in just about anything. I love the way this film set the audience up for the white parents' unfortunately too predictable difficulties with their daughter falling in love with a black man, despite their liberal view of the world. But then the film has the black family have exactly the same prejudices against a potential white daughter-in-law.

Artist: Daithi Magner

Daithi Magner made the piece ("00-17") that's on the cover of our brochure this year at Kilkenny Arts Festival and his work is part of the National Design and Craft Gallery's exhibition as part of the festival this year. It's a sort of 'angel house' on legs and he mostly works with found materials. I could look at it all day, and as a life-long renter I see a lot of the conflict within Ireland's property neurosis in his work.

Book: Her Kind

Her kind

Her Kind by Niamh Boyce is an historic novel inspired by the story of alleged witch Alice Kyteler and really brings medieval Kilkenny to life in a brilliantly vibrant way.

Kilkenny Arts Festival, August 8-18,

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