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My cultural life: Cliona Maher


Bette Davis

Bette Davis

Bette Davis

Cliona Maher is the artistic director of Clonmel Junction Arts Festival. She moved back to Clonmel three years ago after 14 years in Lyon, France. She and her team are busy transferring the festival on which they have worked for over a year to a digital format. The festival kicks off on Saturday July 4 and will present over 50 different events on its digital platform, as well as a series of visual arts trails in Clonmel itself.Visit junctionfestival.com for full details

Film: All About Eve

I had a discussion recently with my son about how, in the past, music and films were not available in the way they are now. You had to sit by the radio during particular shows waiting in case that song you loved came on. You would see a film once. My dad had seen All About Eve [starring Bette Davis, right] when it first came out. The story goes that when it finished, he left the cinema, bought a ticket for the next show and watched it again. We had heard about this amazing film - how clever, how well acted - but it was never shown on RTE. This was Clonmel in the 1990s so there wasn't a lot of variety on the telly. Then I found a VHS copy and gave it to him for Christmas. We were so nervous sitting down to watch it: what if it didn't live up to his recollections? Would I have destroyed the memory of his favourite film? Within five minutes, that doubt was put to rest. I watched it again a few weeks ago - it's brilliant. It stands up to re-watching (and then some!) Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

Artist: Janet Mullarney

My previous job was as artistic director at the South Tipperary Arts Centre in Clonmel. One of my favourite aspects was to arrive at the gallery in the morning and get a short private moment with whatever show was hanging. The final show before I left was A Population of Wonderment, with work by the late great Janet Mullarney from private collections. And especially as introduced by curator Catherine Marshall, it was indeed wonderment-inducing.

Design: An office chair

I don't think I fully appreciated what a wonderful thing an office chair was until the last two months spent perched on a kitchen chair with my laptop on the table. At least it encourages me to take reasonably frequent yoga breaks or I'd be unable to stand up straight.

Book: The Mirror and the Light

I'm currently reading Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light. I've adored this series. She brings Tudor England to life and manages to weave detail and thought with action and suspense in absolutely beautiful prose.

Music: Roger Doyle - Under the Green Time

I am delving deep into the back catalogue of Roger Doyle. I first came across him when I started working in theatre through the music-theatre company Operating Theatre, which he co-founded with actress Olwen Fouere, and he wrote the music for Steven Berkoff's production of Salome at the Gate Theatre. When I was putting together the Visionaries Symposium for the 2020 festival, his was the name that came to mind first. I'm delighted we're able to keep that event on our virtual programme, and we'll still premiere an extract from his new electronic opera with playwright Marina Carr, iGirl - although it'll be as a video created by Trish McAdam, rather than a concert. I've picked Under the Green Time here, but I also love anything from Babel or iGirl or Heresy.

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