And we’re back! Continuing our tradition of getting to know the participants in The 24 Hour Plays: Dublin we kick off this year’s profiles with Michael Barker-Caven who will be one of our daring directors this year. And what a director!
Currently Artistic Director the Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Michael is a ten times Irish times nominee director with over sixty productions to his name and whose national and international work ranges from theatre, to musicals and opera. Career highs include the award winning West End hit Shadowlands; The Bloody Irish! for PBS TV in the US; ten years as Artistic Director of Theatreworks with productions such as Anna Karenina, Richard III and the Irish premiere of Frank McGuinness’ Mutabilitie; among others for Landmark productions, Skylight, The Goat, Blackbird and Miss Julie; nine productions for the Gate and acclaimed operas for Opera North, Glimmerglass, Wexford Opera and Danish National.
Introduce yourself please. You can even describe yourself in the style of a chat show host describing your whole complex life in two sentences if you are feeling like a life-affirming challenge.
I’ve all but hung up my theatre director’s hat these days and taken to sending emails instead! That’s progress for you! Actually it’s great fun running the Civic in Tallaght – a wonderful opportunity to be part of something vital and transformative with an amazing and committed team. I may still fit in the odd opera now and then and I am currently working on an exciting new musical that has the chance to take the world by storm – on horseback – as the sun sets into the West (that’s a big clue!) It’ll be great though to get back into a theatre rehearsal room for all of 5 seconds and play once again. Can’t wait!
Have you participated in The 24 Hour Plays in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre before? If yes what is your fondest/ most nightmare causing memories? If no what are you looking forward to/ terrified of?
No never. But delighted to be doing so at last. A great cause and an honour to be taking part.
When you were a teenager what was your greatest interest?
Too long ago to remember… I’ll confess to a boyhood passion for Liverpool FC which did get me through many a dark day… but really it was probably reading everything I could get my mitts on (I was lucky to grow up in house with over 10,000 books in it and yes, I counted them!) and listening to radio drama. Literally 1,000s of hours of great plays trained my ear and mind to see the invisible and to believe anything was possible if you let your imagination run free.
If you could work on any film or play with anyone living or dead what production and who would it be? Why?
King Lear with Paul Scofield (but he did that rather well without me!) Other than that, I have a three part play called ‘Troy’ that has never been staged; I’ve wanted to do it for 10 years. Only need 25 willing actors and a budget of about €300,000. Any offers?!
If you could time travel would you go forward or back and why?
Going forward would be dangerous as I see really dark days ahead (not to be overly glum!) so it would have to be back in time. Probably to 1600 to watch the premiere of Hamlet… and to finally find out who that Shakespeare fellow really was!
Where can we find more about you online?
Already subbed and connected Michael! See you at The 24 Hour Plays in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre supported by BNP Paribas Real Estate. Tickets available online or call Abbey Theatre Box Office on (01) 87 87 222.