What’s on your agenda for 2014?

A selection of people from arts and entertainment give a glimpse into what they’ll be up to in the new year


Moya Doherty
“I have 2014 stretching out ahead with a firm focus on work. If I can steal some quiet time away to meditate or write, I’ll do that. Otherwise it’s all work. We launch the Limerick City of Culture with Riverdance 20, as it is 20 years since Eurovision, believe it or not – and I certainly feel every day of the 20 years older.

“And then we head to Belfast, where we’ve had to put on extra shows, and then through Europe and back to the Gaiety, and on to the UK, finishing in Switzerland in December. So that’s the year mapped out.

“And we take our other Riverdance troupe to China in August, and we also take our new production, Heartbeat of Home, to North America in January.

“I’d love to do a little bit of writing. The only country I want to stay in is Ireland, because I spend so much time in a plane. Walking the hills of Kerry or Donegal is what attracts me more than anything. I said to my sister that my craving for the year would be to see the four seasons from the one window. And she quipped that I’d probably get that in one day in Ireland.

“I’ve no time for a holiday, but I always have time for my family, although my two boys are grown up now, and the last thing 22- and 24-year-old boys want to do is spend too much time with their mother, so I’m much freer now than I used to be 20 years ago, when they were two and four.

“I was listening to the RTÉ news this morning for the first time in ages, and I heard little grains of optimism, and it made me think that maybe, just maybe, things might change, and all that hardship might be history and not the future.”

Keith Barry
“I’ve got a lot on next year. I’ve got my new show on TV3, Keith Barry: Brain Hacker, that starts on January 12th, for six weeks. I haven’t done homegrown television for six or maybe 10 years. I do all my TV abroad, but I wanted to do a show at home, because I’ve got two kids, aged five and two.

“And I’m heading over to the States, because I’m in negotiations about doing more TV there. The idea is to do that in the second half of the year, so in June or July I’ll head stateside and spend the rest of the year there.

“And then there’s my tour, which is the biggest I’ve ever done, so that’ll be March, April and May. I’m doing 50 dates: 14 in the Olympia in April and 36 around the country. I’m in talks to start working on the sequel to Now You See Me. My big hope is that I’ll be on that, and it’ll take up a big portion of next year as well. So I’ll just have to wait and see if that happens.”

Catherine Dunne
Author and judge for the 2014 International Impac Dublin Literary Award
“Next year promises not one idle moment. First there’s the reading of the 152 books on the Impac longlist to be completed – a real Aladdin’s cave of novels. I love the statistics: the books come from 39 countries, span 17 languages and represent 110 cities. Whittle all of that down to five judges and one winner and that’ll take care of most of the first six months.

“Then there’s my own work in progress: the final draft of my new novel is due next summer, for publication in 2015. And there are book-club visits and the odd creative-writing workshop. But in between all of it there has to be a celebratory pause somewhere, to acknowledge reaching that most significant of birthdays, the 60th.

“All should be over in time to head to Listowel and teach the Novel: Getting Started course – after which I should be just about finished.”

Baz Ashmawy
TV presenter
“I’m doing a programme on Sky1 in the new year. I’m filming in April, and it’ll probably go out in September or October. At the moment it’s being released as 50 Ways to Test Your Mammy, as opposed to the original title, 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy.

“It’s a strange thing to film, anyway, but to film with your mother on the road is a completely new experience.

“I’ve been getting to travel all over the world, doing my bucket list of things I think she should be doing. Giving her the opportunity to say, yeah, I’ll give that a go. It’s been brilliant. We’ve gone skydiving.

“She’s 71 now, and she stays a lot out in the Canaries. I was out there once, chatting to her with her friends, and they were saying, about getting old, that you feel invisible. But she’s really up for trying new things, and has an urge for life. It’s making TV, but we’re making great memories, the two of us.

“I was working with Sky in the UK a lot in 2013, and I had loads of ideas for shows; it was a hard time. TV can be quite difficult: you’re hot when you’re hot, and you’re not when you’re not. Getting your ideas up and running is hard, so you have to not give up on something.

“I’ll watch the World Cup even though Ireland aren’t playing. I was going to support Egypt, but they’re not even playing. I suppose I’ll have to fly a flag somewhere.”

Selina Cartmell
“In 2014 I start with A Tender Thing, which is a reimagining of the story of Romeo and Juliet, the iconic teenage lovers. And Ben Power, who’s adapted the piece, has reframed that relationship for a couple who have lived and loved, with memories and hopes, yet he has still retained the pulse of the original text. These are star-crossed lovers who have lived a lot longer, and are no longer in the first flush of youth, as a teenage Romeo and Juliet were.

“And it’s great to be reunited with two of my long-term collaborators, Owen Roe and Olwen Fouéré. I think this is my eighth collaboration with Olwen, and my fifth with Owen, and it’s our third together. It’s on in January.

“After that I’m going over to New York to do a residency at a theatre for six weeks. And I’m going to be developing projects in London and here, so it’s going to be a busy year, with a range of projects. My production company, Siren, has been going for 10 years. Time flies.

“I’m going to be travelling a lot – I love travelling – but mainly working. I love collaborating, so it’s trying to find the right team to work with.

“I always try and be optimistic about the future of Siren. It wouldn’t exist without the Arts Council, but I always think there’s something bright around the corner.”

The Strypes
Rock’n’roll band
“It’s been a big year for us, so it’s nice to end it in Ireland and in Cavan. On New Year’s Eve we’ll be playing in Dublin and Limerick.

“We’ll be going over to the US in February, and it’ll be the first time in the US for all of us. We’re going for a week and a half, doing a couple of gigs, and then coming back to do a UK tour. And in March it’ll be back to America for three weeks. We’ll be doing South by Southwest and a few other things like that.

“We’ll probably go to Graceland, but also to the Chess studios building, in Chicago, where they made all the old blues records. We’re big Chicago blues fans.

“We’ve done some recording for an EP which we hope will be out in February. And we’ll be doing the second album in summertime. Hopefully it will be out by the end of the year. It’s going to be the same only louder.”

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