Sean Kelly, CEO of The Everyman. Photo: Darragh Kane

Sean Kelly

CEO of The Everyman

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up? A cowboy who was also very, very rich.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today: I always loved literature and live performance so when I left college I really wanted to work in the arts. I’ve been very fortunate to work in some fantastic organisations like Cork Opera House, Cork Film Festival and now, The Everyman. I’ve also met some amazing people along the way.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do? Nothing beats the buzz of a show at The Everyman. Luckily, we have lots of shows, all year round.

What motivates you? Every week brings a new show, new audiences to reach, new stories to tell.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self? Don’t take advice from a middle-aged man claiming to be your future self. Go and tell your dad.

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing? I would be trying desperately to get a job in the Everyman. It really is a great place to work and I’m part of an amazing team.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date? Getting Áine to say “yes” a mere 12 years after our first date. Being a dad to 2 amazing boys.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life? Reading Dylan Thomas for the first time was life changing.

What is the life dream now? Keep enjoying the challenges.

How do you switch off? Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Paradise Lost, Dylan Thomas. If you haven’t read the poems of James Baxter then you really should. Watching ‘The Searchers’ for the millionth time.

What is your favourite Cork memory? That would be meeting my wife at a Des Bishop gig in November 1997. Also, sitting in my granny’s kitchen on the first Sunday in September 1990 and watching Cork complete the first leg of the double.

I went straight out to the field behind her house pretending to be John Fitzgibbon.

What is your favourite place in Cork? My sitting room. A packed house at The Everyman. Anywhere I can hear my boys laughing.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto? “I and the public know - What all schoolchildren learn, - Those to whom evil is done - Do evil in return.” WH Auden, from ‘September 1, 1939’.

When are you at your happiest? Seeing great performers do their thing on stage. Being out with friends. Just hanging out with my family.

What is your hidden talent? I cook well but maybe not as well as I think.

What might we be surprised to know about you? I’m constantly tripping over things.

Anything else you’d like to share with us? Few things are so exhilarating as live performance. You’ll never regret going to a great show. The arts need your support now more than ever. We spent enough time locked up. Get out there!


Name and position: Sean Kelly, CEO of The Everyman.

Age: 43

Lives: Douglas.

Family: Married to Áine. Two boys, Ciarán (8) and Diarmuid (5).

Pets: Two goldfish – low maintenance but their language has gotten a bit too colourful for my liking.

Favourite thing about Cork: The fact that one day, in the not-too-distant future, we’ll win the Liam McCarthy. Just not this year. Probably.

Least favourite thing about Cork: The fact that some other county will win the Liam McCarthy this year. Probably.

One thing you’d change about Cork: I’d find a way to get Christy Ring back in the team.