(Sara Keating's article appeared in the Irish Times, 6/14.)
Jo Mangan is a busy woman. Our lunchtime meeting is sandwiched between a variety of media appearances relating to the National Campaign for the Arts, of which she is the chairwoman. She needs to be in Carlow by teatime to brief interns at the Carlow Festival of Arts, where she began a term as director in February, and she is also rehearsing a new play for her theatre company, Performance Corporation, which will premiere at Canada’s national theatre festival in less than a month.
Indeed, Mangan is so busy that she won’t be able to travel with her latest show. Not that she is complaining. “I am outrageously passionate about the transformative power of the arts,” Mangan says of her various roles as theatre director, festival producer and arts advocate. “I can’t even pretend to be passionate about anything else. I have considered haulage, brewing beer, but I am not able to make it stick in my imagination, let alone in reality. This is where my life – my love – is.”