Our Adjudicator: John P. Kelly

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This year we welcome John P. Kelly all the way from Canada — his fortieth year adjudicating drama. Can it possibly be that long, he wonders loudly and often.

John adjudicated the All-Ireland Open Finals on two occasions at Athlone, as well as the Confined and One Act finals. He also adjudicated finals in Scotland and three times in Canada.

He trained professionally as a director with the Abbey theatre after a successful stint on the Amateur Circuit both acting and directing. Then a move to Radio Drama with RTE, rising to take charge for a spell of Features and Arts. In 1994, he emigrated for the first time, to Switzerland and worked there for the European Broadcasting Union, traveling and working all over greater Europe — Finland to Israel, Iceland and Russia. He is now eighteen years living in Ottawa, where he founded his own small professional theatre company dedicated to modern Irish Theatre. With that and other companies he has directed about forty plays in Canada's capital city. He teaches acting at a theatre school, as well.

Like everyone — Covid is really getting him down. At its very first wave, his
Dancing at Lughnasa was cancelled after three performances and in February this year, his comeback show, Claudia Carroll's The Secrets of Primrose Square was postponed as he was about to start rehearsals.

Will he ever retire? Well, you'll have to ask him yourself. He is a friendly animal and answers to the names of John, John P and Sean. He may, of course, not know the answer. There's a lot of water under the old bridge but he's still proudly standing and still loving Theatre and Theatre people.

What else? Through it all he has retained his love of Gaelic football and admits to a bit of gra for Country Music. Oh yeah… he's proud to have once interviewed Big Tom McBride.