Arts Q&A: Actor Sean Kearns on Leonard Cohen, Nigel Slater and John McEnroe

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, actor Sean Kearns

Actor Sean Kearns is currently starring in Cahoots NI's production of Pinnochio at Belfast's MAC

1. When did you think about acting as a career and what were your first steps into it?

I knew from around the age of 16 that acting is what I wanted to do. I was a member of Newpoint Players in Newry which was headed by the late, great Sean Hollywood; he was a huge factor in instilling a love of theatre. So was Michael Poynor (Ulster Youth Theatre) who also gave me my first professional job playing the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

Leonard Cohen at the then Odyssey Arena and the Radio One Ibiza Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Definitely Nile Rodgers and Chic.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

Jennifer Warnes' Famous Blue Raincoat.

5. And the book?

Real Cooking by Nigel Slater. Or any cookbook by Nigel for that matter.

6. Top three films?

Magnolia, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Monsters Inc.

7. Worst film you've ever seen?

Even though she was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for the role, Nell, starring Jodie Foster.

8. Favourite authors?

Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck and Hilary Mantel.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

Tennis. As an actor, I've always loved McEnroe's charisma and energy.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Ibiza. Beautiful beaches and quiet villages, plus a bustling nightlife. The best of both worlds.

11. Pet hate?

People who are late. If you're late, then I'm running late too.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Roast rib eye of beef with all the trimmings.

Dessert? A really good bread and butter pudding.

Drink? Gin and tonic.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

Without hesitation that would be my wife, Gillian Magnall, who has been my best friend for 25 years.

14. Is there a God?

Give me your number and I'll send you a text when I get to the other side.

:: Sean Kearns stars in Cahoots NI's modern retelling of the classic tale, Pinnochio, continuing at Belfast's MAC theatre until January 1. For tickets visit

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