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Cahoots NI theatre: Paul Bosco McEneaney's favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

The 41-year-old is the artistic director of Cahoots NI theatre company and will be directing The Family Hoffmann’s Christmas Mystery Palace at the MAC theatre in Belfast. He lives in Armagh with his wife Jill and their son Jamie (9)

My best moment

I’ve gone for the Jamie moment for this one — the moment that little man was born our lives changed for the better.

My best song

It’s a wonderful song called Rain Sometimes by a lady called Susannah McCorkle. It’s very poignant for me and Jill.

We used it at our wedding because we were searching for a song that suited us. That was the one and it’s sort of stuck with us.

My best way to relax

I love cooking and I can really feel the shoulders going down when I hit the kitchen.

For my 40th birthday Jill even sent me off to celebrity chef Rick Stein’s school of cookery, which was just amazing. I feel that the kitchen is one of those places that you can forget about everything.

My best job

I’ve always worked in the theatre but I’m lucky enough that my best job is what I’m doing now. I love directing shows and looking for new pieces of work.

My best advice

Don’t run if you’re not being chased — it’s a reference to magic and illusion, but I can’t remember where it came from, I probably read it in a book somewhere.

It means that sometimes you can try too hard to show that the hat is empty when no one is asking to see — you don’t need to over-explain things. It’s a very good metaphor and one that I constantly remind myself of.

My best gift

My parents bought me a magic set when I was five or six and that was the beginning of the whole thing. There was no getting away from it, one magic set led to the next and now I have a giant set to play with on stage.

My best achievement

It has to be the foundation of Cahoots NI. More children in Northern Ireland have the opportunity to see world-class children’s theatre than if it hadn’t been created. We’re in our 13th year now and I still can’t quite believe it.

My best buy

I’m a percussionist and drummer too but when Jamie came along that had to stop. I then had a wonderful idea to buy an electric drum kit which you can plug headphones into and drum away.

My best film

I’m caught between two but I’m going to go with Lost In Translation (right), directed by Sofia Coppola, and starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. My wife and I visited Japan just after it was released and it was almost like a soundtrack to our experience there. We watch it a lot and it always reminds us of that time. I also think it’s a beautiful piece of storytelling. The other one would have been JFK, by Oliver Stone, the only movie that I’ve watched more than a dozen times.

My best book

It’s called Hiding The Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer and it’s a history of magic. I’m forever buying it as a present for friends.

  • The Family Hoffmann’s Christmas Mystery Palace will be running at the MAC from December 3 until January 4. For details, visit

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