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All the best: We ask Jimmy Fay about his favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

The 45-year-old is the new executive producer of the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Originally from Dublin, he recently moved to Northern Ireland and is married to Amanda Coogan with whom he has a son, Daniel (7).

My best moment

The birth of my son. I didn't expect to have any kids but then he arrived and it was amazing. He's smarter than me and thinks about things more instead of throwing himself in straight in to them. I think he's more like this mother.

He and Amanda haven't moved up from Dublin to Belfast yet so at the moment I tend to spend just weekends with him. That could be anything from going to the swimming pool to climbing a mountain or teaching him to ride a bike. Spending time with a kid is a great way to relax – you relive your childhood with them.

My best way to relax

I like cycling around cities as a way to explore. The bike liberates you and I've explored Berlin and Paris on two wheels – it opens up the city.

My best job

My new role at the Lyric, without a doubt. Being responsible for producing, programming and looking after this gorgeous theatre – you couldn't ask for a better job. It's as if everything in my career has led me to this point, which feels good.

My best song

Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan. It's the song I keep going back to. I've seen him playing it live a few times and he always does a slightly different version. I love the music and the different lyrics he does each time.

My best advice

Unfortunately, I can't remember where it came from but it's 'Never give up, don't stop'. I say it to my son to keep him going. You learn from your mistakes and you can build on them. Never give up if there's something you want to achieve.

My best gift

When I was 10 or 11 my mum gave me her portable Sixties record player with a bunch of records to go with it. There was Nat King Cole and that sort of thing, as well as albums like 101 Guitars – records they just don't make now. It changed my life and I played everything on it. I still have it, although it doesn't really work anymore.

My best achievement

I set up the Dublin Fringe Festival in 1995; it's still going and so many jobs have come out of it. The legacy from it is really good as it helped crack open Dublin theatre for a younger audience.

My best buy

Before we were married, I was travelling in Thailand with Amanda and we were up in the hills somewhere at a stall and she liked this gemstone. I bought it and hid it in my backpack and we travelled through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia before arriving in Saigon weeks later, where I produced the stone in the form of an engagement ring.

My best movie

The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, which was directed in 1921 by Rex Ingram, who left Ireland to be a Hollywood director. It's a silent film about World War One and is the template for all other blockbuster movies – it's also the film that made Rudolph Valentino a star. I also love Orson Welles and would watch any of his films over and over.

My best book

The Road by Cormac McCarthy which I loved. I also love Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, when I finally got around to reading it. I found it spiritual and an extraordinary, mind-opening book.

  • For details on the Lyric's new season, Northern Soul, visit

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