We have lost a famous son. One of us. He never forgot his roots. Ulster has lost a father, The Grandfather of Northern Irish theatre. We will forever hold the name McCready on the tip of our tongue. When the bombs were first exploding and guns were first gunning, there was brightness, a sharpness of step. A mind too active to calm. Artist, actor, writer, director, teacher, husband, father and in his words, ‘an interpreter of literature’. Where does the list end?
His name spans the Globe from Tokyo to Maryland, Chicago, Beijing, Belfast and beyond. There was not one devotion he singularly devoted himself to; reading, writing, sketching, painting, acting, directing, the list flurries on, he devoted himself to them all.
Facebook, today, has swelled many an eye. The admiration is of no coincidence. What he and Joan have done for Northern Irish theatre cannot be undone. Writing about Sam in the past tense is a golf ball in the throat. Sam and Joan brought me out to lunch, Ryan’s Bar on the Lisburn Road, didn’t have nor host a penny, they didn’t care. What a joy to have them talk about theatre in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, current day, teaching in the US, studying under a watchful eye of the masters of Shan Shui. ‘Never too late to learn’ is the McCready way.
Always for the underdog, the McCreadys fought and found a voice for the minority. Look at the Lyric, look at Helen Lewis’s A Time To Speak, Robert Harbinson’s No Surrender and more. Read Baptism of Fire, an autobiography and rejoice.
Many of us came late to the table, the table was full, is full and getting fuller still.
Rejoice and remember.
Sam McCready 1936 – 2019