Irish Examiner Saturday - Irish Examiner - Weekend
This much I know Maclean Burke
It was only after being brought kicking and screaming to a drama class that I realised, oh this could work.
I didn’t always know I wanted to become a performer, but growing up I was definitely imaginative. My folks and people around me could see it first hand that I had something, but for years I lacked the confidence to believe it myself.
I was always pottering away with art work, thinking that’s the road I’d take, but later on I really believed that I would become a chef. I recently found my little red book of dishes that I had when I was six or seven years old.
I was a maniac of a child. I was always on, no off switch... but I was also shy and was very happy in my own world.
My earliest memory is sitting on the wall with my old neighbour Mr Byrne and waiting for his newspaper to arrive. I used to love looking at his face.
My main skill is the ability to consume mountains of script in a ridiculously short turn around time [for his role in the RTÉ soap Fair City, for example]… if only I could apply it to other parts of my life.
Unfortunately I don’t achieve any type of work/ life balance at all. With me it’s either a feast or a famine so I keep busy all the time knowing that things could be very slow in the near future.
I am very disciplined. I am good at getting the heavy work done and then I like to try and flesh out what I’m doing, to try and find the interesting bits.
The best advice I ever received is to go with your gut. It is seldom wrong.
The trait I most admire in other people is a hard working attitude. I have a strong work ethic and I truly believe that hard work always pays off.
My main fault is that I’m a big old softy and only ever want to see what’s best in everyone.
My idea of happiness is my children. Being with them completes me. That, and a good night out with some close friends.
My idea of misery is a life without coffee and good people to share it with.
If I could be reborn as someone else for a day I’d love to come back as a woman to experience child birth.
If money was not an issue I’d do as little as possible.
The thing I find most irritating about other people is falseness. False people drive me insane. I can’t be in the same room as anyone that is not true to themselves and others.
My biggest challenge in life so far is trying to not be a fat, middle aged, grey bearded man.
Ambition is everything. Talent is wasted everywhere. Without ambition, talent is nothing.
One thing I didn’t learn in school, which I wish I had is my tables. I’m brutal at them.
My greatest fear would be to grow old alone.
I’m both a lark and an owl... I can survive on very little sleep, I can manage on four to five hours and then I’m ready to rock.
I believe in something after death, but I’m still in search of what that might be. I’m not sure I’d call it an afterlife. Religion is not my thing.
So far life has taught me not to sweat the small stuff, to choose your battles and to enjoy the normal everyday... because somewhere in it lies true happiness.
■ Fair City soap star Maclean Burke is
the outrageous Dame Polly in this year’s Olympia Theatre Panto Cinderella: The Story of Cinders and Her Fella which takes place from Friday December 20 2019 – Saturday January 4. 2020 at The Olympia Theatre.