Sam McCready (actor)

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Sam McCready at Lyric Theatre, Belfast, 2017

Sam McCready (born 1936)[1] is an actor, theatre director and playwright who was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[2] One of 13 children of David and Sarah McCready, he lives in Northern Ireland and in the United States with his wife Joan Carslake whom he met in 1958 at Stranmillis College, Belfast, and married in 1962.[3] They have two children, Julian (b. 1963), now deceased, and Richard (b. 1967). Richard is married to Julia Jackson and has a child named Margo (b. 2000). Sam was a founder member of the Lyric Players Theatre, Belfast, with whom he founded the Lyric Youth Theatre (1968), and also the Lyric Drama Studio (1978). He has performed and directed theatre productions in Europe and the US, and with Joan McCready is the founder and co-Artistic Director of Two-for-One Productions, a touring company which specializes in small-scale productions. He has conducted the Drama Workshop at the Yeats International Summer School, Sligo regularly since 1999.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in East Belfast, he moved to Hillsborough, County Down, when the family home at 6 Tower Street was destroyed in the Blitz of 1941. He attended St. John's Primary School, Hillsborough, and returned to East Belfast in 1945, living with his parents at 144 Connsbrook Avenue. He attended Strand Primary School (1945–48), and Grosvenor High School (1948–54), and after completing his Senior Certificate, he accepted a post as Permanent Clerk, Northern Ireland Civil Service, Family Allowances Branch (1954–1956). He returned to full-time education at Stranmillis Training College in 1956, graduating with a Cert. Ed (with Special Merit), 1960.[4]

Academic career[edit]

His first teaching appointment was at Fane Street School, an unreorganized Primary School in Belfast, where he taught Art (1960–62). He was appointed Advertising Manager at Berkshire Hosiery, Newtownards in 1962 but returned to full-time teaching as Head of Drama at Orangefield Boys' Secondary School in 1964, followed by his appointment as Head of English.

In 1969, he accepted a post in the Drama Department at University College of North Wales, where he completed his MA (1969–78). and was appointed Head of Drama, Stranmillis Training College (1978–1982). An invitation to direct in New York brought him to the US, where he was appointed Professor of Theatre, University of Maryland, Baltimore, County, a position he held with distinction until his retirement from full-time teaching in 2001. Since then he has maintained, with his wife Joan McCready, a successful theatre career as actor, playwright and director.

Professional training[edit]

Guildhall School of Music and Drama (LGSM), London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LLCM)

The plays he has directed include A Time to Speak, a dramatisation of the Holocaust memoir by Helen Lewis, which was performed at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.[2]

Plays and publications[edit]

  • Lucille Lortel: The Queen of Off-Broadway (1993)
  • A William Butler Yeats Encyclopedia (1997)
  • Coole Lady: The Extraordinary Story of Lady Gregory (2005)
  • Baptism by Fire: My Life with Mary O’Malley and the Lyric Players (2008)
  • The Great Yeats! : Remarkable Father of a Remarkable Family (2010)
  • A Time to Speak: adapted from the Holocaust memoir by Helen Lewis (2011)
  • Dickens at the Ulster Hall (2012)
  • Percy French: Melodies of Unforgotten Years (2014)
  • No Surrender: adapted from the memoir of a Belfast childhood by Robert Harbinson


  1. ^ Campbell, Brian (23 April 2016). "Actor and director Sam McCready brings Percy French to life in Melodies of Unforgotten Years". The Irish News. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Sam McCready". Authors. Lagan Press. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "My people: Sam McCready on his special relationships". The Belfast Telegraph. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Baptism by Fire, Lagan Press, 2007

External links[edit]