Michael John McCarthy
Michael John is a Cork-born, Glasgow-based composer, musician & sound designer.
Current and future projects include: MARK THOMAS: SHOWTIME FROM THE FRONTLINE (UK Tour), GUT (Traverse) and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE* (SORT OF) (Tron Theatre).
Theatre/Dance credits include: HOGMANY (Underbelly); HOW TO DISAPPEAR (Traverse); TRAINSPOTTING (Citizens Glasgow and King’s Edinburgh); FUTUREPROOF (Cork Everyman); JIMMY’S HALL (Abbey Theatre, Dublin); GLORY ON EARTH and A NUMBER (Edinburgh Lyceum); ROCKET POST, IN TIME O’ STRIFE, BLABBERMOUTH, THE TIN FOREST, THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH, TRUANT, 99…100, DOLLS (National Theatre of Scotland); THE GORBALS VAMPIRE, RAPUNZEL, INTO THAT DARKNESS, FEVER DREAM: SOUTHSIDE & SPORTS DAY (Citizens Theatre); AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, THE CHEVIOT, THE STAG & THE BLACK, BLACK OIL, THE BFG & STEEL MAGNOLIAS (Dundee Rep) LIGHT BOXES, LETTERS HOME: ENGLAND IN A PINK BLOUSE, THE AUTHORISED KATE BANE (Grid Iron); THE WEIR, BONDAGERS (Royal Lyceum Edinburgh); THE LONESOME WEST, UNDER MILK WOOD (Tron Theatre Glasgow); UN PETIT MOLIERE, THE SILENT TREATMENT (Lung Ha); BRIGHT BLACK, THE NOT-SO-FATAL DEATH OF GRANDPA FREDO (Vox Motus); THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, EDUCATING RONNIE (Macrobert); THE WOODLAND HOEDOWN THROWDOWN TRILOGY, PUSS IN BOOTS (Platform); GRAIN IN THE BLOOD (Traverse/Tron); JRR TOLKIEN’S LEAF BY NIGGLE (Puppet State Theatre); THE INTERFERENCE (Pepperdine Edinburgh); HEADS UP (Kieran Hurley/Show & Tell); THE RED SHED (Mark Thomas/Lakin McCarthy); A GAMBLER’S GUIDE TO DYING (Gary McNair/Show & Tell); GLORY (Janice Parker Projects); THE WINTER’S TALE (People’s Light & Theatre, Philadelphia); THE DROWNING POND (Youth Music Theatre UK); DALGETY (Theatre Uncut); SOME OTHER MOTHER (AJ Taudevin); PAUSE WITH A SMILE (The Arches); BIRDS & OTHER THINGS I AM AFRAID OF (Poorboy/The Arches); SOAP, THE ART OF SWIMMING, THE HEIGHTS (Playgroup); THE COMING WORLD (Making Strange).
To date he has collaborated on the making of seven Scotsman Fringe First award winners & has been twice-nominated for the Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland in the category Best Use of Music & Sound.
Michael John's primary instruments are guitar and piano accordion. He has toured Europe & Japan with Zoey Van Goey, Lord Cut-Glass and Aidan Moffat. He appears as an accordionist on albums by Alasdair Roberts, RM Hubbert, Niall Connolly, Emma Pollock, Trembling Bells & Bonnie Prince Billy amongst others.
Work for film includes co-composing/performing the score for WHERE YOU'RE MEANT TO BE (Paul Fegan) and music for SPORES (Richard & Frances Poet).
He has also composed & recorded several series' worth of radio music for BBC Learning: Movement First, Nina & the Neurons and Music First.
He is lead artist on Turntable, a participatory arts project in association with Red Bridge
Frances Poet’s GUT premieres at the Traverse Theatre
In her debut full-length premiere, GUT by Frances Poet opens at the Traverse Theatre, Scotland, to four-star reviews. This production features Design by Fred Meller and Music/Sound Design by Michael John McCarthy.
The Scotsman ★★★★
“the power of Frances Poet’s brilliant and intense new play lies in the ruthless honesty with which she lays bare the inner workings of our “age of fear”.”
“flawless – gripping, perfectly-structured, beautifully staged, and designed to ask fierce and vital questions”
The Herald ★★★★
“Poet’s play is troublingly in tune with a current wave of TV drama that picks at the psychological sores of a post-Yewtree climate”
“the ice-cool order of designer Fred Meller’s living room [is] noisily upended into chaos”
The Reviews Hub ★★★★
“Poet’s writing is cogent at stripping back the thin line between paranoid fear and trust.”
“A swing, arching back and forth across the stage reflect the child at the centre of this, but more so the tense emotions around him… Torrents of toys fall from the sky, shrieking the paranoid delusions of Maddy, all adding to the mise-en-scene sublimely.”
The Wee Review ★★★★
“This is Frances Poet‘s debut full-length play, yet her rich arts and theatre background shines through in the tightness of the script and the tying up of loose ends at the end.”
“Gut is a piece of great storytelling”
Michael John McCarthy is Composer and Sound Designer on GLORY ON EARTH
The inaugural show in Rob Hastie’s first season as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, JULIUS CAESAR has sound designs by Emma Laxton. It runs until 10th June.
The Guardian ★★★★
“a thrilling take on an increasingly resonant play”
The Telegraph ★★★★
“the Shakespeare we need to see"
“brooding electronic soundtrack is the sound of a storm about to break”
“The final, dystopian-flavoured scenes, as Brutus picks his way through a wrecked debating chamber, to the sound of a distant flapping bird, are flooded with real poignancy.”
“the arresting and almost cinematic use of sound”
The Stage ★★★★
“Impressive debut from Sheffield's new artistic director is a pertinent display of over-reached power”
“powerful statement of artistic intent”