Mary Hickson


Mary Hickson

Mary Hickson

Senior Associate Producer

Mary (she/her) is a Creative director and Producer who has been at the helm of such venues and projects as Cork Opera House, 37d03d Events, Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival (SFSH), Eaux Claires Festival and MusicNOW Festival.

Mary is a Creative Director and Producer based in Cork, Ireland with a particular interest in music.  She is the Director of 37d03d Events – an evolving community of artists who come together to collaborate in unique residency projects around the world, founded by Justin Vernon and Bryce & Aaron Dessner. Mary is also Director of the award-winning Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival (SFSH) in Cork, as well as Eaux Claires and MusicNOW Festivals in the USA. 

She has worked closely with performers and artists such as Cillian Murphy, The National, Bon Iver, Feist, Jon Hopkins, Max Porter, Damien Rice, Crash Ensemble and many more in producing projects noted for their spontaneity and collaborative nature. Her passion as a producer and director lies in just those elements: collaboration and inclusion of all art forms to produce events that are unique for both artists and audiences alike. She is inspired by the artistic process, and seeks to provide artists with space, time and freedom to create new work, to incubate ideas and experiment to see what might happen.

A notable moment in Hickson’s career saw her successfully transform the fiscal and creative health of Cork Opera House during her stewardship as CEO, from 2010 to 2015. Building its reputation as both a producing and receiving house and diversifying the programme to include all kinds of live performance.

Current projects include All of This Unreal Time for Manchester International Festival with writer Max Porter, actor Cillian Murphy, film director Aoife McArdle and composers Bryce & Aaron Dessner and Jon Hopkins.

It’s not a festival, it’s something profound…. It’s incredible… — Laura Barton on Sounds from a Safe Harbour

We need our music to surprise us; we need our festivals to surprise us, this is not entertainment, this is a fucking spiritual thing. – Bon Iver on Sounds from a Safe Harbour

Hickson is also Creative Producer on Multitudes, Feist’s project of new songs, which will soon take up residency at the Kampnagel Festival in Hamburg for a series of unconventional, mould-breaking performances.

Hickson has also just completed a new project for Brightening Air in both Cork City and Botanic Gardens in Dublin entitled a city and a garden. These installations involved a series of artistic experiences presented through GPS technology with writers Danny Denton, Lisa McInerney, Louise Hegarty, Melatu Okorie and Gavin Corbett together with musicians Sean MacErlaine, Fish Go Deep, Quiet Club, Kate Ellis, Shahzad Ismaily, Sean O’Se, Tolu Makay and Dorothy Murphy (all brought to life by visual artist Deirdre Breen). Again, process and collaboration and spontaneity were to the fore in making this project something special.

Earlier this year, in a new collaboration with SFSH and Body & Soul, she directed a new film project (Eriu’s Threshold) involving many different artists including Eoin French (Talos), Robyn Byrne, Kate Ellis and others.

Finally, Mary is a Creative Partner of Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s leading contemporary music ensemble.


1. ALL OF THIS UNREAL TIME at Manchester International Festival (2021)

2. MULTITUDES by Feist. Image credit: Goodchild Richardson (2021)

3. Bon Iver with Voice Effect Choir at Sounds from a Safe Harbour/Cork Opera House. Photo credit: Brid O’Donovan (2017)