Jane McCarter, a native of Buncrana, is one of the Irish Echo’s ‘40 Under 40’ award winners 2015.
The Irish Echo newspaper is the USA’s largest and most widely read Irish-American weekly. The awards, in their eighth year, celebrate Irish and Irish Americans who have distinguished themselves in their careers before reaching the age of 40.
The awards will be presented at a gala dinner at Rosie O’Grady’s in New York on Friday. One of the highlights of the event is the announcement of this year’s People’s Choice Award winner, which is decided by an online vote on http://irishecho.com or the Irish Echo Facebook page. (One vote per day allowed.)
Jane (pictured), who turned 30 this month, cut her teeth in local pantos and plays, travelled to New York and Boston in 1998 with Clann na Cheile’s showband musical, “That’s All for Now”, and their play commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Famine, and was a key member of the Greasepaint Productions team in Buncrana.
After making her name as heritage and outreach officer at The Playhouse in Derry, she emigrated to New York City about three and a half years ago. Her talent was quickly recognised and she took up the post of arts and culture director at the New York Irish Centre.
Jane helped organise a volunteer relief effort after Hurricane Sandy, repairing ruined homes. She even adopted the Christmas Shoebox Appeal concept for children who’d been left with so little after the hurricane. This project made national headlines and continues each year, providing needy children with a special something at Christmas.
Jane also created and runs the Tir na nOg children’s cultural festival and launched the Senior Moments Choir which takes part in the Dawn Chorus, making the New York Irish Centre the only organisation to take part in Ireland’s Bealtaine Festival. She is also involved in running the New York Irish Theatre Festival, and last year directed the first full-length festival production featuring a cast of children.
Jane was also production manager for Daniel McCabe’s new play, “The Flood”, in last year’s New York International Fringe Festival.
She plays for the ladies team and is on the board of Manhattan Gaels GAA club.