Having studied travel and tourism, event management, music management, and hair dressing, Shane Barkey has found his niche working at Mullingar Arts Centre.
“I was never academic in school, but always creative,” says Shane.
“I started the G2T Factor in 2016 as a side project and then Sean Lynch [manager of the arts centre] approached me and said he liked what he saw with the production and offered me a job in marketing, PR and audiovisual, and I’m here since.
“I’m self-taught. I always had an interest in audio visual, creating video content.
"It’s great working in the arts centre and there’s always something different with the various shows coming up.
“Everything I do I do on the MacBook Pro – wherever I go, the laptop comes with me.”
This weekend, the G2T Factor is back for its third and final year, with judges Chris Corroon, Abdul Ibraimoh, Niamh Moore and Lorcan Daly, and a new one, Amanda Cunningham.
The singing contest, a fundraiser for Good2Talk, returns for what is expected to be the biggest show yet, with 12 new contestants, amazing effects, impressive visuals and competitive judges – like previous years but bigger and better with new twists and turns.
“This is the ultimate finale,” says Shane, organiser, presenter and producer of the event.
The G2T Factor has raised over €25,000 in two years for Good2Talk.
It has built a reputation as the leading talent contest in Mullingar and is the main fundraiser on Good2Talk’s calendar.
“The show has been a sell-out success for the last two years, it has surpassed anything I ever imagined,” said Shane.
“Last year we introduced an online voting system and a live stream on the night, which has never been done before in Mullingar for an event like this.
"It was fresh and exciting, and added a new level and dynamic to the show. It upped the game.
“It allowed the show to be get to a bigger audience and served the purpose of raising as much money as possible for Good2Talk as well as raising awareness, which is just as important.
“My main goal is to give audience members a night of top quality entertainment.
"Raising money for this service close to my heart is rewarding and I couldn’t imagine a better way of spending my summer.
“Lives depend on this service, please give it any support you can.
"The work the guys are doing in G2T is nothing short of incredible. Keep mental health awareness and services a priority and let’s make sure it does not go out of fashion.”
Shane says this will be the final year of this particular format.
“I love a good trilogy!
“This is not to say I won’t be producing any more shows for Good2Talk – it just will be the final year of this type of show.
"There’s plenty of new ideas in mind for future shows.”
That’s for the future, so best not to miss out on this year’s spectacle, which is selling fast once again.
It’s this Saturday, August 11, at 8pm. Tickets are €20 and available from Mullingar Arts Centre on 044 9347777 and at mullingarartscentre.ie.
Good2Talk is located on College Street, Mullingar. Its aim is to maintain a low-cost, community-based centre of excellence in mental health care and wellbeing where they welcome, listen to and help anyone in need, and offer immediate access to professional psychological therapies based on the need and not ability to pay.
Good2Talk counselling service relies on community support. Donations, monetary or by commitment to help in other ways, are always greatly appreciated.