“Ents for All”: Interview with Jonah Craig

Between a comedy gig competition, talks from entertainment industry mentors and expanding Ents’ presence across campus, Ents Candidate Jonah Craig has big plans in store


Jonah Craig has jumped head first into the entertainment scene in Dublin with lots of experience to back up his candidacy for Ents officer: the third year Computer Science student was the JCR Ents officer in Trinity Hall, runs the club night BoraBora with a group of friends, and is the current treasurer of Trinity Ents.

Craig was involved with Ents immediately: after meeting previous Ents officer Finn murphy in first year, worked with Murphy and his friend Grant Tierney to create the Murder on the Mystery Tour event which saw Trinity Ents rent a train to Sligo. This success made Craig stick with it and lead to him running for the position of Ents officer for the JCR.

When asked if he considers it to be a pivotal moment, Craig says “absolutely, yes…if you organise an event like that, a unique spin-off event, like a train, which has never been done before: that’s what I live for, that’s what I get the most enjoyment from and that’s what I want to bring to Ents next year.”

“There are events that he has been ‘thinking about for the last two years’ that he has ‘kept in [his] back pocket’ which he will reveal throughout his campaign”

To run these large-scale events Craig says that “you really have to have a strategic plan”. He cites an on-campus presence as a vital aspect to ensuring these events are successful as he describes Ents as “relying too much on online presence…on Facebook”. His manifesto mentions posters, fliers and a more representative Ents committee as ways to increase offline presence.

Craig’s motivation to run for Ents officer is influenced by the satisfaction he gets from running successful events: Craig runs the club night BoraBora with his friends. Inspired by the Malibu club night Craig wanted to “take it further than we had at Ents and run our own night.” Craig cites the christmas night “A Rave in a Manger” — which over 850 attended in hanger —  as the “pinnacle” of BoraBora’s success so far.

Unusually Ents is uncontested this year, which is sure to be important to the dynamic of Craig’s campaign. Discussing his plans to make large-scale events a staple of Ents next year, he says that there are events that he has been “thinking about for the last two years” that he has “kept in [his] back pocket” which he will reveal throughout his campaign. With no competing candidates, Craig is able to build his campaign slowly without the need to start off guns-blazing to draw an early profile.  

“[Craig] wants the assign ‘very specific role[s]’ to committee members saying that  a health science ordinary committee member (OCM) position which would ‘focus on interaction with Health Science’.”

Craig’s manifesto emphasises his desire to see an “Ents for All”. The main area of improvement for Craig is including health science students because they represent “such a huge population of the college”. One way Craig hopes to include health science students more is through structural change to the Ents committee: he wants the assign “very specific role[s]” to committee members saying that  a health science ordinary committee member (OCM) position which would “focus on interaction with Health Science”. However, Craig is reluctant to expand the committee as “once you get bigger committees it gets messier; people might not be as devoted”.

Inspired by the yearly Battle of the Bands run by Ents, Craig wants to run a comedy festival with the same format. He envisages two semi-finals and a final with both a crowd vote and judges. Declaring comedians to be “quite cheap”, he says that there could be a “well-known comedian”; he describes the concept as “pretty feasible”.

Every election, students want to know if the candidates can follow through on their promises; And Craig is emphasising reliability as well: he says that some events this year which the Ents committee “put a lot of time into” and were “mentioned a lot at council” never happened. Craig says that if Ents can avoid this, he can “put more time into creative events for what is definitely going to go ahead.” Craig wants to have a big-event once a month to ensure Ents provides consistent events throughout the year.

“..the ‘[entertainment] industry is massive throughout Dublin’, there are a lot of ‘really great people’ to learn from.”

The provision of alcohol-free events has been a topic of discussion in previous Ents races and this year is no different. Craig says it is something he’s looking at and has included it in his manifesto: he highlights Katie Cogan’s use of the science gallery for  alcohol-free events as a positive development as it’s a “fantastic venue.” And Craig is venue-conscious in general: while he acknowledges that some venues are necessarily restricted in terms of access, his manifesto says that he wants to provide details for Trinity Ents events.

In terms of bringing more students into Ents, Craig wants to hold workshops so he can “give the same experience that I’ve had with Trinity Ents to other people”. He says the workshops could take place in college and Trinity Hall. Craig describes them as “a bit more like a master-class” with “previous Ents officers or someone from the entertainment industry” as two possible options for mentors. These would be valuable he notes because the “[entertainment] industry is massive throughout Dublin”, there are a lot of “really great people” to learn from.

Craigs wants his emphasis on inclusivity to inform the culture of Ents. Drawn to the Union because he found it “quite inclusive”, Craig wants Ents to foster a culture of inclusivity in their events as well. When asked about past criticism of Ents as being symptomatic of a lad culture, Craig hailed the election of Katie Cogan as the the first female Ents officer in a few years. He describes that in his years in college there has not been an Ents officer who embraced lad culture and that “inclusivity is the way to go.”

Last year, Trinity Ents reported a record surplus of €29,169  during Katie Cogan’s time as Ents officer. As Ents is a potential source of revenue, this raises the question of Ents primary purpose. Craig says that “providing entertainment” is what Ents should be concerned with; however, he acknowledges that “money really does help”; he praises Cogan for the revenue she brought into the union during her time in charge and emphasises that “if you can hit two birds with one stone that’s infinitely better.”