Arts Q&A: Tara Lynne O'Neill on Eddi Reader, La La Land and women's football

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, actress Tara Lynne O'Neill

Tara Lynne O'Neill appears in Tinderbox Theatre Company's production of Famla, a dark comedy about three lost souls in search of salvation

1. When did you think about acting as a career and what were your first steps into it?

I knew by sixth form in secondary school that acting was the career for me. Michael Poynor's Ulster Theatre Company summer youth productions were the inspiration. Drama school was financially not a option but I was lucky enough to be cast in a film by the wonderful Thaddeus O'Sullivan and in a BBC kids show in my final year at school and my training began.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

I go to see Eddi Reader every time she plays in Belfast. She is a magical storyteller as well as an amazing vocalists. I also adore Goldie Fawn and am a huge fan of local artists like Peter McAuley and the fabulous Leah McFall.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

All of the above, plus my pal Al Logan. That would be an awesome band.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

Feeling Good by Nina Simone.

5. And the book?

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

6. Top three films?

This year it would be Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight and La La Land.

7. Worst film you've seen?

There's been too many to name.

8. Favourite authors?

Again, there's too many. John Irving, Raymond Carver and Roald Dahl. And you must let me mention John McCann, writer of fabulous Famla, or he'll never have me in one of his plays ever again.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I love women's football. The women's Northern Ireland team are an awesome inspiration to me. I've my tickets bought for the UFEA under 19 finals in Belfast this August.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Anywhere that it doesn't rain.

11. Pet hate?

People eating in the cinema. Buck them out.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Does wine and cheese count?

Dessert? Cheese, with wine.

Drink? Wine, with cheese.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My bestest friend is Rachel Murray. We met at school and I'd be lost without her.

:: Tara Lynne O'Neill stars in Famla, John McCann's new dark comedy about three lost souls in search of salvation, which is at The MAC, Belfast, until March 25 followed by a short tour of Northern Ireland. For full tour and ticket details visit

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