Arts Q&A: Orla Mullan on Bette Midler, Oscar Wilde and Wayne's World

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Limavady actress and singer Orla Mullan

Limavady actress and singer Orla Mullan's busy Christmas schedule includes performing with The Swingtime Starlets on December 19 at The Black Box

1. When did you think about a career in acting/singing and what were your first steps into it? It started with training in classical singing and then at school my love of acting developed. Of all the things in life, pursuing performing is probably the one thing I have ever been totally certain about. I was so fearless when I was younger and at 18, off I went to Drama School in England to train and here we are 15 years later.

2. Best gig you’ve been to? Bette Midler at The Manchester Arena in 2015. At the time she was 69, yet her vocals were absolutely flawless and her energy and performance style was nothing short of sensational. She hadn't toured the UK in 25 years, so to get a ticket to see her live was a dream come true. I have just finished a tour of my one-woman show about Bette Midler and there's no doubt that experiencing her live really helped the process of becoming Bette.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? The Beatles, or Michael Jackson.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island? John Williams: Ten Best Movie Soundtracks.

5. And the book you’d take to a desert island? Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything by Elizabeth Gilbert. But I'd sacrifice the book if I could bring my cat Zuzu with me instead.

6. Top three films? Wayne's World, La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful) and Beaches.

7. Worst film you’ve seen? Really bad films are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, especially really cheesy, predictable Christmas movies.

8. Favourite authors? I've always loved Jane Austen novels, but would tend to read more plays than books. My favourites are Shakespeare, Wilde and Friel.

9. Sport you most enjoy? Tennis is the only sport I properly follow. When I was younger I was obsessed with the Croatian player Goran Ivanisevic and will never forget the year he won Wimbledon, after entering the competition on a wild card. Most nail-biting tennis match ever.

10. Ideal holiday destination? New York city. If I could, I would spend all my time there.

11. Pet hate? Bad manners – there's no excuse for rudeness.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? A carvery roast dinner.

Dessert? Pavlova.

Drink? I am a bit of a Diet Coke addict. But if I'm out, I enjoy a Rosé wine.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? I'm so lucky to have a number of very very good friends – you all know who you are! But my boyfriend Keith and my Mummy are really the best friends I could ever wish for.

14. Is there a God? I like to believe so.

:: Orla Mullan is playing Fairy Rose Petal in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Millennium Forum, Derry, until December 31 ( She will also be performing with Naomi Rocke and Rosie Barry in professional close harmony trio The Swingtime Starlets' Christmas show on December 19 at The Black Box, Belfast (

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