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Arts Q&A: West End actress Christina Bennington on Jamie Cullum, Damien Rice and Iron Man

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Belfast-born West End actress Christina Bennington

Twenty-six year old Belfast actress, Christina Bennington has enjoyed West End success in Show Boat and Sweeney Todd and is currently starring in Bat Out of Hell

1. When did you think about musical theatre as a career and what were your first steps into it? I've always loved singing – it began with classical music, but in my mid-teens I realised my love of storytelling and drama. Musical theatre seemed a natural progression and I started prepping for drama school auditions and learning every discipline I could.

2. Best gig you’ve been to? One of my oldest friends Morgan MacIntyre is one half of home-grown Saint Sister. Watching them live in London for the first time was an incredibly inspiring and emotional experience. They're pretty special.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? I love Jamie Cullum – he'd be a dream to entertain at any party.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island? I have a dressing room playlist of about 150 songs that is varied and wonderful. If I had to pick one album? Maybe Damien Rice – O. Poignant, painful and beautiful.

5. And the book? Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It's a colourful and epic adventure that I can read over and over. So full of life.

6. Top three films? Avengers Assemble – I'm a huge Marvel man. Iron Man is my favourite. Chef – amazing movie with an amazing soundtrack. Whiplash – I'm always inspired by people pushing themselves to extremes.

7. Worst film you’ve seen? Not a bad film necessarily, but I found it difficult to watch Meet The Parents. It made me cringe.

8. Favourite authors? Harlan Coben, JK Rowling and Malcolm Gladwell.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? I don't follow any specific sports but I love training, in anything that challenges me. I am a big fan of CrossFit documentaries and watching people who are the best in their field.

10. Ideal holiday destination? I've always wanted to go see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

11. Pet hate? My pet hate in the performing industry is people who don't celebrate the success of others. There's already enough competition without adding to it.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Anything with potatoes – as long as it's vegan.

Dessert? Cake made by my sister Karen.

Drink? I pretty much only drink water, black coffee and the occasional glass of red wine.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? Fran Zoutewelle. An incredible actor, force of nature and source of sunshine in my life. We met on our first professional theatre job and are definitely each other's biggest fan.

14. Is there a God? Right now, I'm celebrating the gods of rock and roll every night in Bat Out of Hell – and loving every minute.

:: Christina Bennington is currently starring in Jim Steinman's Bat Out of Hell – The Musical in London's Dominion Theatre, playing the leading role of Raven.

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