Arts Q&A: Geraldine Hughes on Bruce Springsteen, Jez Butterworth and John Boyne

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Belfast actress and playwright Geraldine Hughes

Belfast playwright and actress Geraldine Hughes
Belfast playwright and actress Geraldine Hughes

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

I was acting since I was very little apparently. I was Mary in the Nativity play at St Joseph’s Primary school on Slate Street and perhaps that was when I was bitten by the acting bug. Of course, things sped up in that regard when I was cast in an NBC film Children In The Crossfire when I was 12.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

I have just finished a year run of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, which was a unique and special experience for me. I love the theatre, Jerusalem, written by Jez Butterworth and starring Mark Rylance, is perhaps my most favourite play that I have ever done, apart from my own play Belfast Blues.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Elton John. Done.

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

Bruce Sprinsgteen's Dancing in The Dark, because it was what I listened to over and over again as a young teenager. He is a storyteller and I could learn the lyrics really well. He’s the boss.

5. And the book you’d take to a desert island?

My most recent reading has been work by John Boyne and Liz Nugent (thanks to my dear friend Aine who reads like a fiend and sends me recommendations) I would like both authors to accompany me to the desert island. Skin Deep and The Heart's Invisible Furies are my latest favourites.

6. Top three films?

I cannot choose three, that is impossible. The Godfather, without a doubt is fantastic. A Member Of The Wedding, with Julie Harris is another classic. The third of a long list, would be Now Voyager, because you know... Bette Davis.

7. Worst film you’ve seen?

I am not going to name any but usually the third or fourth sequels to a classic film (that worked) are awful.

8. Favourite authors?

Liz Nugent and John Boyne at present.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I literally have no knowledge of sports, perhaps I should start following a team. Open to recommendations.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Beside a beach in the winter, with a good book and a roaring fire.

11. Pet hate?

When people rush at a public bathroom door and try to open it, without checking to see if it is occupied. Knock first!

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? A great pasta (which now has to be gluten-free) with a carbonara sauce, and/or a whole grilled fish with a side of sauteed spinach!

Dessert? Crème Brûlée

Drink? A glass of cold white wine.

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

I am blessed to have a few best friends. But the go-to call would be to Aine. She is the wisest person and is always loving and supportive. She is an incredible guide for me in this life and I wish we spent more time together. We met when we were both trying to carve out a life in the States and now she is back in Ireland with her beautiful family.

14. Is there a God?

I do not believe in a God. I do believe in the power of love and kindness and treating everyone as an equal. There is still great hope for the human race, despite the awful leaders in our countries at present. This is a time for humanity and love is love is love.

:: Geraldine Hughes will star in her one-woman show Belfast Blues at Belfast's Lyric Theatre from August 6 to 11 during Féile an Phobail. For tickets visit Lyrictheatre.co.uk. For full festival details visit Feilebelfast.com.