Arts Q&A: Actress Libby Smyth on Sam McCreedy, Sylvester Stallone and Audrey Hepburn

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

Belfast actress Libby Smyth, a lover of Audrey Hepburn and Second World War-era big band music
Belfast actress Libby Smyth, a lover of Audrey Hepburn and Second World War-era big band music Belfast actress Libby Smyth, a lover of Audrey Hepburn and Second World War-era big band music

1. When did you think about a career in theatre and what were your first steps into it?When I was at school I loved to act and was the first pupil to win the Drama Cup at Bloomfield Collegiate. Then when I was at Trinity College Dublin I started to become serious about acting. I did many productions there after which I worked for a short time with RTÉ. The late great titan of Irish Theatre, Sam McCready, gave me my first role in Belfast at the Lyric.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to? Van Morrison in Belfast, Bruce Springsteen in Dublin and, recently, Jack Savoretti in Belfast.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? The Glenn Millar Band. I love that big band sound and the style of that era. I once did a show in the Arts Theatre in Belfast called Happy As A Sandbag, which was a musical set in the Second World War and that really sparked my love for big band music.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island? In My Life by the Beatles, because it would remind me of people and places that I love. It was also played at my wedding.

5. And the book? Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. I loved the series and I am told the books are even better. They would definitely keep me engrossed for a long time.

6. Top three films? Breakfast at Tiffany's, because I love Audrey Hepburn; The Shawshank Redemption – a wonderful film which teaches about survival; and Tea with Mussolini, because it highlights the resilience of the older woman.

7. Worst film you’ve seen? Not keen on films with Sylvester Stallone.

8. Favourite authors? Sebastian Faulks, Ken Follett and George Elliot. I just loved the sheer escapism of Middlemarch.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? I'm not a huge sports fan, but I have to support my husband and sons' favourite football team, Manchester United. I also love watching dancing and ice skating.

10. Ideal holiday destination? Anywhere in Italy – Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Venice and Piedmont.

11. Pet hate? Rudeness.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Seafood – prawns, clams, scallops – love it all.

Dessert? Anything with chocolate, and a gooey centre.

Drink? A cosmopolitan.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? I have three really close friends… one I have known since I was three, the other two for about 35 years and I met them through work. Apart from family, they are my rocks.

14. Is there a God? Well, I don't think there is a God who sits on high with a beard, but there is a spirit of goodness which is always present – if you just look for her.

:: Libby Smyth returns as Ruby Murray in Ruby!, a fact-based one-woman performance which celebrates the singer’s life, music and triumphs as well as exploring the darker side of her story. Ruby! runs at Belfast's Lyric Theatre from February 11 to 16 (Lyrictheatre.co.uk), before touring. For tour details visit Little Willow Productions on Facebook or Twitter.