Q&A: It would be marvellous if Elaine Paige played White Ribbon says Jolene O'Hara

Jolene O'Hara is a singer and actor known for her Christmas performances at the MAC in Belfast and appearances in shows with Northern Ireland Opera

Jolene O’Hara performs on the White Ribbon Anthem, released with Northern Ireland Opera and the Ulster Orchestra to raise awareness of domestic abuse
Jane Hardy

How do you unwind at the weekend?

As a performer, my weekend is different to other people’s and consists of Monday and Tuesday. To relax, I love spending time with my tuxedo cat who’s now 16 years old and who appears in so many photos I’ve taken on Instagram. She now has a thyroid issue and is always hollering. I also love a wee glass of red wine.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

I grew up in Belfast, in Finaghy. We used to attempt to play rounders in our back garden and every hit was a home run as it wasn’t that big. Our poor neighbours! The kids from round about would join us. My sister Philippa and I would also put on wee shows for my parents, Phyllis and Terry. Gypsy was a favourite with me in the Bette Midler role. I also played Baby Jane as I was tiny and could do the flips. In terms of costumes, we raided my mother’s great wardrobe. I remember wearing my aunty’s bright pink bridesmaid’s dress, so gross it worked. My newest project is recording some Irish folk music with my sister and we’ll probably call it The O’Haras, as that’s what we became known as.

Friday night or Saturday night?

I’m a Friday night person; I love that feeling that you have the whole weekend ahead of you. In terms of pubs, when I was working at the Lyric, we’d all go to The John Hewitt.

Do you have a must-listen weekend radio show?

It’s a podcast for me. My favourite is Stuff you Should Know which is hilarious. Elaine Paige’s radio show is great too and it would be marvellous if she could play White Ribbon some time.

Must-watch weekend TV show/box set?

I’m a big Netflix fan and on TV, we love Richard Osman’s House of Games quiz show, especially the 'Answer Smash'.

Favourite eatery – or is it a takeaway?

Anybody who knows me knows my favourite food is Nando’s. I also like Kanto on Belmont Road in east Belfast.

Is Sunday still special?

Yes, because of the Sunday roast.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

The only time I feel apprehensive is when I’m in a theatrical run and going in at 10am a Monday. But I get so excited. The only downside is that being in a show can be physically exhausting.

Jolene sings the White Ribbon Anthem, released to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Download or listen to the single via the Women’s Aid ABCLN website, and here.

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