Main content

Sinead Cusack

Sue Lawley's castaway is actress Sinead Cusack.

Sinead Cusack was born in Ireland into a acting dynasty. Her first ambition, whilst at convent school, was to be a saint. But her behaviour didn't match her early aspiration: as a teenager she was nearly expelled from school for dramatising the Profumo affair for the headmistress's feast day. Her first professional part was at the age of eleven when her father, the actor Cyril Cusack, cast her in an adaptation of Kafka's The Trial at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. She played a deaf mute - she says perhaps he did it to keep her quiet, because he wasn't keen for her to pursue acting and said she would never be a classical actress.

Sinead's first roles were at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, whilst she was still at university. She came to London, where she took over from a pregnant Judi Dench in London Assurance in 1975. She joined the Royal Shakespeare Company which, she says, taught her all she knows. For Our Lady of Sligo (1998), in which Sinead played the lead role of Mai O Hara and showed in Ireland, on Broadway and at the National, she received the 1998 Evening Standard Award for Best Actress and 1998 Critics Drama Award for Best Actress. She was also nominated for Best Actress/Drama Desk Award and for Best Actress for Olivier Award.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Pie Jesu from Faure's Requiem by Gabriel Fauré
Book: Collected plays by Anton Chekhov
Luxury: A big hat with a lot of muslin

Available now

45 minutes

Music Played

  • Billie Holiday

    Fine and Mellow

    • The Legacy 1933-1958.
    • Columbia.
  • Sinéad O’Connor

    Oro Se Do Bheatha Bhaile

    • Sean Nos Nua.
    • Random.
  • Claude Debussy

    Syrinx

    • Chamber Music for Woodwind.
    • Cala.
  • César Franck

    Cello Sonata in A major - 3rd movement

    • Franck/Debussy.
    • EMI.
  • The Rolling Stones

    You Can't Always Get What You Want

  • The Bryan Ferry Orchestra

    Miss Otis Regrets

    • As Time Goes By.
    • Virgin.
  • Portishead

    Glory Box

    • Unwind - Various Artists.
    • Universal Music.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Gabriel Fauré

      Pie Jesu (from Requiem)

      • Faure's Requiem.
      • EMI.
  • Book Choice

    • Collected plays - Anton Chekhov

  • Luxury Choice

    • A big hat with a lot of muslin

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Sinead Cusack

Broadcasts

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Articles

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?

Podcast