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Friday People: We ask Roisin Gallagher about the special relationships in her life

By Kerry McKittrick

The 27-year-old actress will play Ruth in Pentecost, a play by the late Stewart Parker, which runs at Belfast's Lyric Theatre from next week. She lives in Belfast with boyfriend Craig Hutchinson

My boyfriend, Craig

I met Craig when we were set up on a blind date. He's from Pennycook, just outside Edinburgh, and almost two years ago I was doing A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Royal Lyceum Theatre over there. My friend invited me out, telling me there were loads of people going out and it turned out to be just me and him. She obviously knows me very well, though, because we got on like a house on fire. It was the week before I moved back home and I thought I would never see him again but six months ago he moved over to Belfast.

Craig works as an electrician and had never been to the theatre before he met me.

My best friends

There are two girls I essentially grew up with, Helen McCarragher and Catherine Mohan (right), and we are called 'the three amigos' by my family. We were introduced to each other in junior band in P4 – I played the tuba, Helen played the French horn and Catherine played trombone.

We went to the same school, lived in the same area and played in the same band until we were in our teens and we've been inseparable ever since. Catherine is a radiographer and now lives in London and Helen is a financial insolvency advisor, and still lives in Belfast. They're actually both pregnant and both are due next month so we have those big events coming up. They are just strong, inspirational women and we've been through everything together. I feel very lucky to have them as my friends.

My parents, Pat and Danny

My mum is a retired nurse and my dad still drives an oil truck – he retires in February so we're looking forward to him having a chance to kick back.

I also have three sisters, Mairead, Catriona, Fionnuala – I'm the fourth – and a little brother, Daniel. He's supposed to be the baby, but he's much taller than me and I still get treated as the baby.

We all live no more than a five-minute walk away from my mum and dad and there are six nephews and one niece now, all under the age of seven. For us, family is the centre of everything and always will be. My parents have always been massively supportive of my career. Of course, we discussed the competition to get into a well-established drama school, but I worked hard and made it into the Royal Scottish Conservatory. When I was accepted they really appreciated how much it meant to me and how important their support was, and still is.

Who I go to for advice

That's mum, who is so worldly-wise and knows me better than I know myself. She's a non-judgmental influence and gives me the right advice at the right time.

My mentor

A good friend of mine, Susan Crothers, who I met at a show at the Lyric about six years ago. She's a writer, performer and director, and now lives in London. She's incredibly intelligent and awfully good at building up my confidence. If I'm about to go to an audition, she'll always say something that puts me in the right frame of mind. She's also hilarious and very talented.

My secret crush

I don't even have to think about that one, although I wouldn't go for the Hugh Jackman from Wolverine but the Hugh Jackman from Oklahoma! Someone who can sing like that deserves to be a crush.

My fantasy dinner party

I would invite Audrey Hepburn, who's a bit of a icon for me. I think she was the personification of beauty and grace, and I always admired her humanitarian work. She was such a graceful actress so I love watching her.

Next, I'd ask Johnny Cash – and his guitar. I grew up listening to old country greats with my dad and I love his music and the story of his life.

Then I'd ask Belfast playwright Marie Jones to pop along. I've worked with her a couple of times and think she's hilariously funny.

Last but not least, I'd invite Stewart Parker. Doing Pentecost has meant that I've been learning about him and met Lynne Parker, his niece. He seemed like a charismatic, clever man and I would love to have had the chance to meet him before he died in 1988. Of course, I want to pick his brains about my character, too.

Pentecost runs at the Lyric Theatre from Wednesday, September 24 to October 18. For details, visit the website www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

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