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My People: we have a chat with actress Maria Connolly

We ask personalities about the special relationships in their lives

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 04/09/2015

Close family: Maria Connolly loves being a mum
Close family: Maria Connolly loves being a mum

The 42-year-old actress, who will be appearing in the Lyric Theatre’s new production of Two Sore Legs, lives in Carrickfergus with her partner Jeff Peters and their children Logan (10) and Ryan (7).

My partner Jeff

I met Jeff at The Fly in Belfast when I was 29, and I can remember Romeo by Basement Jaxx was playing. I thought then, and still do, that Jeff was the kindest and most generous man I've ever met.

We haven't got round to getting married, yet - it's such a waste of money, but I think we might go and do it Belfast City Hall in secret someday.

Jeff worked in retail for years, but has since started a new venture. It's a coffee van franchise called Cafe 2 U - he brings his van to offices around Belfast to serve workers gourmet coffee.

My children, Logan and Ryan

I always wanted to be a mum and I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm very blessed to have two wonderful sons, but trying to organise them is a different story. We're very lucky that we have a wonderful family to support us.

Sally Graves was my voice teacher at drama school. She gave me a poem called The Deaf Mute by Christy Brown - once I had finished reciting it, the whole class came over to hug me. Sally was the first person to make me realise I could get inside a writer's words and convey them to an audience.

My parents, Carmel and Alex

My dad worked in the building trade, but he was also an opera singer and still sings with Castleward Opera and Opera Northern Ireland.

My mum also had a great interest in drama, although she's working as a care assistant - we're trying to convince her to retire. I also have an older brother, Kevin. We thought he was the one who would go on to be an actor, but he now works for the Inland Revenue.

We've always been a very close family and my parents have always been supportive of my choices.

My best friend, Lorraine

I have lots of friends from Belfast and Dublin, as I’ve lived in both cities.

Lorraine is my oldest friend — we went to Little Flower School in Belfast together.

She was interested in art and I liked singing and acting. We didn’t learn much other than how to be best friends.

We’re still really close, but don’t get to see each other as much as I would like — she now works as a Macmillan nurse.

Person I go to for advice

I always run everything past Jeff and my parents. We’re a tight-knit unit and they do a lot to help with the kids.

My mentor

Sally Graves was my voice teacher at drama school. She gave me a poem called The Deaf Mute by Christy Brown — once I had finished reciting it, the whole class came over to hug me. Sally was the first person to make me realise I could get inside a writer’s words and convey them to an audience.

My celebrity crush

It would be Ricky Gervais, not just because he’s a genius, but because of his many campaigns against cruelty to animals.

Fantasy dinner party

I’d invite Michael Morpurgo, who is the writer of War Horse — a fabulous book. I adore his writing.

Then, I’d ask one of the greatest operatic composers in the world, Verdi.

Next, I would ask Thom Yorke from Radiohead, who I used to listen to all the time.

Finally, I’d ask Antonio Carluccio, the Italian chef. There’s something about him when you watch him on TV.

His book is well worth a read to see what he went through.

  • Maria will be appearing in Two Sore Legs which will be on stage at the Lyric Theatre from September 26–October 6. For tickets and information go to www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph

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