Belfast Telegraph

Jayne Wisener ponders return to Northern Ireland to have children

By Sophie Inge

A tinseltown actress who was born in Northern Ireland has confessed she is considering moving home to start a family.

Jayne Wisener is about to star as Cinderella at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, and said her version will have a strong Coleraine accent.

Most Hollywood stars might see panto as a sign their career's on the wane, but not Wisener.

Speaking just before the start of the Belfast production, the Sweeney Todd star said: "A lot of musical theatre actors do pantos. It's a great Christmas gig."

And Northern Ireland is the perfect place to do panto, said the actress, who also played Cinderella in a 2012 production. "There is a big culture [in Northern Ireland] for the panto," she told the Sunday Times Culture Magazine. "A lot of the time, it's people's first experience of theatre, especially kids, which means they will want to go back. We need more theatre here."

She sees no reason to change her accent for the role.

"It's going to sound super-Coleraine," she said. "Cinderella is a rags-to-riches tale, so there's no reason I would have to sound posh... not that people in Coleraine aren't posh."

Wisener (29) first made her name as 'Johanna' in Tim Burton's 2007 film Sweeney Todd, alongside Johnny Depp. Since then, she's starred in Channel 4 comedy 'The Inbetweeners' and BBC Northern Ireland drama '6 Degrees' as well as doing the occasional bit of musical theatre.

She says that she feels much more "comfortable" on camera than on stage - but her family aren't always as comfortable with her on-screen roles.

Speaking of her role as a blackmailing murder victim in 2011 mini-series Injustice, she said: "I had a sex scene in that - totally awkward. Granny Wisener didn't enjoy that one."

The actress also gave an insight into her childhood in Coleraine.

"When I was small, I didn't speak to anybody," she said. "I was odd and really shy. When I got on stage, that didn't matter. I didn't have to make up my own lines."

She was spotted by a casting director in a performance of West Side Story in Derry and quit college to play Johanna in Sweeney Todd.

She then spent almost a decade in England, returning to Northern Ireland to film 6 Degrees between 2012 and 2015, and then Nick Nickleby - a modern interpretation of the Dickens classic - in 2012.

And Northern Ireland could be seeing a lot more of her.

The star - who married London banker Wayne Austin in 2012 - admitted that she is considering moving back to Northern Ireland to start a family.

"It's really hard focusing on career, career, career," she said. "You can't live your life saying 'what if' forever. Eventually, you have to start thinking about what you really want. And I really want a family."

Cinderella is at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, until January 15. For more information, visit

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