Alumni Spotlight

Siobhán McSweeney, Actress - Derry Girls

28 Mar 2019
Siobhán McSweeney, BSc 2001. Photo: Helen Murray

As season two of Channel 4’s Derry Girls draws to a close, we catch up with UCC alum, Siobhán McSweeney, who plays the scene-stealing Sr. Michael in the series. Based in London, her acting journey has taken her from the Granary theatre to the Royal Shakespeare Company and TV productions such as The Fall, Collateral and No Offence. We chat to Siobhán about her time in the Dramat, pints in the Old Bar and finding her tribe!

The thespian lifestyle is not one you would automatically associate with a science graduate; however, Siobhán McSweeney knew she had to look outside her discipline in order to avail of the opportunities that awaited her in UCC. As she reminds students;

“UCC has several gateways and doors. Open as many as you can. Try on different personas. This is the time to do it”. 

For Siobhán, trying on different personas involved diving headlong into the world of student drama and UCC’s Granary Theatre.

“I lived in the Granary Theatre and Dramat. If ever my parents were wondering where I was, they would usually assume I was there”.

Her time in college coincided with a ‘golden age’ for theatre in UCC and indeed, many of her contemporaries from that time are still working in the sector. Siobhán and her friends relished the autonomy afforded to them by the Granary Theatre, where they would “run riot”.

“We weren't fooling around. We partied in a serious manner. For days. We poured all of our free time into putting on shows, writing, learning how to act, how to design. It was a determined troupe of merry vagabonds. 

She acknowledges the profound influence of the friends she met at that time, and the impact of UCC on her career is unequivocal.

“The people I met have ended up being some of the most important people in my life. They have become my employers, my collaborators, my colleagues, and my inspiration”.

It is evident that Siobhán threw herself into student life with gusto, remembering that time as a whirlwind of “pints in the Old Bar, hungover in the New Bar, running to the Granary, waving merrily at friends while arriving late at the wrong lecture, falling in love several times before breakfast, the pride in the Aula Maxima, the old specimen zoology cabinets in the Maltings, the feeling of finally meeting my tribe”.

No doubt the sardonic Sr. Michael would approve!

 

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