On My Radar: Siobhán McSweeney’s Cultural Highlights | Siobhan McSweeney

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JIrish actor and presenter Siobhán McSweeney, 42, earned a science degree from University College Cork before moving to London to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She performed at the National Theater and then landed her breakthrough television role as Sister Michael in the hit Channel 4 sitcom. Derry Girls, which returns soon for its third and final series. Later that year she stars in the ITV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel, Holding, directed by Kathy Burke. McSweeney Presents The big pottery jetthe grand finale of which airs tonight at 7:45 p.m. on Channel 4.

1. Theater

London international mime Festival

A real theatrical spectacle… Short & Sweet by Thick & Tight at the Barbican. Photography: Rosie Powell

Every January, all the monsters come to play and it’s wonderful. So much theater is like crap TV, but audiences are smart and want a real theatrical spectacle – this festival provides it. Everyone rolls their eyes, assuming it’s like Marcel Marceau trapped in a glass box, but mime simply means more visual, often non-verbal theater. This time I went to Thick & Tight at the Barbican. I myself have a clownish past: I studied with Philippe Gaulier in his institute, and I loved it. Being yelled at by an old Frenchman for months, what’s not to like?

2. Film

The real Charlie Chaplin (directed by James Spinney, Peter Middleton)

Charlie Chaplin in City Lights.
“Can you separate the art from the artist? ” : Charlie Chaplin. Photo: Allstar

I saw this fantastic documentary at the Curzon last week. I love silent movies and have always been a Chaplin nut, but there’s an uncomfortable part of his life that we don’t want to watch. Can we separate the art from the artist? The film is beautifully balanced, pragmatic and non-judgmental, just laying it all out clearly. It opens with this beautiful quote: “Don’t try to capture the real Chaplin. There are not any. It’s just who he decides to show you at that moment. I loved Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, all those guys. Child Siobhán thought they were hilarious. Teenage Siobhán thought they were sexy.

3. Music

CMAT

CMAT.
“It’s happy country pop with lyrics about Marian Keyes and KFC buckets”: CMAT. Photography: Sarah Doyle

She’s a shamefully young Irish singer-songwriter. I found out she was only 25 the other day. I was absolutely livid, partly because I hate youth but also because it’s so funny. There is real spirit in his words. She is in the country tradition of big hair and long claws: the higher the hair, the closer it is to God. His songs are so bright and wormy – it’s happy country pop with lyrics that bear Marian Keyes’ name and 80-song KFC buckets. There’s a great spirit in women’s music right now, which I love: Self Esteem, Wet Leg, Pillow Queens.

4. Exposure

Pick up at Somerset HouseLondon

Works by Marianne Huotari exhibited at Collect at Somerset House.
“The work and the time spent are visible”: the works of Marianne Huotari exhibited at Collect. Photograph: David Parry/PA

I went to this craft and design fair last weekend. There was some amazing stuff on the Irish Design & Crafts Council stand: resin with primordial red seaweed floating in the shape of an obelisk; tiny grains of porcelain sewn into balls so they look as thin as paper. Thanks to pottery throw Down, I’m beginning to appreciate the true profession of makers. The work and the time spent are visible, unlike a lot of art which is concept driven. I wanted to buy everything and bring it back to my apartment. Or better yet, living at Somerset House and having my tea in a different ceramic every day, while wearing jewelry and blown glass tapestries.

Sentimental waste.

5. Podcast

Sentimental waste
Anne Rice recently passed away and I was a huge fan of hers, but I always felt a bit corny saying it. This podcast got me thinking why. It’s hosted by a writer from Cork called Caroline O’Donoghue, and it’s about things that women feel embarrassed to like because society doesn’t deem them serious enough, nerd enough, or worthy enough. I love Rice’s rococo, the excessiveness of it all: I tend to reread it every winter because it fits by candlelight. Caroline herself wrote a great YA book about witches, All our hidden gifts. Anyway, I’m no longer ashamed of my love for Anne Rice.

6. Designer

Wine + Omi

A model walks the runway during a Vin + Omi show at London Fashion Week.
‘Sustainable, bonkers and beautiful’: Vin + Omi at London fashion week. Photography: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

I discovered this duo via Debbie Harry wearing these capes with “stop fucking the planet” embroidered on the back. They were custom made by Vin + Omi, those two crazy old punks. They are very mischievous and very craic concept artists. All their clothes are sustainable, crazy and beautiful: they develop new eco-friendly textiles, then design from that. I have a few of their pieces now – a tree dress and another printed with water molecules to look like something under a microscope. It is made from recycled Thames water bottles. They also celebrate plus size in a non-condescending way.

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