Fiona Shaw

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Fiona Shaw, Honorary CBE (born 10 July 1958) is an Irish actress and theatre director. Although to international audiences she is probably most familiar for her minor role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films, she is an accomplished classical actress.[1][2] Shaw was awarded an honorary CBE in 2001.[3]


[edit] Early life

Shaw was born as Fiona Mary Wilson in County Cork, Ireland to a mixed-religious couple, and was raised Roman Catholic.[4][5] Her father was an eye surgeon[6] and her mother was a physicist.[7]

She attended secondary school at Scoil Mhuire in Cork City. She received her degree in University College Cork. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London and was part of 'new wave’ of actors to emerge from the Academy. She received much acclaim as Julia in the National Theatre production of Richard Sheridan's The Rivals (1983), a role which demonstrated her gift for comedy. Despite her natural comic abilities, Shaw has opted more often than not for roles showcasing her extreme but unaffected emotional intensity. These performances have earned her numerous stage awards.[citation needed]

[edit] Career

Her notable theatrical roles include Young Woman in Machinal, Celia in As You Like It (1984), Madame de Volanges in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1985), Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew (1987), Winnie in Happy Days (2007), and the title roles in Electra (1988), The Good Person of Sechuan (1989), Hedda Gabler (1991), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1998) and Medea (2000). She performed T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land as a one-person show at the Liberty Theatre in New York to great acclaim in 1996, winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show for her performance.[8]

Shaw played the lead in Richard II, directed by Deborah Warner in 1995. Shaw has collaborated with Warner on a number of occasions, on both stage and screen. Shaw has also worked in film and television, including My Left Foot, Jane Eyre, Persuasion, Gormenghast, and a number of the Harry Potter films in which she played the insufferable Aunt Petunia. Shaw had a brief but key role in Brian DePalma's The Black Dahlia.

In 2008, she directed her first opera, Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams at the ENO.[citation needed]

In 2009, Shaw collaborated with Deborah Warner again, taking the lead role in Tony Kushner's translation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. In a 2002 article for The Daily Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen described their professional relationship as "surely one of the most richly creative partnerships in theatrical history."[9] Other collaborations between the two women include productions of Brecht's The Good Woman of Szechuan and Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, the latter was adapted for television.[citation needed]

Shaw appeared in The Waste Land at Wilton's Music Hall in January 2010 and in a National Theatre revival of London Assurance in March 2010.[10] In November 2010, Shaw starred in Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin alongside Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan.[11]

Shaw is set to become a regular cast member of the TV Show True Blood. Shaw’s character, Marnie, has been described as an underachieving palm reader who is spiritually possessed by an actual witch.[12]

[edit] Personal life

Shaw has been romantically linked in the press with actress Saffron Burrows.[13][14][15] Neither actress has publicly commented on the relationship. The two appeared together in the National Theatre's production of The PowerBook,[16] a play based on the novel of the same name by Jeanette Winterson in which they played lovers. In an interview with the New Statesman published on 24 September 2009, Shaw stated that she lives in Primrose Hill where she "has lived ... on and off for a long time".[17] In a December 2009 interview, Shaw described herself as "very happily" single.[18]

[edit] Credits

[edit] Other projects, contributions

[edit] References

  1. Fiona Shaw
  2. Edgware Times.
  3. Honorary CBE notice for Shaw
  4. DIDASKALIA: Ancient Theater Today
  5. Burnet, Andrew (27 July 2003). "A Shaw Thing; Hot from playing Medea on Broadway, Fiona Shaw has just". The Sunday Herald. 
  6. Fiona Shaw Biography
  7. "PROFILE: FIONA SHAW: An actor who is determined to keep shouting". [dead link]
  8. Ben Brantly, Memory and Desire: Hearing Eliot's Passion, New York Times November 18, 1996
  9. Rupert Christiansen "Fiona Shaw's double life", Daily Telegraph, 10 May 2002
  10. Taylor, Paul (18 December 2009). "Mother courage: How Fiona Shaw became the leading actress of her generation". The Independent (London). Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  12. Vozick-Levinson, Simon (8 November 2010). "Fiona Shaw joins 'True Blood' cast". Entertainment Weekly. 
  13. "Mad About Saffron", Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May 2004
  14. "Saffron Burrows Embraces Lesbian Relationships On-screen and Off",, October 2003
  15. "A hint of Saffron", The Observer, May 5 2002
  16. "The PowerBook" at the National Theatre
  17. Sophie Elmhirst "The NS Interview: Fiona Shaw", New Statesman, 24 September 2009
  18. "Fiona Shaw: ‘I have enormous sadness in me’", The Times, 10 December 2009

[edit] External links