The following is an article from the Mayo Advertiser by Kernan Andrews.
While she is best known as a television and film actress, particularly for her role in the iconic noughties’ TV series The OC, Mischa Barton finds the most challenging and rewarding parts to play are in the theatre.
Mischa Barton will be in Castlebar next week where she will star in Solar Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias which will take to the stage in the Royal Theatre. In many ways, this production, which has been running since September, is a return to her roots, as her career began in theatre, off-Broadway, in the mid-1990s.
With Steel Magnolias about to begin its Mayo run, how did Mischa become involved in the production? “It was a bit last minute really,” Mischa tells me during our Monday afternoon conversation, “but the fact Ben Barnes was directing it swayed me as he is a great director, and the cast is terrific.”
While Mischa is the most high profile cast member, her co-stars will be familiar faces from TV – Anne Charleston (Ouiser Boudreaux in the play) was Madge in Neighbours and more recently Lily Butterfield in Emmerdale; Barbara Brennan, (M’Lynn) has appeared in The Tudors and Veronica Guerin; and Gillian Hanna whose credits include Casualty, Drop The Dead Donkey, Poirot, Brookside, and Mr Nice.
“It was luck that everybody happened to be available as after this we’re all working on other things,” says Mischa, “and we might not get another chance to do this.”
Working with an all-female cast, Mischa admits, is an unusual situation to find herself in. “There are usually some men there to break it up,” she says. “Ben I think was terrified directing an all-female cast. I would have thought they would have had a woman direct it. So it was very brave of him as it’s a lot for a man to take on.”
The following is an article from the Belfast Telegraph by Maureen Coleman.
Hollywood star Mischa Barton talks about her Ulster heritage, why she loves the stage and how she’s never been happier.
Mischa Barton is one difficult lady to pin down. Hollywood’s golden girl, who arrived in Dublin for her Irish stage debut several weeks ago, has managed to give me the slip since then. First she was in rehearsals for her role of Shelby Eatenton in Robert Harling’s bitter-sweet play Steel Magnolias, then came almost two weeks of shows at the Gaiety Theatre.
Just as I’ve given up on the elusive star of The Sixth Sense and The OC, she calls me up, late one evening. She’s just arrived in Cork, where the play is running until tonight, and is exhausted, hungry but eager to chat. The fact that her mother Nuala hails from Northern Ireland has contributed to her agreeing to this interview. It also helped that the last time Mischa was here, the Belfast Telegraph splashed her across the front page, when she rocked up at the premiere of Closing The Ring, dressed head to toe in Northern Irish fashion.
“You’ve interviewed me before, right?” she asks me immediately. I tell her I have, back in 2007. She was in Belfast to promote Richard Attenborough’s wartime romance, Closing The Ring, in which she co-starred alongside legendary actress Shirley MacLaine.
“And I was on the front page of the Belfast Telegraph too,” she laughs. “My family would have been so proud of that.”
Hollywood starlet Mischa Barton speaks of strong women and Irish roots ahead of Millennium Forum performance
HOLLYWOOD starlet Mischa Barton will be in town next week when she stars in a production of Steel Magnolias at the Millennium Forum.
The star of Hollywood blockbuster The Sixth Sense and US show The OC, Michsa will be joined by actress Anne Charleston – who played Madge Bishop in the Austraiian soap Neighbours for decades – in the hit play when it tours Ireland.
Directed by Ben Barnes, Steel Magnolias tells the heart-warming story we came to love on film. An enduring tale of love, loss and friendship, we follow the lives of six Southern women who come together in Truvy’s exclusive Beauty Parlour. Packed with 1980s nostalgia and memorable one-liners, Steel Magnolias is the funniest play ever to make you cry.
Ahead of her appearance Mischa, whose grandfather was a professor at Queens University in Belfast, told Newswire she could not wait to see the sights of the northwest and looking up any Derry connections she might have.
How are you finding stage acting as opposed to screen? Which do you prefer?
Theatre is a refreshing change. It is a great muscle to exercise that keeps you feeling sharp and alive.
Stage work can be gruelling, how do you cope with the stresses. How do you relax?
I go to the gym – a lot! I read – I’m currently reading The Dubliners by James Joyce and I just finished Inzanesville by Jo Anne Beard. Music – people don’t know it but I play three instruments.
What drew you to the character of Shelby in Steel Magnolias? Are you anything like her?
She is one of my favourite female leads of all time. She makes you laugh, she makes you cry and she genuinely likes pink. Need I say more?! She has a beautiful heart though and having been sick her whole life has a genuine understanding of how lucky she is and just wants to help and care for other people. I’m a sensitive person, so I can relate to that.
Do you believe women can be as delicate as flowers and as tough as steel?
Of course I do! And it’s true, isn’t it?
Your Mum was Irish, do you feel at home here?
Home for me is London and LA but I certainly feel at home here
And your Grandfather taught in Queens University, have you spent any time in the north of Ireland?
Not since I arrived to do Steel Magnolias – we have been so busy with rehearsals and getting into production. I’m really looking forward to visiting the North.
Have you been to Derry before? Any family connections here?
No, not that I’m aware of – but this is Ireland, so you never know!
You looking forward to seeing the sights around Derry and Donegal? Where will you go?
I’m not sure yet, it depends on how busy I am with the show, but the Donegal beaches are beautiful.
Steel Magnolias runs at the Millennium Forum from Monday 1 October to Wednesday 3 October. For further information and ticket booking please click onto….
Candids of Mischa out and about on Grafton Street in Dublin have been added.
See below if you missed the reasoning for the engagement ring.
WHATEVER happened to Mischa Barton? If you can recall, Hollywood’s golden girl was persecuted by the tabloid press for having — shock horror — cellulite a few years ago, and then we didn’t hear hilt nor hair of her again.
Until now. Barton is in Dublin until September 22, where she is playing the role of Shelby Eatenton in Robert Harling’s heartwarming play, Steel Magnolias at the Gaiety Theatre.
Set in Truvy’s hair and beauty salon in the small town of Chinquapin, Louisiana, it follows the friendship of six local women of varying ages through life’s peaks and troughs. It is a meditation on sisterhood and motherhood. It is laugh-out-loud funny and lump-in-your-throat sad.
Most will know the play from its 1989 cinematic retelling. Julia Roberts played Shelby, while a powerhouse of female talent including the sensational Shirley Maclaine, Dolly Parton, Sally Field and Daryl Hannah starred alongside her.
The title beautifully describes the complexities of women; how they can be as delicate as flowers yet iron strong.
Those who come to see the theatrical version will know the play as a film, rather than the other way around. Expectations will be high, and I don’t think it will disappoint.
Barton sparkles from the moment she steps on stage. We first meet her character on the day of her wedding, and we learn that she is unquestionably kind and relentlessly upbeat — even in the face of illness.
It is so easy to dislike saccharine sweet characters for their lack of edge, but Barton’s Shelby is instantly magnetic.
Another well-known face is Anne Charleston, better known as Madge in Neighbours. She plays the curmudgeonly Ouiser (Maclaine’s role in the film), and she takes to the task with aplomb.
Karen Ardiff (Truvy), Barbara Brennan (M’Lynn), Gillian Hanna (Miss Clairee) and Natalie Radmall-Quirke (Annelle) are equally captivating. Some of the Louisiana drawls occasionally slip when they drag their vowels all the way to Mississippi, but for the most part they give accomplished performances, never missing their beats.
For all the big hair, bright outfits and constant gossip, one forgets how difficult it is to produce an ensemble piece with just one set (the beauty salon). This cast make it look easy.
Mischa’s made several television appearances in England and Ireland which I’ve already posted about on Twitter, but in case anyone missed it, here are Mischa’s two August appearances – Beat TV and Saturday Night with Miriam. The appearances are mainly in support of Mischa’s upcoming stage production of Steel Magnolias in Ireland.
INTERVIEW: Hollywood star Mischa Barton and Anne Charleston, Madge from ‘Neighbours’, talk to BERNICE HARRISON about starring in a new Irish production of ‘Steel Magnolias’
I’M SO RECOGNISABLE,” says Mischa Barton in a straightforward, this-is-how-it-is, way and she’s right, she is. For four years she starred in The OC, the US-made nougties mega hit TV series that became a global teen phenomenon. There’s also something instantly familiar about people who have appeared in long-running TV series, even if you can’t recall ever seeing a single episode. It’s all the extra stuff – the interviews, the photo-shoots, the product endorsements and the paparazzi shots – the everywhereness of celebrity culture.
The OC ended in 2007 and she’s worked steadily in film since and although she hasn’t done any work that matches that early mega success, Barton has maintained a high profile. Not that the elderly men playing bowls on Tuesday evening in Leinster Cricket Grounds in Rathmines seem bothered and there’s no paparazzi lurking in the bushes waiting to snap the 26-year-old as we sit in the evening sunshine outside their clubhouse. The bowls club is where director Ben Barnes is rehearsing a new Irish production of Steel Magnolias. Mischa Barton is the star, and – the producers, Solar Theatre, hope – the big name that’ll draw the crowds when the production opens in Dublin in September and then tours around the country.
“It’s nice to have a break from it [the paparazzi]. It’s largely the reason to do a play here. There’s less of the fuss and ridiculousness here.” She’s been a regular visitor to Ireland since she was a small child – her mother, Nuala Quinn from Roscommon, brought the family home to the farm on summer holidays and she recently took a road trip around Kerry and Cork. Tuesday was the second day of what will be a three-week rehearsal period and she’s very much in work mode: black skinny jeans, oversized black combat jacket, battered looking pumps, make-up free, tousled hair – the only concession to fashion is her eye-catching gold trimmed black handbag. It’s from her own range, for sale in the Mischa Barton Boutique, the London shop she opened two weeks ago to stock her bags and her new clothing and cosmetic range.
Read the full article: Irish Times
Melbourne Cup organisers have lured their first celebrity to the November racing extravaganza, with Mischa Barton set to attend the Dublin-themed Emirates Marquee.
Barton is currently combining highly successful careers in both fashion and entertainment. Next month, she returns to the stage in an Irish production of Steel Magnolias with Australian actress Anne Charleston.
Born to an Irish mother and with a grandfather who was Gaelic language professor at the University of Belfast, organisers hope Ms Barton will be a glamorous addition to the exclusive Irish-themed Emirates Marquee on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day.
It has been inspired by the famous landmarks of Ireland’s capital and Trinity College. Ms Barton will then join the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) chairman Michael Burn to watch the race in the Chairman’s Suite.
“I am so looking forward to being a guest of Emirates and the Victoria Racing Club at the Emirates Melbourne Cup,” said Ms Barton.
“I am excited to visit Flemington racecourse and witness what I understand is an extraordinary fashion spectacle.
“Being of Irish descent, I’m sure I will feel right at home in the Emirates Marquee and I can’t wait to be involved in this world-famous event.”
Mr Burn said the VRC was looking forward to welcoming the international beauty to Flemington for Emirates Melbourne Cup Day. “Ms Barton’s presence emphasises the international appeal of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“We have no doubt her time at Flemington will be one that she fondly remembers,” he said.
Boutros Boutros, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communication, Emirates Airline, said: “We are delighted to host Mischa Barton on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, as we celebrate Dublin, which earlier this year joined Emirates’ ever expanding global network.”
Joining Barton on her trip to Australia will be her boyfriend, London-based actor Sebastian Knapp. The pair will reportedly spend time at Emirates luxurious Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, located in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.