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Niamh Cusack
Born (1959-10-20) 20 October 1959 (age 64)
Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland
Years active1984 – present
SpouseFinbar Lynch
ParentsCyril Cusack, Maureen Cusack
RelativesSinéad Cusack (sister)

Sorcha Cusack (sister)
Pádraig Cusack (brother)

Catherine Cusack (half-sister)
Jeremy Irons (brother-in-law)
Max Irons (nephew)
Richard Boyd Barrett (nephew)

Niamh Cusack (English pronunciation: NEEV; born 20 October 1959 in Dublin, Ireland) is an Irish actress. Born to a family with deep roots in the performing arts, Cusack has been involved in acting since a young age. She has served with the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed in a long line of major stage productions since the mid-1980s. She has made numerous appearances on television including a long-running role as Dr. Kate Rowan in the UK series Heartbeat (1992–1995). She has often worked as a voice actress on radio, and her film credits include a starring role in In Love with Alma Cogan (2011).

Early life[]

The daughter of the Irish actor Cyril Cusack, she is the sister of Sinéad Cusack and Sorcha Cusack, and half sister of Catherine Cusack. She has two brothers, Paul Cusack, a television producer, and Pádraig Cusack, Producer for the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain. Cusack's husband is the actor Finbar Lynch; they have a son, Calam.[1]

Niamh Cusack originally trained as a professional flautist, winning a scholarship to train at the Royal Academy of Music working as a freelance musician with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra before winning a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to train as an actress. Cusack left the school after one year without completing the course because she was offered her first professional acting job at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, playing the juvenile lead in their summer play.

Acting career[]

Cusack was then offered the role of Irina in Kasparov Wrede's production of Three Sisters at Royal Exchange, Manchester, before playing Desdemona in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Othello opposite Ben Kingsley and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet opposite Sean Bean.

Cusack came to the wider public's attention when she starred as Dr. Kate Rowan in the popular television drama series Heartbeat (1992–1995). Cusack was nominated in the category of Best Actress in a TV Drama in 2004 at the Irish Television and Film awards IFTA for her role in the Cartlon Television TV film Too Good to be True. Niamh was nominated for a Award in 2012 in the Best Supporting Actress in a Play category for her role in Playboy of the Western World at the Old Vic. In January 2013, she was nominated for a BBC Audio Drama Award in the Best Supporting Actress category for The Man with Wings by Rachel Joyce, produced by Gordon House, Goldhawk Essential Productions for Radio 4.

Cusack played Molly Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses for BBC Radio 4 which aired a new 9-part adaptation dramatised by Robin Brooks, produced and directed by Jeremy Mortimer. The series began on Bloomsday (16 June) 2012.[2]

In 1989 Cusack took the part of an actress, Valerie Saintclair, in the ninth episode of the first series of Agatha Christie's Poirot entitled The King of Clubs.

Other television acting credits also include Always and Everyone (1999–2002), a British accident and emergency medical series; the miniseries State of Mind; and the small but important role of Beatrix Potter in the TV series The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (1992–1995). She played Wodehouse's Bobbie Wickham in the ITV series Jeeves and Wooster (1990–1993). She played a character in an Agatha Christie's Marple series ("4:50 from Paddington", 2004), and has starred in episodes of Midsomer Murders (2008) and A Touch of Frost (2009) and the film The Closer You Get (2000), alongside Sean McGinle, for which she was nominated for an IFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Film.

Cusack starred opposite Sean Bean in the 1986 RSC production of Romeo and Juliet.[3] Throughout the 1990s Cusack worked regularly on the London stage in a series of leading roles including Nora Clitheroe in Sam Mendes's acclaimed production of The Plough and the Stars (Young Vic) opposite Judi Dench, Rosalind in As You Like It (Barbican), Flora in Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink (Aldwych) and The Maids (Donmar Warehouse). In 2004, Cusack joined the Royal National Theatre in Nicholas Hynter's epic production of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials as Serafina Pekkala alongside Anna Maxwell Martin, Ben Wishaw and Patricia Hodge. In 2007, Cusack returned to Royal National Theatre appearing in Victoria Benedictsson's The Enchantment, [4][5] and played Alison Ellis in Crestfall by Mark O'Rowe at Theatre503.[6] In 2009, she played Maggie in the first major revival in London of Brian Friel's multi award-winning Dancing at Lughnasa alongside her husband Finbar Lynch at the Old Vic Theatre. In 2010, she played Catherine Dickens in Andersen's English, a play by Sebastian Barry.[7] In 2011 she appeared in The Painter by Rebecca Lenkiewicz,[8] opposite Toby Jones and followed it with the role of Edith Davenport in Cause Célèbre by Terence Rattigan and The Widow Quin in The Playboy of the Western World by JM Synge, both at the Old Vic Theatre.[9]

In August 2012 Niamh Cusack rejoined the Royal National Theatre to play the role of Siobhan in the stage adaptation of Mark Haddon's book The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott. The show premièred on 2 August 2012. It also starred Luke Treadaway as Christopher, Nicola Walker as his mother Judy, Paul Ritter as his father Ed and Una Stubbs as Mrs. Alexander.

The production, which ran until late October 2012, was broadcast live to cinemas worldwide on 6 September 2012 through the National Theatre Live programme. The nominations for the 2013 Olivier Awards, which recognise excellence in professional productions staged in London, were announced on 26 March 2013; The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time secured the most nominations with eight, including Best New Play, Best Director (Elliott), Best Actor (Treadaway),[10] Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and other categories including Best Set Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design and Best Choreographer.[11] The show transferred to the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, London on 1 March 2013 with Cusack reprising her role of Siobhan. Following a period in film and television including the films Testament of Youth, Departure, Chick Lit and The Ghoul and the television series Rebellion, Cusack returned to the London stage as Paulina in The Winter's Tale at the Globe and Owen McCafferty's Unfaithful at Found 111 in the West End.


Year Film Role Notes
1988 Paris by Night Jenny Swanton
1990 Fools of Fortune Josephine
1992 The Playboys Brigid Maguire
2000 The Closer You Get Kate
2007 Matterhorn Marie Short film
2009 Five Minutes of Heaven Alistair's Mum - 1975
2010 The Kid 1980 school nurse
Hereafter Marcus' foster mother
2011 In Love with Alma Cogan Sandra
2012 The Best of Men Sister Edwards
2014 Testament of Youth Sister Jones
2015 Departure Sally
2016 Chicklit Claire
The Ghoul Fisher
Year Title Role Notes
1988 A Shadow on the Sun TV Film
Screen Two: Lucky Sunil Denise Slipper TV Film
1989 Agatha Christie's Poirot Valerie Saintclair Episode: The King of Clubs
1991 Jeeves and Wooster Roberta 'Bobbie' Wickham Episode: Wooster with a Wife (or, Jeeves the Matchmaker)
Chalkface Melanie 7 episodes
1992 The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends Beatrix Potter 9 episodes
Angels Ellen TV Film
Heartbeat Dr. Kate Rowan 49 episodes
1997 Living Proof - Cause of Death Mary McGuire TV Series Documentary
1998 Colour Blind Bridget Paterson Mini-Series
1999 Rhinoceros Julie Flynn TV Film
Always and Everyone Christine Fletcher 12 episodes
2000 Little Bird Ellen Hall TV Film
2003 State of Mind Dr. Grace Hazlett TV Film
Loving You Chloe TV Film
Too Good to Be True Tina TV Film

IFTA Awards: Best Actress in Film or Television Nomination

2004 Agatha Christie's Marple Emma Crackenthorpe Episode: 4.50 from Paddington
2005 The Last Detective Gill Episode: Friends Reunited
2007 Fallen Angel Vanessa Byfield Episode: The Judgement of Strangers
2008 Midsomer Murders Penny Galsworthy Episode: Days of Misrule'
2010 A Touch of Frost Sally Berland 2 episodes
Lewis Dr. Ellen Jacoby Episode: Falling Darkness
2012 Henry IV, Part II Lady Northumberland TV Film
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Siobhan TV Film for National Theatre Live
2014 New Tricks Joanne Gibson Episode: In Vino Veritas
2016 Rebellion (TV series) Nelly Cosgrave 4 episodes
Silent Witness Sylvie Blake 2 episodes

Selected theatre credits[]

  • 1985: Othello (Royal Shakespeare Company/Barbican)
  • 1985: Mary, After the Queen (Royal Shakespeare Company)
  • 1985: Anything Goes (Royal Shakespeare Company)
  • 1985: Three Sisters (Royal Exchange, Manchester)
  • 1986: Romeo and Juliet (Royal Shakespeare Company)
  • 1987: The Art of Success (Royal Shakespeare Company)
  • 1987: Portrait of a Marriage (Royal Shakespeare Company/Barbican Theatre, London)
  • 1988: The Tutor (Old Vic, London) – Alongside half sister Catherine Cusack
  • 1988: The Admirable Critchton (West End - Theatre Royal Haymarket)
  • 1990: Three Sisters (Gate Theatre, Dublin & Royal Court Theatre, London – Alongside sisters Sinead Cusack & Sorcha Cusack & her father Cyril Cusack)
  • 1991: The Plough and the Stars (Young Vic Theatre, London)
  • 1991: The Phoenix (Bush Theatre, London)
  • 1993: A Doll's House (Gate Theatre, Dublin)
  • 1995: Indian Ink (West End - Aldwych Theatre)
  • 1996: As You Like It (Royal Shakespeare Company/Barbican)
  • 1997: The Maids (Donmar Warehouse)
  • 1998: Nabokov's Gloves (Hampstead Theatre)
  • 2003: The Merchant of Venice (Chichester Festival Theatre)
  • 2003: His Dark Materials (Royal National Theatre)
  • 2005: Breathing Corpses (Royal Court Theatre/Jerwood Theatre Upstairs)
  • 2006: Mammals (The Bush, London)
  • 2007: The Way of the World (Royal Theatre, Northampton)
  • 2007: The Enchantment (Royal National Theatre)
  • 2007: Ghosts (Gate Theatre – Notting Hill, London)
  • 2007: Crestfall (Theatre503, London)
  • 2008: The Portrait of a Lady (Theatre Royal Bath)
  • 2009: Dancing at Lughnasa (West End - Old Vic Theatre)
  • 2010: Anderson's English (Hampstead Theatre and on tour)
  • 2010: Women, Power and Politics (Tricycle Theatre, London)
  • 2011: Cause Célèbre (West End - Old Vic Theatre)
  • 2011: The Painter (Arcola Theatre, London)
  • 2011: The Playboy of the Western World (West End - Old Vic Theatre)
  • 2012: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Royal National Theatre)
  • 2013: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (West End – Apollo Theatre)
  • 2016: The Winter's Tale (The Globe, London)
  • 2016: Unfaithful (Theatre 111, London)

Awards and nominations[]

  • Nominated: BBC Audio Drama Awards 2013 – Best Supporting Actress for The Man with Wings by Rachel Joyce, for BBC Radio 4
  • Nominated: Awards 2012 – Best Supporting Actress in a Play for Playboy of the Western World at Old Vic
  • Nominated: Irish Film and Television Awards IFTA 2004 – Best Actress in a TV Drama for Too Good to be True, Carlton TV
  • Winner: Received an Irish Life Award
  • Winner: Received an Irish Post Award


  1. Edworthy, Sarah (15 May 2009). "My Perfect Weekend: Niamh Cusack". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  2. "James Joyce's Ulysses". BBC Radio. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  3. William Shakespeare (26 October 2011). "Romeo and Juliet".
  4. Susan Elkin (2 August 2007). "The Enchantment". The Stage. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  5. Serena Davies (3 August 2009). "The Enchantment: Erotic love's cruel power". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. Lyn Gardner (1 December 2007). "Crestfall". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  7. Michael Billington (9 April 2010). "Andersen's English". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. Natasha Tripney (7 January 2011). "The Painter". The Stage. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  9. Michael Billington (30 March 2011). "Cause Célèbre". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. Clark, Nick (26 March 2013). "Olivier Awards 2013: Stars of the Silver Screen Helen Mirren, James McAvoy and Rupert Everett in Competition for top theatre gongs". The Independent. London. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  11. "Nominations by Show 2013". Olivier Awards. 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.

External links[]

  • Niamh Cusack on IMDb
  • [1] Niamh Cusack IFTA nominee 2004
  • [2] Niamh Cusack at BroadwayWorld.Com
  • [3] Niamh Cusack in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • [4] Niamh Cusack – National Theatre Company Cast Bio
  • [5] Niamh Cusack nomination for BBC Audio Award