Niamh Cusack

Niamh Cusack (/ˈnv/ NEEV; born 20 October 1959) 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).

Niamh Cusack
Born (1959-10-20) 20 October 1959
Years active1984–present
Spouse(s)Finbar Lynch
Parent(s)Cyril Cusack
Maureen Kiely
RelativesSinéad Cusack (sister)
Sorcha Cusack (sister)
Pádraig Cusack (brother)
Catherine Cusack (half-sister)
Richard Boyd Barrett (nephew)
Max Irons (nephew)

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 1960s television drama series Heartbeat (1992–1995). Her character died from leukaemia in series 5 leaving her police man husband Nick, played by Nick Berry, a widower. She had decided to leave the show after becoming pregnant. [2]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.[3]

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 Christine Fletcher in Always and Everyone (1999–2002), a British accident and emergency medical series alongside Martin Shaw; Grace Haslett in the miniseries State of Mind alongside Andrew Lincoln; Julie Flynn in the one off drama Rhinoceros alongside Robson Green 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.[4] 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 the summer of 2003, she appeared as Portia in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice at the Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Gale Edwards. In 2004, Cusack joined the National Theatre for a stage adaptation (by Nicholas Wright) of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials as Serafina Pekkala. The production also featured Anna Maxwell Martin, Ben Wishaw and Patricia Hodge. In 2007, Cusack returned to National Theatre to appear in Victoria Benedictsson's The Enchantment,[5][6] and played Alison Ellis in Crestfall by Mark O'Rowe at Theatre503.[7] 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. In 2010, she played Catherine Dickens in Andersen's English, a play by Sebastian Barry.[8] In 2011, she appeared in The Painter by Rebecca Lenkiewicz,[9] 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 J.M. Synge, both at the Old Vic.[10]

In August 2012, Niamh Cusack rejoined the 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),[11] Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and other categories including Best Set Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design and Best Choreographer.[12] 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
1988Paris by NightJenny Swanton
1989The Tailor of Gloucester (film)Beatrix Potter
1990Fools of FortuneJosephine
1992The PlayboysBrigid Maguire
2000The Closer You GetKate
2007MatterhornMarieShort film
2009Five Minutes of HeavenAlistair's Mum - 1975
2010The Kid1980 school nurse
HereafterMarcus' foster mother
2011In Love with Alma CoganSandra
2012The Best of MenSister Edwards
2014Testament of YouthSister Jones
2015Departure Sally
The GhoulFisher
Year Title Role Notes
1988A Shadow on the SunTV Film
Screen Two: Lucky SunilDenise SlipperTV Film
1989Agatha Christie's PoirotValerie SaintclairEpisode: The King of Clubs
1991Jeeves and WoosterRoberta 'Bobbie' WickhamEpisode: Wooster with a Wife (or, Jeeves the Matchmaker)
ChalkfaceMelanie7 episodes
1992The World of Peter Rabbit and FriendsBeatrix Potter9 episodes
AngelsEllenTV Film
HeartbeatDr. Kate Rowan49 episodes
1997Living Proof - Cause of DeathMary McGuireTV Series Documentary
1998Colour BlindBridget PatersonMini-Series
1999RhinocerosJulie FlynnTV Film
Always and EveryoneChristine Fletcher12 episodes
2000Little BirdEllen HallTV Film
2003State of MindDr. Grace HazlettTV Film
Loving YouChloeTV Film
Too Good to Be TrueTinaTV Film

IFTA Awards: Best Actress in Film or Television Nomination

2004Agatha Christie's MarpleEmma CrackenthorpeEpisode: 4.50 from Paddington
2005The Last DetectiveGillEpisode: Friends Reunited
2007Fallen AngelVanessa ByfieldEpisode: The Judgement of Strangers
2008Midsomer MurdersPenny GalsworthyEpisode: Days of Misrule'
2010A Touch of FrostSally Berland2 episodes
LewisDr. Ellen JacobyEpisode: Falling Darkness
2012Henry IV, Part IILady NorthumberlandTV Film
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeSiobhanTV Film for National Theatre Live
2014New TricksJoanne GibsonEpisode: In Vino Veritas
2016Rebellion (TV series)Nelly Cosgrave4 episodes
Silent WitnessSylvie Blake2 episodes

Selected theatre credits

Awards and nominations


  1. Edworthy, Sarah (15 May 2009). "My Perfect Weekend: Niamh Cusack". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  3. "James Joyce's Ulysses". BBC Radio. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  4. William Shakespeare (26 October 2011). "Romeo and Juliet". Archived from the original on 26 December 2011.
  5. Susan Elkin (2 August 2007). "The Enchantment". The Stage. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  6. Serena Davies (3 August 2009). "The Enchantment: Erotic love's cruel power". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  7. Lyn Gardner (1 December 2007). "Crestfall". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  8. Michael Billington (9 April 2010). "Andersen's English". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  9. Natasha Tripney (7 January 2011). "The Painter". The Stage. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  10. Michael Billington (30 March 2011). "Cause Célèbre". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  11. 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.
  12. "Nominations by Show 2013". Olivier Awards. 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
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