Cultural Life: Sian Phillips, actress

'I've just seen four plays in London in three-and-a-half days'

Theatre & opera

I've just seen four plays in London in three-and-a-half days. 'A View from the Bridge' at the Duke of York's, 'Dimetos' at the Donmar, 'Burnt by the Sun' at the National and 'Madame de Sade' at Wyndham's. It was a feast – the best ensemble acting I have seen in 25 years. I go to the opera a lot in New York. Sadly, I'm going to miss my friend Rufus Wainwright's new opera 'Prima Donna', which opens at the Manchester International Festival in July, because I will be working.


'Newsnight' if I'm lucky. And 'The Wire', but I'm lagging behind with it.

Visual arts

Byzantium 330-1453 at the Royal Academy is huge and overwhelming. Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, as well as Hepworth's husband, John Skeaping, collected ironstone pebbles from the beach in Norfolk to take back to the studio to carve, as seen at Norwich Castle.


I have re-read all Penelope Fitzgerald's books, and I started to read all Rose Tremain's books. I have been living in her head for four weeks – a great place to be.

Sian Phillips stars in Tim Firth's stage play 'Calendar Girls' at the Noël Coward Theatre, London WC2, until 27 June (www.