Al Life in Many Acts by Fiona York

A passion for planting and performing

Fiona inMartin Sherman's one-woman play, Rose.
Fiona inMartin Sherman’s one-woman play, Rose.

Fiona York’s life has been one of stark contrasts. On one side is the world of theatrical glitz where she rubs shoulders with the famous in London and Hollywood; on the other, the smell of freshly dug earth and manure in her pioneering work as an organic farmer in Ireland.

Originally from Co. Waterford, Fiona York spent much of her early years in Kenya before heading to London to study acting. She has appeared frequently on stage and in film and television, and her one-woman production of Rose, the story of an elderly Jewish woman, received much acclaim when she brought it on tour in Ireland, France, South Africa, and Australia.

Her love of growing things, inspired by her mother, began at an earlier age and led her to set up in business as a producer of organic vegetables, living a life of self-sufficiency in West Cork, Waterford, and Sligo while raising a family of three and continuing to pursue her acting career.

A Life in Many Acts shows the author to be a keen observer of the world around her. She paints a beautifully rich portrait of her young years in Ireland, Kenya, and Britain, her fledgling years in theatre and the excitement of 1960s London, and her return to work with the soil of her native country. She writes also with great candour about the failures and heartbreaks that came, including the loss of her marriage and the struggle to find a foothold in life again.

‘‘Hands in the earth, head in the air. I think that might describe me if I had to. I have mixed gardening and performing all my life, and it is a beautiful mix.’’

Ballyhillow, Leap, Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland

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