Aoife Hinds is performing alongside Tuyen Do in Ava Wong Davies’ play I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me in Half), which tells the story of a 22-year-old woman coming to terms with meeting the mother who abandoned her. She talks to Giverny Masso about her experience of growing up in a family of actors…
Can you tell me about the character you play in I Will Still Be Whole?
It’s a story about a mother and a daughter reuniting after 22 years. It’s about loneliness and struggles within oneself and what you inherit through blood ties. I play 22-year-old EJ, who has been brought up by her single dad and has never met her mum. She makes the steps to send her mother an email, to see if they can meet. She’s someone who is extremely lonely, and who is quite self-destructive in the way that she goes out to clubs, drinks a lot, and goes home with various girls but never really tries to find an actual connection with anyone further than a one-night thing.
At what point did you decide you wanted to be an actor?
I grew up around lots of actors, because both my parents [Ciarán Hinds and Hélène Patarot] are actors and a lot of their friends are actors. When I was young, if they were touring with a show I’d go along with them, so I grew up with that sense of family and community that theatre brings. I’m not sure if I ever thought: “Oh, I want to be an actor”, it kind of just came through different moments of my life. I didn’t actually go and do lots of drama classes until I was a bit older. I grew up in Paris, and when I was 18 and had finished school, I did a gap year and worked in Peter Brook’s theatre in Paris as an usher. At the end of that year, all of the ushers had the opportunity to put on a play together and perform it in the theatre for one night only – it was so good, and I remember the feeling I got. I loved it so much, to the point that it scared me, and when it ended I was devastated.
What did you do next?
I kind of went: “I don’t think I’m ready just yet to plunge into this.” So I studied international relations at university, which was really interesting but depressing. I did the drama society at university and thought: “If this is something I’m still pulled towards after all that, then I do want to do it.” When I finished university, I thought: “Yeah, this is what I want to do.”
What is it like having parents who are also actors?
My mum was always open to supporting me, and my dad tried to keep me away from it for a long time, but then he realised it was something I really wanted to do and has been very supportive. When people would ask: “Would you ever work with them?”, I used to be like: “No, that would be so weird.” But now, because I’ve grown up a bit, I think actually it could be quite cool.
What jobs have you done that have been particular highlights so far?
I’ve had two great jobs that I’ve loved: filming in Belfast on Derry Girls, and the last project I did, filming in Dublin for the adaptation of [Sally Rooney’s novel] Normal People, which was really great, with very talented people and superb writing. Obviously character is important, but before that, for me, it’s more about the project, who is involved, the writing and [the process of] making something together.
Training: MA in acting at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (2015-16); Conservatoire National in Paris (2016-17)
First professional role: The Commuter (2018)
Agent: Kate Buckley at 42 Management
I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me in Half) runs at the Bunker Theatre in London from November 12-23. See bunkertheatre.com