Theo Davies-Lewis interviews Dame Siân Phillips

DAME Siân Philips is someone who hasn’t forgotten her Welsh roots.

The BAFTA-winning actor, now 84-years-old, was as elegant and impressive as ever when I met her at her townhouse in the East End of London this June.

I had met her before when I was a production runner on a BBC Wales show last year, and her reputation had preceded her. When I had seen the guest list for the programme, and Dame Siân’s name was on there, it wasn’t just me who was excited to meet her.

My mother, whose family can be traced back generations in Llwynhendy, had told me of how Dame Siân had her own distinct roots in the area, and how her late mother (my grandmother) had told her as a child that we were related to this world renowned star of stage, screen and radio.

So, when I got in touch to arrange an interview with Dame Siân about an interview, it felt like a family reunion was on the cards!

The interview itself was an incredibly enjoyable experience. It was another feature for the Media Society’s interview series, where I have interviewed politicians, academics and journalists, but none came close to the gravitas of the girl from Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen.

Since there are not many interviews with her out there, it was a great opportunity to delve a bit deeper into her career, the role of Wales in shaping her beliefs and her acting style and the importance of the Welsh language to the Arts.

What shone through for me was her passion and dedication to young performers, and the future of the theatre.

She is an incredible woman and an incredible actor.

For anyone who is, and has been, an admirer of Dame Siân, hopefully this interview offers an insight into one of Wales’ greatest treasures.

Theo Davies-Lewis is a second-year student at the University of Oxford and founded the Oxford University Media Society in 2018.

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