Mischa reveals past life cutting turf in Irish bog

Mischa Barton at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, yesterday. As a child she loved her holidays on her uncle’s farm in Roscommon.

SHE doesn't look like your average turf cutter.

But former 'The OC' star Mischa Barton has revealed she once cut turf on her uncle's farm in Co Roscommon.

The 26-year-old, whose mother Nuala Quinn hails from the county, spent many happy childhood holidays there before she found fame as troubled teen Marissa Cooper on US TV show 'The OC' in 2003.

"Mischa Barton cutting turf? It might sound properly ridiculous to people but trust me, on my uncle's farm in Roscommon everybody pitched in," Ms Barton told the Irish Independent.

"We loved coming to the farm when we were kids. It was such a great escape and we were here pretty often."

The Hollywood star returns to Ireland this September when she swaps the Californian hills for the stage of the Gaiety Theatre to play diabetic Shelby Eatenton in a stage version of 'Steel Magnolias', based on the 1989 film starring Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts.

Although known for her TV work, which has seen her hailed as one of 'People' magazine's 'Top 50 Beautiful People', her career kicked off when she landed the lead role in playwright Tony Kushner's off-Broadway production 'Slavs' in 1994.

"People concentrate sometimes on the fashion and the stardom, so it's good to be able to show your talents," she said. "Theatre means everything because that's where I came from."

And she believes that the Gaiety Theatre is the perfect setting for the comedy drama set in a beauty salon.

"I like that the audience is on all these different levels so people will be looking from above down into the salon and hearing our chitter-chatter," she added.

She will star alongside actress Anne Charleston, better known as Madge Bishop from the Australian soap 'Neighbours'.

Posing for the cameras yesterday, the sight of the stunning actress outside the Gaiety had passers-by joining in the act as they reached for their camera phones.

Directed by Ben Barnes, 'Steel Magnolias' opens in the Gaiety on September 11 and then tours the country for eight weeks this autumn taking in Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Limerick, Galway, Castlebar, Drogheda and Derry.

Tickets are priced from €20 and will be available from Ticketmaster and www.SteelMagnolias.ie.

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