Actress Fiona Shaw channels the pain she suffered after her brother's death to play her most tragic characters, including her current role as the mother of Jesus in The Testament Of Mary.

The Harry Potter star's younger sibling Peter died in a car crash at the age of 18 nearly three decades ago, and Shaw admits the heart-wrenching loss added to her stage performance in the Greek tragedy Electra, where she played a young woman mourning the supposed passing of her brother during the Trojan War.

The 54 year old, whose portrayal earned her an Olivier Award for Best Actress in 1988, tells New York Magazine, "I felt some ownership of that human pain."

Shaw once again drew on her sadness to play a mother coping with the loss of her son in a Broadway theatre adaptation of Colm Toibin's popular book, and she admits she still feels as though she is visited by Peter's ghost.

She explains, "When my brother was killed, I saw him. It's a well-known pattern. Somebody rolls across the street, and you think, 'It's Peter!' And he doesn't exist, of course. There's nothing eerie about it, and my mother says that when she saw Peter she suddenly questioned the Resurrection."