Having been at the Derry Panto, Peter Pan last night, I was writing about the adult characters after and how amazing a show it is. The mother of one of the little boys praised my wee review and said she may be biased about it being a great show as her little boy is in it. Immediately I thought that little boy is every bit as big in the show as the adult actors and singers. So later today I made contact with the said young man. Michael Darling from last night is none other than Derry’s very own Conor Maguire. Aged just 10 years old, he’s already a wee star in the making.
Conor is a Grade 3 singing pupil of the McGlinchey School of Singing and Drama. He’s currently in P7 at St. Annes primary school in Derry.
So just how did this young man become Michael Darling in Peter Pan?
“I auditioned for the part of a ‘lost boy’ in Peter Pan and got it. Then I was asked back to audition for the roles of Michael and John.”
Now that must have been one good audition for the ‘lost boy. Conor told me, “This is my first panto
and I absolutely love it. Especially because it’s Peter Pan. When I was younger I was obsessed with dressing up as Peter Pan, watching the movie and reading the story.” Ellen had better watch out, or Conor will be in her costume!!
Conor told me he’s sharing the role of Michael Darling with ‘another wee boy.’ “I’m performing in 18 of the shows. I’m so excited that my school is taking all the P4 to P7’s to watch in on the 19th December.” I’d strongly advise Captain Hook to be on his best behaviour that day!!
I wanted to know what was/is the best part about playing this role of Michael Darling in Peter Pan? “My favourite things about playing Michael is flying and singing, and getting to ride on Nana’s back. It makes me so proud to be part of the cast of this pantomime. I love that we are making special Christmas memories for lots of children and people that come to watch it.”
I wondered where Conor went to acting classes. Boy was I surprised. “I’ve never been to acting classes but I have been on the Millennium Forum stage before. I was an orphan and part of Fagins gang in the
production of Oliver in 2016. I was also part of the Children’s ensemble in the Foyle Opera Carmen in 2017. I have also been competing in the Derry feis since I was 5.” This stage is certainly no strange place so for this young man.
Conor has great praise for his singing teacher Rionach Wright. He says “She’s the best singing teacher and I’ve been getting lessons from her for 5 years.”
So will this experience encourage Conor to take up drama? “I definitely want to take up drama in the new year. I want to do a lot more singing and acting. I also love seeing what goes on backstage and would like to get into production and directing as I love writing stories. But for now I’m happy with being on the stage.”
What an absolute delight of a young gent Conor Maguire surely is. And of course equally so as Michael Darling. It’s wonderful to hear such young creatives speak about continuing with such as they grow up.
Here’s wishing Conor and all his young associates lots of luck and fun with Peter Pan. And make sure you take NO nonsense from that Captain Hook. He can be dastardly!!