On a cold and wintry Thursday morning there’s no-one better way to start the day than with Snow White herself. And that’s exactly what I did this chilly morning. Chatting with Rachael O’Connor was everything but chilly. A warm hearted, talented and very creative young lady she is.
Rachael is delighted to be back in her home city of Derry this Christmas. She tells me, “I always come home for Christmas. Even if I only have one day off I will fly home to be with the family.” A true Derry girl she certainly is. If you love Snow White, you’re definitley going to love Rachel in this very role.
Telling the story of the young princess who finds herself on the run from her wicked stepmother and takes refuge in the forest with seven pint-sized men, SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS remains one of the best-loved pantomimes of all time.
A magic mirror, a jealous queen, a poisoned apple and the tiniest friends ever imagined – it’s panto time again at the Forum!
“The Millennium Forum’s panto is a must see. A heart-warming show for all the family and a great way to celebrate the festive season.” – Derry Live List
Packed with great song and dance routines, hilarious comedy, dazzling scenes and magical special effects, this festive favourite is fun for all the family from 4-94!
Proudly sponsored by the Richmond Centre, the North West’s biggest show of the season features a star studded local cast including William Caulfield as Nurse Molly Coddle, Rachel O’Connor as Snow White and a special ‘magical’ appearance by Daniel O’Donnell, this energetic Christmas treat is sure to be a hit with audiences far and wide.
What is Rachael O’Connor most looking forward to about the role in this year’s Derry Panto? “What’s not to look forward to? I’m playing a fun relaxed, sweet, innocent princess”, she says.
Are you looking forward to being on the panto stage? “I was a bit nervous at first as I haven’t been acting in a while but the Forum here is just so homely. I grew up doing the Youth Theatre here and it’s just coming home.” Staring alongside Rachael this year is Keith Lynch and Conor O’Kane, two professional Derry men who regularly feature in the Christmas panto. Rachael says these men were both in the first show she performed with at The Millennium Forum, so it really is home from home for the world travelled singer/dancer/actress.
I asked Rachael how she feels about working alongside the infamous comedian that is William Caulfield? “He just keeps trying to make me laugh. I’m trying so hard not to, but I know he’s going to succeed.” (I won’t tell him that Rachael, I promise!!) “William is brilliant and he’s just great to be working with”, she adds.
Rachael is of course busy in her own right. Having reached the quarter finals of the Voice and was the youngest contestant on team Kylie, she says ‘this experience when I was just 15 was a great introduction to the industry. This opportunity opened my eyes to how the industry worked and it also allowed me to make many contacts. I’ll always be grateful for this experience.”
Rachael has been touring the world with Lord of the Dance and just back from Poland, she goes off to China for three weeks with the show in January. She is also recording her first collection of music with her new Sweedish managment team and is flying back and forth there recording. We will hopefully see the result of this recording by next summer.
With such talent and experience, what is the attraction of the Derry Panto this Christmas? “I like being busy when I’m at home. But most of all, I grew up coming to see the Derry Panto. Now I’m going to be in it.” She adds: “I get to wear a grand dress. It’s very old theatre and I just love it. I also love to see the children coming along and some of them dressed in their Snow White dresses.
Why does Rachael O’Connor think people should come see the Derry Panto this year? “It’s full of singing and dancing. It’s a real feel-good show. And Christmas really wouldn’t be Christmas without the Derry Panto.” That’s good enough reason indeed.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs shows at The Millennium Forum from 4th – 29th December. Signed Performance – Thursday 5th December 7pm (BSL & ISL). Relaxed Performance & Dementia Friendly Performance – Sunday 15th December 2pm. Makaton Tutor Interpreted Performance – Sunday 15th December @ 2pm.
Tickets are priced from £10.00 and are now available from the Box Office. Telephone 71 264455 or visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk for bookings.
Christmas really wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to The Derry Panto. And there’s no Panto like the Derry Panto. Get your tickets now for Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.