ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Róisín Sullivan on why Christmas songs strike such a chord

For me, Christmas and the theatre go hand in hand.

From a very young age, our Christmas treat was a trip to the Gaiety panto (via a look at the Switzer’s window on Grafton Street, of course) and I was always captivated by the magic of it.

I remember the feel of those beautiful red velvet seats, the sound of the orchestra tuning up and the pure excitement of it all. It definitely fuelled my desire for a career on the stage. Flash forward a few years and my first UK tour after graduating from drama school was Scrooge with Sir Tommy Steele and the late great Barry Howard.  We toured all over the UK and were the first Christmas show in the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin (now the Bord Gais).

A few years later, the production went into The London Palladium in the West End, and that was a truly magical time. I was on stage every night appearing as various Dickensian characters in the ensemble, and sometimes I made an appearance as The Ghost of Christmas Past appearing out of thin air in Scrooges living room, and magically disappearing through a mirror while singing a beautiful ballad directly into the eyes of Sir Steele (no pressure there!).

In recent years, Christmas has been kept busy for me by Festival Productions as I performed as both Nancy in Oliver and Grace in Annie in their National Concert Hall productions, performing two shows a day over Christmas and New Year and having the most wonderful time. I love meeting the children at the stage door after the show, seeing the wonder in their eyes, and remembering exactly what it was like for me as a kid after all those Christmas trips to The Gaiety.

So my love for Christmas on the stage is enduring.  Christmas movies are wonderful, but for me, going to the theatre at Christmas and experiencing the excitement of a live performance is unparalleled.

And so being part of something like Let It Snow, well, it’s pretty much that little Gaeity girl’s dream come true…

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