EMMA O’Driscoll has been Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella twice, two decades apart, the Genie in Aladdin, Tinker Bell and Snow White. Yet the stage and screen star has never been Goldilocks, until now.
The RTE children’s presenter is back on stage with Limerick Panto Society this Christmas, with whom she has a long running and keen association, stretching back over many years and many panto appearances.
Yet she never had a chance to play Goldilocks, a role she says she was drawn to, one different from last year’s turn as Cinderella.
“I loved it, the thing is, it is great getting asked to be Cinderella - I could have been asked to be an Ugly Sister so it is great to be Cinderella,” she says of last year’s stint. “This is a totally different part, it is not a love story, Goldilocks is quite strong willed and a feistier character so it is good, it is nice to have a role like that. I always thought it was a great part.
“It is very exciting getting to play a part I have never played before,” she adds.
Not only is this a first, it is also a first for the panto society and playwright John Finn, who has transported the fairy tale from the forest and into the circus.
“The story is adapted for the panto. The story of Goldilocks is a fairy tale, but this is based in the circus and Goldi and her mam, played by Tim Cusack, actually run the circus. It is a great story, John Finn did a great job writing it, his trademark humour is very, very good.”
The strong cast for the Lime Tree show also includes Damian Shaw, James Corr, Oisin Gogarty, Laura Hunt and more. Emma says she “has the buzz” already and can’t wait for the show to begin on December 27.
The panto star has had a busy year working for RTE and also recently set up her own stage school, GemStars, with her older sister Georgina. It will kick off properly in the new year, passing her love of the stage to the next generation.
“It has always been an ambition of mine, it was just trying to find the time to do it,” says Emma.
“I grew up performing, I love it and I love meeting new people and working with them. There is a lot of talent in this city, I am already starting to meet some incredible talent. So it is great, really looking forward to really kickstarting it in the new year.”
Limerick Panto Society’s Goldilocks – The Circus Panto, opens in the Lime Tree on December 27 and running until January 3. See www.limetreetheatre.ie for more information and to book tickets