Fairytale of Cork: Katie’s Cinderella dream realised

Fairytale of Cork: Katie’s Cinderella dream realised
10 year old, Katie Connolly, from Montenotte, meeting Cinderella (Zoe Talbot), at the Cinderella Panto, at the Everyman, Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan

A BRAVE little girl was granted her Christmas wish to meet Cinderella by Cork’s very own fairy godmother.

Ten-year-old Katie Connolly, who is a member of Down Syndrome Cork, was given a backstage pass following a staging of the panto at the Everyman Palace Theatre.

Zoe Talbot, who plays Cinderella in the show, was there to meet Katie behind the scenes with a special gift.

The special evening out was made possible by the pantomime’s producer and director, Catherine Mahon Buckley. She organised the surprise in conjunction with the Evening Echo to help deserving children achieve their ultimate dream.

Katie Connolly, from Montenotte, back stage, with Cinderella (Zoe Talbot) Prince Charming (Ross MacLeod), Goose and Fairy Godmother( Ciaran Bermingham).
Katie Connolly, from Montenotte, back stage, with Cinderella (Zoe Talbot) Prince Charming (Ross MacLeod), Goose and Fairy Godmother( Ciaran Bermingham).

Jackie Connolly, from Montenotte, was thrilled to see her daughter enjoying herself following a challenging few years.

She spoke of how Katie endures regular trips to Dublin for hospital visits as a result of juvenile arthritis. “She has never once complained,” Jackie said. “It’s just not in her nature. The only way we know she’s in pain is when she kicks off her shoes. She’s a very positive kid with a constant smile on her face.”

Meeting the pantomime’s main character had been a life-long dream of Katie’s.

“She gets so immersed in what’s happening on stage. If a character gets upset she’ll feel for him/her. I wouldn’t put it past her to jump up on stage,” she laughed.

Jackie was initially unsure how Katie would react to meeting her idol.

“She’ll be shocked Cinderella even knows her name,” she said.

Katie made sure she was dressed the part.

“I had a Cinderella dress which I planned putting under the Christmas tree that I took out early for the occasion.”

The 10-year-old is no stranger to the stage either.

“She was recently singing in City Hall and everyone got a great kick out of her performance. There was an instructor at the front helping the kids along and she actually held his hand and guided him out of the way so she could be seen better. She just adores being on the stage. Even those who didn’t know Katie were telling her she did great.”

Katie Connolly, from Montenotte, back stage, with her dad, Ray and mum, Jackie and Panto Cast members.
Katie Connolly, from Montenotte, back stage, with her dad, Ray and mum, Jackie and Panto Cast members.

The story of Cinderella has always been close to Katie’s heart.

“We read the story together last night. Fairytales like this are not as relevant these days but there will always be little girls who dream of meeting their prince just like Cinderella.”

This year marks Catherine Mahon-Buckley’s 25th year as the director of the Everyman Palace pantomime. The production runs until January 13.

See visit www.everymancork.com

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