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'very excited' Fair City star Ryan Andrews on moving into dream Dublin home with girlfriend Michaela O’Neill

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FAIR City star Ryan Andrews has made the most of lockdown by buying his first home with stunning girlfriend Michaela O’Neill – and writing an original script for this year’s panto at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre.

The 27-year-old actor, who last year competed in Dancing with the Stars, is also looking forward to having his first Christmas off in 16 years, as the panto is being filmed and streamed online.

“I’ve been doing panto since the age of 11, so I’ve never been able to put my feet up and relax over Christmas,” Ryan tells the Sunday World.

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“I’ve never had Stephen’s Day off to get stuck into all the leftovers and the sandwiches.

“This year I’m going to have the best of both worlds because the panto will have been filmed, and I can watch it myself while tucking into the sambos and sweets. I’m going to have the full turkey in a sandwich.”

The Olympia panto received €300,000 under a government grant scheme for the arts and entertainment sector, allowing this year’s show to go ahead.

“It’s a huge lifeline and we’re delighted because it’s a lot more than just a pantomime to Michaela and myself,” Ryan says.

“We met doing panto. Michaela is doing panto 23 years. She started panto when she was three, with Twink. When we started in the Olympia together I was 11 and Michaela was 10. It’s been our whole lives together.”

As well as performing, Ryan has been writing the script in recent years, and when the funding came through he immediately set to work creating an original story called Once Upon A Panto, which references several fairytales.

“It’s going to be recorded on the Olympia Theatre stage and then it will be streamed, so it has the potential for an audience around the world. It’s a very exciting project and we’re all like big kids at the moment.

“Of course we’ll miss the feedback from all the kids we normally have in front of us at the Olympia, but we’ll be imagining that they’re out there.”

Ryan, who also runs a stage school with Michaela, says the couple have constantly adapted to the various Covid restrictions by doing classes outdoor or online since March.

“We took it all in our stride, and for a bit of fun we started looking for our first home. It was just after I did Dancing with the Stars and there was nothing going on due to Covid, so it went from one extreme to the other.

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“We then decided to put all our focus and our energy into finding a house. It was all very exciting and more of a game really, but by September we found ourselves with a mortgage and a home in Rathfarnham, and we’ll be moving in after Christmas. So a lot of positives have come out of Covid for us.”

Despite working as an actor for years, appearing in The Clinic and Fair City, Andrews, a native of Dublin’s Donaghmede, says it was Dancing with the Stars that finally established him with the public.

“People would always say, ‘You’re yer man from Fair City,’ but now they know me by name,” Ryan adds.

“I got such a warm response from the public. I think they just saw me as a normal chap who loves what he does. I loved the show. It was also great for my family getting dressed up every Sunday and coming to the show.

“Seeing my mam and dad there, and Michaela and her mam, they’re the moments that I loved the most. It was a really great time in my life.”

You can book a ticket for Once Upon A Panto here.


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