Belfast Telegraph

May McFettridge: 25 years going strong...and the show must go on

By Gary Grattan

Belfast's own panto dame May McFettridge has given some useful tips about what it takes to play the loveable role year after year.

May - real name John Linehan - has just notched up an incredible 25 years playing the Dame in the annual pantomime at Belfast's Grand Opera House.

His current run in this year's production of Aladdin ends later this month.

"To be a successful Panto Dame first of all you need to have a very thick skin to be able to take banter back, because if you give it, you have to be able to take it - and believe me Belfast people have the greatest sense of humour on the planet.

"If you throw one-liners at them, be prepared to get plenty of them thrown back at you!"

John also advised people who take on such a role "not to have any airs and graces about them."

"Don't think that you're anybody that you're not because, believe me, Belfast people will be the first to tell you who and what you are."

John finds it hard to believe he has chalked up a quarter-of-a-century being the Dame of Belfast.

"I'll keep doing it as long as my health lets me. I love being at the Opera House - it's a superb place to perform," he added.

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