THE star of 'Snow White' is living her childhood dream as she appears as the leading lady in one of the country's favourite pantomimes.
Megan Cassidy is making her Gaiety panto debut this year, but it was another panto that first inspired her to get into acting.
"I remember seeing Samantha Mumba as Maid Marian in a production of 'Robin Hood', I think in the Olympia, when I was about eight," she recalled.
"She did a meet-and-greet after the show and it was possibly the most exciting moment of my life.
"I remember how that felt, so today when I'm doing my meet-and-greets, I know this could be the moment that changes someone's life.
"I auditioned for the Gaiety panto almost every year since I was 17 -- I was mad to be in it," she said.
"I'd started doing musical theatre at home in Waterford and was bitten by the bug straight away. There are so many great pantos in Ireland, but the Gaiety is the big one."
Megan (24) also presents and scripts 'The Curious World of Professor Fun and Doctor Dull', a children's art programme for RTE.
When she was still in school, she auditioned for BBC talent-search programme 'How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria' and reached the final 30 out of 6,000 hopefuls.
"I was about to do my Leaving Cert, but I knew then what I wanted to do, and that was perform.
"This panto is my dream come true -- there really is nothing quite like playing to a packed house twice a day."
Part of the licence granted to the original owners included permission to stage pantomime, which they did for the first time in December 1873.
Panto has its origins in a form of theatre developed by travelling Italian actors, who followed the rule that "a man will be dressed as a dame, a woman will be the principal boy. There will be some slapstick and buffoonery".