‘Nadine has been helping me take it all in my stride’

Rachael O'Connor pictured at the press call for Lord of the Dance.
Rachael O'Connor pictured at the press call for Lord of the Dance.

A year ago Limavady schoolgirl Rachael O’Connor was still going through the pre-audition process for the most recent series of the BBC talent show The Voice.

Now the 17 year old finds herself in rehearsals for one of the most talked about shows to hit the West End in recent years - and has found a mentor in fellow Derry singer Nadine Coyle.

Both Nadine and Rachael are preparing for the debut of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games at the London Palladium tomorrow night - a celebration of dance and song produced, of course by Michael Flatly.

“This time last year I didn’t even know if I would make it in front of a TV audience let alone make it to the live shows on The Voice,” Rachael said.

“And here I am, having made the decision to move away from home, leave school behind and to take on a show like this.

“It absolutely hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Finding herself so far from home at such a young age has been touch for Rachael - but she said she has been supported by Nadine Coyle, who left Derry to join Girls Aloud when she was just 17 herself.

“She has told me she was just as nervous and experienced the same feeling - but she has also assured me it does get easier.”

Rachael, who is under the same management team as the former Girls Aloud singer, said she is really enjoying getting to know Nadine.

“She is such a funny girl - really lovely,” Rachael said.

The Limavady teen will act as Nadine’s understudy as the show runs for two months at the Palladium before travelling through Europe and then onto the rest of the world.

“It is a brilliant way to get great experience on the world stage,” Rachael said, although she admits that while she loves musical theatre her heart still lies with pop music.

“That’s still the dream,” she said. “To have my own tour.”