Ciara Murphy - Scientist, TV Presenter, Natural Born Entertainer

By Hayden Moore 

What happens when a scientist, a singer, an actor, a TV presenter and a puppeteer all get combined? Ciara Murphy, that’s what happens, because she is all of those professions rolled into one and the Tallaght woman is a natural born entertainer.

A Kingswood native, Ciara attended St Kilian’s Primary School and Our Lady’s School in Terenure before studying Biochemistry and Biotechnology in UCD.

Ciara Murphy 2

Ciara Murphy on Let's Find Out 

As well as starring on RTÉ Junior’s ‘Let’s Find Out’ as a scientist, she also lit up The Civic Theatre stage with the energy she brought to her character Jill for their first festive pantomime ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.

While preparing for an upcoming puppetry project, Ciara caught up with The Echo to tell us all about studying in the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, falling in love with singing after seeing Annie and volunteering in Our Lady’s Children Hospital to entertain the kids.

You’re a scientist? Where did your interest in science come from?

I’ve always been interested in science, more so in performing but science too. I got my degree in Biochemistry, which is learning exactly what happens inside of the body and taking an even closer look at our bodies, and then I did my masters in Biotechnology.

Then I moved to Singapore for six months because I got a job in biotechnology, working in a lab of a company called Histoindex. The initial contract was six-months and after that they asked me if I wanted to stay and do a PhD but I was like “Ooo I really can’t, I miss my family” – I’m just such a homebird! When I got home, I just thought to myself that this is it, I’m going to do exactly what I love this year.

So, I applied for and did my masters in the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, it was a great year because I was really able to grow into myself but I just had to come home again because I missed being here in Ireland.

Tell us a little bit about ‘Let’s Find Out’?

I was working as a scientist doing clinical trials when a job came up for a scientist presenter and I just thought ‘wow this is me’. It had everything that I love, singing, acting and science.

I had to do this ‘in person’ interview and it was hilarious because they provided me with these lyrics that I had to make into a song. I was given the lyrics on the Friday and the interview was on the Monday, I didn’t know what to do at all. I made the song and, on the Monday, I just decided to rap it, I rapped the song. I was rapping in front of a school and kids are so transparent, I love them because if they don’t like something, you’ll know about it but they loved it, they where up on chairs dancing and everything.

Growing up you must have watched the likes of Zig and Zag, Soky and Dustin on RTE, and now you have acted alongside a puppet (Zoom) for the next generation. That must be kind of surreal to act with one of those puppets knowing how engrained in the culture they were for so many years?

It really was. It was such a dream to do it and it’s so lovely to be a part of history because they will be watching it for a while, like it’s on RTÉ Junior twice a day. I did a thing for the BT Young Scientist, we did a show for it and kids came on to sing. But they remembered all the lyrics and everything, so it was great to see that they were actually paying attention. I have always loved children.

When did you start performing?

I just absolutely love performing and bringing joy to people’s hearts if I can. That’s what I have always wanted to do, to be able to touch people’s lives through my singing and performing is a wonderful thing. I used to sing in my grandparents’ house when I was younger, and my grandad would be telling me to ‘shut up’ because I never stopped singing. The first musical I ever saw was Annie which is brilliant, all of the music in it is fantastic, and I actually played Annie later on in my life in Our Lady’s. But I would watch it on repeat, which wasn’t as easy as it is today because it was on video, so you’d have to manually rewind it the old-fashioned way.

How did The Civic Theatre pantomime gig come about?

I auditioned for the role of Jill and straight away there was this lovely atmosphere. So, I just went in and had a great time, and after it I thought I wasn’t going to get the role, but I wasn’t upset because I had such a brilliant time during the audition. I got a call literally a day later and I was so surprised. The people in The Civic are great, they are absolute pros. The panto was great, Rob [Murphy] did a great show and it was magically put together, the songs fit so well.

You must have had a lot of fun playing Jill?

I love that role, it was fun from start to finish and it ran so well like it was such a smooth production over all of those dates. The cast were brilliant, I loved every single one of them, we were like a family throughout it and hopefully I can come back for the next one.

Who inspires you the most?

This might sound cliché, but it really is my mam and I know everybody probably says that. She is like my boulder and is genuinely the kindest person who thought me to treat everyone the same and to never expect anything in life because you have to work for everything you want. She is such an inspiration.

What’s next?

I’m working on a puppetry project. I worked for The Lambert Theatre Company for a little while, so I’ve done it before. I’m doing [The Silent Hearted Princess] with Diane Crotty as part of the Axis bursary. It’s for children on the autism spectrum and once we did the sensory friendly shows with The Civic, I got so excited about doing this, I really enjoyed it.

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