June Rodgers Celebrates Thirty Years in Showbiz

By Hayden Moore

After thirty years in the business, June Rodgers shows no signs of stopping as the popular June Rodgers Christmas Show returns, except this year it’s got a new home.

June Rodgers has been making families laugh with her variety show for three decades after catching the performing bug whilst on the Tops of the Town competition alongside her work colleagues in Fujitsu.

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June, who lives in Firhouse, caught up with The Echo this week to let us know all about her upcoming Christmas Show, being eye-candy for Brendan O’Carroll, and seeing Gay Byrne in the audience during a talent show she was performing at.

What goes into creating a show like this? What’s the process like?

It’s a huge undertaking because we change the show every year and I like the challenge of starting from scratch with it each year.

We try to cater for all age groups so you would see teenagers at it and people in their thirties and forties and we even had a woman who was 100 at the show.

So we try take something from every era and make it relative to today. Brenda Brooks co-produces the show with me and she really helps me with the singing especially because she’s a singer herself, and we have a comedy writer, a director and all sorts too.

What’s going to be different about this year’s show?

The child character that I play, Jacinta O’Brien will be returning because she’s been with me since day one and so will Oliver Bond as well as loads of new characters.

The biggest change is that this year is in a new venue, I spent 17 great years in the Red Cow Moran Hotel and people from Taylor’s Three Rock got in contact with me and asked if I wanted to do the show there – and I said yes.

It’s going to have music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, an Irish section with an Irish Dancer who is of course me – if you squint hard enough you can see me as an Irish dancer.

There’ll be a Christmas finale, singing, dancing, family entertainment, so all the usual stuff. We’re actually trying to keep Variety alive because there’s not a lot of raw family entertainment out there anymore.

What made you want to get into acting and performing?

It was pure fluke. I was working with Fujitsu on the Greenhills Road and every year they’d enter the Tops of the Town competition, that’d be kind of like the X Factor today. I got involved because it seemed like good craic and it was something to do, every year the final would be broadcast on this special on RTE.

I was in the back-row because as you know all the lanky and fat ones would be there.

When did your break come?

I was then on some talent show and guess who was in the audience? Gay Byrne! And then the next week after that I was on the Late Late Show. I have been very lucky to have gotten so much support from Gay and Joe Duffy and Pat Kenny and others over the years.

It’s been 18 years since the release of Agnes Browne, what was that experience like?

I loved that film so much because it is such a great story of friendship. It was a fantastic opportunity to work with the likes of Tom Jones and Angelica Huston, and obviously Brendan O’Carroll as well.

See, growing up in Tallaght Village we’d run around chasing tractors and we didn’t really go to dance or acting school. I do love what I do, and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing as long people are enjoying me entertaining them.

How did you come to work on Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie a few years ago?

I met Brendan over the years and we actually did Funny Friday together. A casting agent got in contact with me and asked if I’d like to come and do an audition for the part in the movie.

I was terrified during the audition because I had never done one before in my life but I got the part! If Brendan wanted me back for the second film as a bit of eye candy, I’d be more than happy.

Any other projects coming up in the future?

Times have changed and I’m coming into my sixtieth year now so things are a lot different – although I do still have the body of a 16-year-old mind you.

But I had a really bad accident two years ago and it forced me to rethink a lot of things and kind of take stock, and now I only really do things that I really enjoy and the corporate stuff has kind of quietened.

I’m happy to do the Joe Duffy thing once a month, and my Christmas show because I feel like when people pay they’re invested in the show. But if more comes up in the future I’m open to it, but I’m a lot more selective nowadays because of that experience.

What can people expect from this year’s Christmas show?

People can expect a night of true Irish entertainment for two hours. You get a meal with your ticket and it’s a great night for all the family. This new venue is the room they actually do Dragons’ Den in and it’s very rustic.

We’re doing a Sunday afternoon show this year which is a big deal because we’ve never done it on a Sunday before, so it’s perfect for those who may be home by themselves and what to get out to the show during the day, or with their families.

You can catch The June Rodgers Christmas Show at the Taylors Three Rock (just at the Dundrum exit on the M50) with tickets €30 for the show or €55 including your meal, it runs from November 30 to December 31. Tickets available from junerodgers.eventbrite.com or 014942311.

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