Bord Gáis Energy reveals the nation's fondness for musicals

21 November, 2016

We're Musical Mad! Bord Gáis Energy reveals the nation's fondness for musicals during the festive season.

Key Findings

  • Almost half (46%) of musical lovers will watch 3-5 musicals this Christmas
  • Over a quarter (28%) consider watching musicals a guilty pleasure
  • 'The Sound of Music' voted as Ireland's favourite musical to watch at Christmas
  • 1 in 2 polled know all of the words to their favourite musical song
  • Saoirse Ronan, Chris O'Dowd and Amy Huberman are the Irish actors the nation would most like to star in a musical

We're a musical mad nation with 9 in 10 Irish adults revealing that they love singalong shows, from movies to theatre and 46% saying they will watch at least 3-5 musicals this Christmas season, according to new research from the Bord Gáis Energy*.

The research was carried out to celebrate the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards and parents, students and teachers across the country are reminded that the awards are open for entry.

The Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards recognise and reward participation in drama in schools across Ireland and are open to primary school students from 3rd – 6th class and all secondary school students.

Festive Musical Favourites

According to the survey, it seems that a certain Fräulein named Maria is most likely to feature on our TV screens over Christmas with 'The Sound of Music' voted as Ireland's favourite musical to watch during the festive season (28%). This is followed by 'Singin in the Rain' in second place with 9% of the vote.

A musical wouldn't be a musical without some catchy tunes and when it comes to top choices of melodies, The Wizard of Oz classic 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' is the favourite sing along tune with 'The Hills are Alive' coming in second place (17%) and Mary Poppins 'A Spoonful of Sugar' in third (15%).

Almost half (49%) of Irish adults polled know ALL of the words to their favourite musical song but some may keep their musical renditions to the shower as more than 1 in 4 (28%) say that they consider watching musicals a guilty pleasure!

Standout Stars

When given the choice of favourite female character from a musical, 29% of those polled chose musical matriarch Maria from 'The Sound of Music' with 1 in 5 naming the perfectly ladylike Eliza Doolittle from 'My Fair Lady' as their favourite.

The all-singing, all-dancing chimney sweep Bert from 'Mary Poppins' is Ireland's favourite male musical character (25%), followed by the young Oliver Twist from the musical 'Oliver!' with 24% of the vote.

And which Irish actor would the nation most like to see take centre stage in a musical? According to the results, Saoirse Ronan is the favourite to take the lead in a musical (12%). Amy Huberman and Chris O'Dowd were also popular choices with the pair coming in joint second (11%).

Musical Memories

Of the 364 adults surveyed, over half (51%) participated in a musical or play as a child or teenager with almost all (97%) saying they loved the experience. Despite this, just 15% went on to take part in a production as an adult.

When it comes to the festive season, 3 in 4 starred in the all-important Christmas play with Mary, an Angel and one of the Wise Men being the most popular roles in the show. And according to 37% of those polled, learning carols is the nation's favourite Christmas memory from their schooldays.

Commenting on the results, Irene Gowing, Communications Manager with Bord Gáis Energy said: "The survey shows that Ireland is a nation of true theatre enthusiasts and the Christmas season is a special time to watch our favourite musicals whether it's on the TV, in the theatre or at a school production.

With schools around the country now preparing for Christmas show season, we would like to remind teachers, parents and students that their productions may be suitable for entering into this year's Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards. We have a number of group categories including 'Best Overall School Musical', 'Best Overall School Play' and 'Best Original Production', a new category added to the 2017 Awards."

The deadline for entries in all production categories is 27 January 2017 and closing date for entries in the written categories is 10 February 2017. Shortlisted schools will be invited to a special awards ceremony at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Some schools will even get the chance to perform on Ireland’s largest theatre stage, making it a memorable experience they won't forget!

For further information on the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards including how to enter visit

*Survey carried among 364 members of the Bord Gáis Energy Customer Panel aged 18+

Blue flame and writing "Bord Gáis Energy"