A CORK man is being tipped for international stardom after finishing his first year at one of the world’s most prestigious acting schools.
Michael McLaughlin from Blackrock is nearing the end of his first year at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. The organisation launched the careers of a host of Hollywood stars including Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and Candice Bergin. The 22-year-old was discovered during a global scouting tour.
“After a period working in a Cork homeware store I travelled to London to pursue acting,” he explained. “I had been working hard to save money for the move. Luckily my decision worked out well. I knew there would be a lot more opportunities for paid acting work in the UK than in Cork. It was here that I auditioned for the school. Representatives from the Stella Adler Studio of acting were on a world tour searching for talent. Locations covered included everywhere from Australia to Canada and various parts of the US. The studio boasts students from all over the world. This makes things even more interesting as everyone has such different life experiences."
Michael recalled his sense of disbelief on discovering he had been accepted by the school.
“When I was sitting in the garden I received a call from them to say that I had been accepted. It was only a day after the audition so even when I saw the US number appear on the phone I never once believed it might be from the studio. The rest of the day is a total blur as it was such a shock. I was in complete disbelief. Only 30 students made it on to the course so I realise just how fortunate I am to have made the cut.”
He described what set him apart in auditions.
“Everyone is unique in their own way and I like to think I brought something different to the table. I have long red hair and quite an unusual look which I think helps. However, it mostly comes down to talent so I’m really happy to have this opportunity.” Financial constraints meant it almost didn’t happen for Michael.
“The Performers Academy in Cork held a raffle to raise funds for me to go over at their end of year performance. I also set up a Go Fund Me page. My family also offered me a huge amount of support and I owe them a great deal.
“I’ll be working a number of hours at the studio for my second year which will bring down the fees by half from what they were last year. This will be a huge help. I’ll be finishing up for the Summer soon but hope to stay and get some acting gigs over here so I can make the most of this experience.” While the acting student maintains that cities like London and New York are more beneficial professionally, he hopes to one day carve a career in Ireland.
"I love theatre work because it’s challenging. For those few hours you are living in that character’s world which makes it a lot different to TV work. Nonetheless, I’d love to pursue both. Most of the characters I play over here are American so to get some work on Irish TV would be great.” Despite following in the footsteps of acting legends such as Marlon Brando fames has never appealed to Michael.
“I’ve no doubt that many of these people have great lives but fame isn’t something I strive for. I’d be happy with just being a respected actor who is lucky enough to be able to pick and choose what work they pursue.”