Theatre student scoops €14,000 bursary

THEATRE student Sarah Louise McColgan from Cork city was last night awarded the 2010 Pat Murray Bursary.

The award was presented by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Kelleher, on behalf of the Lord Mayor, Cllr Michael O’Connell, at the Council Chambers, City Hall.

McColgan is a second year student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, and will use the €14,000 bursary to complete her degree in Technical Theatre and Stage Management.

“It’s brilliant to get the award at this point in my studies,” says McColgan, “I’m in my final year at RADA, which is very intense. We work 12-hour days, six days a week, and stage two productions every six weeks. So the award will help me focus on my work and make the most of my time in RADA.”

McColgan is a graduate of the Drama and Theatre course at UCC, and hopes to specialise in lighting design. “The course at UCC was very academic, whereas RADA is more practical,” she says. “But it’s great to have studied both approaches, as it has given me a broader appreciation of working in the theatre.”

McColgan thinks she will stay on in London to get more work experience once she qualifies next year.

“But I’d certainly love to come back to Ireland and work with theatre companies like Druid, or events like the Midsummer Festival in Cork.”

The Pat Murray Bursary commemorates the late set and costume designer, who served on the Arts Council and was a member of the Institute of Designers in Ireland.

The annual award is funded by Thomas Crosbie Holdings, Cork City Council and the Everyman Palace Theatre, and is designed to help a young theatre artist pursue a specialised line of study or work placement.

The judges this year were Jane Kelleghan of Crux Dance Theatre, nominated by the Everyman Palace Theatre, John X Miller of Cork Civic Trust/Cork Vision Centre, nominated by Thomas Crosbie Holdings, and William Galinsky of Cork Midsummer Festival, nominated by Cork City Council.

In 2009, the Pat Murray Bursary was awarded to playwright Jody O’Neill. Her play Celebrity will premiere at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin in January.

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