Belfast Telegraph

Carrickfergus teen’s US drama college dream could be dashed by fees

Jason Allen (18) is one of around 40 students to be accepted to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, which has two campuses in New York and LA.

But the budding actor, a member of the Belfast-based Rainbow Factory, which produced Pacific star Marty McCann, must raise thousands of pounds in scholarships in order to take up the offer at the leading school.

Jason, a sixth year pupil at Carrickfergus College, went for an audition for AMDA in London, impressing the panel with two monologues from Philadelphia Here I Come and Volpone.

A few weeks later the young actor was offered a place at the college to study acting. He will undertake a two-year studio programme course in New York, studying stage, film and television acting, followed by two years in LA, completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting.

However, with huge fees of around $35,000 a year — £22,000 — Jason’s acceptance of his place depends on whether or not he can raise enough money.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at one of the best acting schools in the US and

I really want to be able to take my placement,” said Jason.

“I’m hoping that I can get some grants or scholarships to help me pay my way as the fees are very costly.

“Auditions were held in 35 cities around the world, in places like the US, England, Mexico and Argentina and only between 30 and 40 get accepted every year, so it’s a major compliment for me that I was offered a place.”

Past students include Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin, actress Gretchen Moll, and Christopher Jackson, who played Simba in the Broadway version of The Lion King.

Anyone interested in sponsoring Jason can contact him on 07799 180287.

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