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Fiona takes a bite out of the Big Apple

HAVING graduated from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts last year, Ennis actor Fiona O’Loughlin is still in the Big Apple pursuing a career in one of the world’s great centres of stage and film.

She recently appeared in an off-Broadway production, entitled Seventeen Come Sunday, in Jean’s auditorium on Lexington Avenue.

From Cornmarket Street in the county town, the 23-year-old was with the Ennis School of Performing Arts for 10 years, before moving to Cork after finishing her secondary education, where she did a one-year drama course at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa.

There she learned all about the uncertainty of a career in acting and after finishing, she went on to get a certificate in Travel and Tourism at the Central College in Limerick, before going to LIT to study event management, something she didn’t take to.

When she decided it wasn’t for her, she went to New York to visit an uncle and found herself getting back into acting almost immediately.

“I got it into my head that I wanted to go to New York. I stayed with my uncle over here for a week and I went to the New York Film Academy and took a one-week acting course there.

“A teacher there took a shine to me and thought I had a bit of talent. He advised me to go to this other school, the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

“I went for an audition in November 2010 and I was told there and then I had got into the school. I got a student visa and a part-time scholarship that paid for half the fees, which was great. I got over here in January and it was an accelerated acting programme, a two-year acting course but I got it done in a year and a half.”

She got herself a visa that entitles her to work for a period of time in the USA and is hopefully of getting an artists’ visa now.

“I got an OPT, Optional Practical Training, which is a one-year acting visa and that’s what I’m currently doing. It allows me to stay for a year, actively audition all the time and be in plays. Right now, I’m looking for an agent and looking for my artists’ visa.”

She hopes to have that sorted out by July and if it isn’t forthcoming, she’ll probably move on to either London or Dublin.

Her teachers in Cork weren’t joking when they told her acting is precarious and she works in a pub close to Wall Street, where her employers are happy to accommodate the acting.

She would like to give Los Angeles a try for a year if her visa does come through but she is quite happy in New York.

“I love it. It’s a very, very tough city to live in. It’s constant go all the time, there’s a lot of pressure to be more than what you are but it’s where the work is and there’s such a great buzz about the place,” she said.

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