Being a benefit for Mr McMahon
By Thom Dibdin
A short play by the Midsummer team of David Greig and Gordan McIntyre will head up a benefit in the Traverse bar tonight, Monday 15 October.
The piece will be one of six short plays and music, performed as part of an early evening slot in the Traverse bar from 7.30pm. All ticket donations will go to help young actor – and Traverse barman – Steve McMahon take up an offer of a place at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
McMahon told the Annals: “After a few years of applying to British schools and nearly getting in I decided to look into American training. I found that the American Academy of Dramatic Arts auditions in Edinburgh so, thinking I had nothing to lose, I went to the audition and a few weeks later was offered a place!”
That was back in the Spring, but the prohibitive cost of taking up the offer was beyond McMahon’s resources and he has had to defer until next September.
Steve is a former member of the Lyceum Youth Theatre and has performed on the Traverse stage in Strangetown’s Chow Mein and in A Play, A Pie and A Pint as a last minute stand-in for two performances of Four Parts Broken when Conor McCarron fell ill halfway through the run.
The Academy is the oldest acting school in the English-speaking world and its alumni, who include Robert Redford, Kim Cattrall and Kirk Douglas, have been nominated for almost 100 Oscars over its 125-year history.
The school itself has awarded McMahon its maximum scholarship of $6000 (around £3800), but he is still a long way short of the $52000 (around £33000) for one academic year in the two-year degree. This includes all school fees, equipment and living costs. As an international student he is ineligible for the usual student loan, while bank loans are only available for a small portion of the amount.
The difficulty is that in order to accept the place McMahon needs to prove to the school and the US authorities that he can provide the full amount before he can secure a student visa. He has already succeeded in raising a small amount of the funds through sponsume and has approached many charitable trusts.
Tonight’s performance is part of a concerted push by McMahon to raise the money and takes place before the regular Traverse Sessions night which he organises, and which this month features Ulysses Jones and Mike Baillie (The Lonely Together).
Tickets for the fundraiser are free by donation (make it a large one!) from the Traverse box office.
Steve McMahon on You Tube: