Alumni Spotlight

Dominic MacHale - Actor

20 Feb
Dominic MacHale - Actor

Dominic MacHale began his acting career with the UCC Dramat while studying at UCC. He has worked extensively in theatre and on screen and recently wowed audiences with his turn as a crazed Garda in 'The Young Offenders' and his powerful portrayal of Michael Collins in 'A Great Arrangement'.

Course/subjects studied in UCC

I studied Biological and Chemical Sciences and graduated with a BSc in Microbiology in 2010.

Best memory of UCC

All those evenings spent training on the Mardyke astro turf with the American Football Club. I established the club in my first year at UCC and I was blown away to see that so many others shared my passion for what was at the time a very niche sport in Ireland. It was amazing to watch the club grow and the standard of play improve immeasurably. I made some great friends there too.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?

My time at UCC facilitated the development of a certain way of thinking. Even in the often chaotic world of acting, I still think like a scientist. Being precise, logical, and methodical. Having attention to detail, observational and analytical skills. I rely on these acquired traits in everything I do.

The Dramatic Society was an excellent way to learn the fundamentals of performance and gave me an appreciation of all the elements required to put on a show. It was invaluable practical experience. I was quite shy when I arrived at UCC. By the end, my favourite part about being a scientist was giving presentations!

What is your advice to current UCC students?

I will give them the same advice a soccer coach gave to me when I was 13. What specific subject you study is not as important as you may think. When you learn more about anything, you learn more about everything. You are acquiring traits that you will use in whatever you choose to do in the future. When people are hiring/recruiting/casting, more often than not they are looking at traits and not training.

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?

In the summer between my third and fourth year, I participated in an undergraduate research programme called UREKA. I met some wonderful people from around the world and got first-hand experience of life as a scientific researcher. My supervisor for the project, Yvonne McCarthy, really helped me gain some perspective. I was considering pursuing acting professionally but wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do. She really helped clarify things and advised me - without pushing me in either direction.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?

I joined Dramat in my first year and became a very active member of the society over my four years in UCC. Sometimes too active if I'm honest, burning the candle at both ends occasionally!

I founded the UCC American Football Club in my first year and was the president/coach/quarterback/spiritual leader of the club until my final year.

Some of my closest friends to this day are people that I met through my involvement with Clubs and Societies. I'm sure that many other alumni would say the same too.

Favourite UCC legend or superstition

It would have to be George Boole. If I didn't say him, my father would disown me. But seriously, the term 'legend' gets bandied about nowadays, but he truly deserves that accolade. He has only recently begun to get the widespread recognition he deserves. An incredibly influential man who lived a remarkable life.

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