Drag act Mary Mac aims to take over small screen

HE’S best known for taking to the stage in some of the UK’s most famous cabaret venues with his alter-ego Mary Mac.

But now South Side stage star John Paul McCue is hoping to be Scotland’s most famous drag act and bring Mary to the small screen.

Since graduating from GAMTA, Glasgow’s performing arts school, he has developed a successful drag act alongside his roles in stage plays and musicals.

Most recently this saw him cast as character Laika Virgin in the UK tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

“I think it’s time for a big Scottish drag star on TV,” he said. “I’d love that to be Mary Mac and to perform as her in more places around the world.

“Most of my work since graduating has been in original plays or musicals, which is a fantastic experience as a performer as not only do you get to use your skills in acting, singing and dance you also get to use your creative talents too in the process of creating new work.

“This led me to create Mary Mac, a drag character who I’ve been working as around the world for the last ten years.

“From a very young age I’ve loved the theatre and knew that I wanted to be onstage, especially from watching panto in Scotland as a kid, which was a great source of inspiration for me.

“I would love to do more musical theatre.

“Being part of the touring company of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie recently has rekindled my love for it.”

JP, who went to St Fillan’s Primary School and Holyrood Secondary School in Govanhill, started training aged seven under a scholarship from GAMTA.

Glasgow Times:

The theatre school funded him through to gaining a BA (Hons) Musical Theatre qualification in 2009.

GAMTA is looking to award a scholarship for its three-year professional training course to a talented male performer.

JP has encouraged any school leavers and aspiring performers to consider the same path he took to success in the theatre industry.

“I grew up at GAMTA and everyone helped shape me into not only the performer I am today but the person I am,” JP added.

“The skills I learned there have allowed me to create a life as a performer and given me the confidence to create my own work which has now gone full circle, bringing me back to musical theatre.

“My mum knew I needed to have somewhere to train properly as I was so serious about making it my career so after seeing an advert in a newspaper I auditioned as a kid for the junior school and then moved up through the part-time school to studying for my full-time qualification.

“I would say the confidence I gained training at GAMTA is what drives me to achieve my ambitions.

“I had experiences at GAMTA training and working professionally from the age of eight that some people who have been working professionally in the industry for years still haven’t. It is a unique training experience.”

Shaaron Graham, who established GAMTA in 1994, said: “We’re so proud of JP, who was with us from an early age and became a driven and ambitious student. “We’re committed to providing high-quality training that allows our graduates to carve out a career as successful performers and JP is testament to that.”

Graduates from the Glasgow college can be found working all over the world, in London’s West End, on UK and European tours, in film and television, on cruise ships, for the National Theatre (London), the National Theatre of Scotland, and for regional producing theatres around the UK.

The ideal candidate, who must be over 18 and living in Scotland, should be ambitious to enter the performing arts industry and be able to provide a reference from their current school.

Applications for all September enrolment can be made via the gamta.org.uk website.

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