Evan O’ Hanlon (21) is a performer from Waterford currently pursuing his dreams in London. He trained in professional musical theatre and dance at Bird College UK and is currently in his graduating year. Evan has always been passionate about musical theatre and acting, which led to the inevitable move to London where so many have gone before him.
Life in a Day
A DAY in the life for me usually consists of physical activities. I’m very grateful to attend Bird College where each day is different. I do ballet, jazz, contemporary, MT Technique, Tap and Singing lessons. I also do rehearsals for our 3rd year musical and run back and fourth to pineapple dance studios to audition for shows, as well as working a part-time job on the weekends. I’ve flown back to Waterford to quarantine with my family during these strange times so my busy lifestyle has stopped. Right now I am taking online classes, doing home workouts and trying to take time to do the things I never usually do. It’s a struggle to always keep motivated during this pandemic and sometimes it all gets to you but I think people need to realise that it’s okay to chill out and have movie days, be scared of the uncertainty and not be motivated, there’s no correct way to deal with this quarantine but just to remember it will get easier and small steps everyday will get you back on track to where you were. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
What school did you go to?
I attended De La Salle secondary school. Doing what I wanted to do for boys was tough in school and I always had a hard time but with De La Salle their connection with music and performing and getting to do the musical every year created memories I’ll never forget. I wasn’t really good at academic stuff in school so doing the musicals kept me sane!
What teacher do you remember most vividly?
The teacher I remember most is probably Brother Ben. His passion for music and the school choir was something I’ll never forget! He would always ask me how I was getting on in shows and also encourage me to do well.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
It’s weird because for me it wasn’t really that long ago but I always knew if I wanted to pursue a career in musical theatre and film I would have to leave Waterford. So I left and moved to Dublin at the age of 15 to attend The College of Dance which scared the life out of me so I guess I would tell my 15-year-old self to just believe in yourself and always work hard because you never know what’s around the corner.
How do you relax?
I’m one of those people that really struggles to relax as I love keeping busy but my favourite thing to do is watch movies and also videos clips from shows and try learn as much as I can from actors’ performances and take inspiration from them. I also like a good drink and night out with my mates to escape the madness!
What is your favourite film and piece of music?
My favourite film is the ‘Pursuit of Happyness’ starring Will Smith. It’s such a motivating movie for a guy that literally starts of the bottom and no matter how tough life gets and how bad your circumstance may be if you keep on going on you’ll get to where you want to be. My favourite piece of music is anything from the musical Shrek!
When was the last time you cried?
Besides when rent is due, the last time I cried was with my housemate Naomi. We were watching a movie called The Impossible and then the room went silent and all you could hear was little sniffles, we then turned to look at each other and both of us were crying, then that turned into a lot of laughter as neither of us wanted to cry in front of the other!
What has been your happiest moment of recent times?
There’s been a few in the past year or so, one them was when I back up danced for Pink at The Brit Awards in the O2 London. Being on that stage was something I will never forget and I also got to meet my biggest inspiration, Hugh Jackman, who is one of the must humble and down to earth people I’ve ever met. Most recently was being signed by Goldmans Management, as getting an agent after college was a massive goal of mine to achieve. Finally, back in November my family flew over to London to surprise me for my 21st birthday! I never expected it to happen, I was never so shocked in my life. Family is everything to me, especially during these uncertain times, so having them there to celebrate my birthday with me meant a lot to me.
Do you pray?
I do pray yes but If I’m honest I don’t pray a lot. I do believe in God and I truly believe that my uncle Sean, who passed away so many years ago, is looking over me so whenever I feel stressed out sometimes I like to pray to him but other than that I don’t pray that much.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is snakes. I don’t like anything about them. I would love to face my fear and hold one but it would take a lot to get me to do that – if I haven’t ran a mile before they bring the snake over to me.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is a St Patrick’s Day badge I was given by my uncle Sean before he passed away back in 2007. I look after it all year round and keep it in a safe place and I’ve worn it every St Patrick’s day since. It looks the same as when he gave it to me and it means so much to me.
What is your favourite thing about Waterford?
My favourite thing about Waterford would have to be the people and sense of community because I live in London and everything is moving so fast you forget what it’s like to just stop and chat to someone. I never thought I’d miss the saying, Well Boy and Well Girl. So every time I come back to Waterford and go out in town the people are what makes coming home so worthwhile. I also miss a blaa which is essential every time I come home, I go into my nanny and grandad’s and we sit around, have a cup of tea and a sausage blaa.
If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?
One thing I would change about Waterford would be the funding for the arts. I really don’t think there is enough of it for young Waterford performers. There is so much talent coming out of Waterford at the moment and it deserves the funding to help nurture and develop the young and upcoming talent.