'My dream was, and still is, to perform on the West End'
My Story: Jason Hannon, Voice and Dance, University of Limerick
Jason Hannan's lifelong ambition is to perform on London's West End and, two years into college, it is less of the pipe dream that he once thought it was.
The 20-year-old Limerick city native had an interest in music from an early age and had always enjoyed stage school, but thought performance was something he would pursue as a hobby rather than a career.
While a pupil at Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Co Limerick, Jason was an enthusiastic participant in the school's musicals, as a substitute for not doing music as a subject. "I felt in my element doing shows and creating music; it was an outlet, a way of expressing how I felt or just to entertain."
But, when it came to filling out the CAO form, he was planning to put Journalism and New Media at the University of Limerick (UL) down as his top choice, until a friend brought the BA Voice and Dance, also at UL, to his attention.
His initial reaction was to laugh "because I didn't think it was a course", but it didn't take him long to check it out.
Jason went to the UL Irish World Academy of Music and Dance Open Day "and I fell in love".
He says his "dream was, and still is, to perform someday on the West End and for a long time it was just a pipe dream, something that seemed too far-fetched for a journalist to accomplish."
However, the combination of his passion and the support of his parents persuaded Jason to follow his ambition: "Why not make it a reality?"
According to Jason, the course caters to all his needs. "It helps better my vocals, I am learning various different techniques in dance and I am also partaking in a few drama productions that help with acting.
"The main reason why I chose the course was because it was something I could see myself doing further down the line; something I would love and something I can pursue as a profession."
Jason is about to enter the third year of the four-year honours degree programme and, even over the summer holidays, he put his skills to good use, teaching dance moves at a summer camp at Scoil Gobnatan, Mallow.
As well as honing their own personal talent in voice and dance, students of this course also learn vocational skills such as entrepreneurship, audio/visual technology, and community music and dance, among others.
The UL Irish World Academy also offers a certificate in music and dance, over one or two years, for which direct application (not via the CAO) is made.