by Ashleigh Beaudoin/ Special to the Langley Advance
Sigourney McAuley started her acting career young, in the backyard of her family’s home in Walnut Grove.
It has never crossed her mind to do anything other than act, and her acting career took flight when she was accepted into a two-year acting workshop in New York, at Circle in the Square Theatre School in 2013.
“I knew that New York would be the next level, for where I want to take my career,” McAuley told her hometown newspaper, the Langley Advance.
The youngest of five children, McAuley, now 25, grew up putting on plays in the backyard with her twin sister, and starring in dance shows in the family kitchen that were choreographed by her older sister.
A B.C. girl to the core, McAuley said she wouldn’t change her roots, experience, or training for the world. But, for her it is time to follow her dreams – dreams that she has been reaching for since she was four years old.
“I remember I was three years old… walking up a big hill, I was with my mom and I just stopped, looked at my mom and I said to her ‘Mom, one day I’m going to win an Academy Award’ and she said to me ‘Okay’.”
Reflecting further on that life-altering moment: she recalled: “I looked back and then I just ran up the hill.”
From there she blossomed into school plays and then on to study at Capilano University, first in the acting for stage and screen program, and finally earning her bachelor of performing arts.
Now, this outgoing, spunky young actor has stood on a New York stage that has boasted actors like Al Pacino and Hugh Jackman.
Vancouver and Capilano gave her the foundation she needed, but going to New York showed McAuley that she could be a leading lady.
“I am now surrounded by people and I feel like I belong,” said McAuley.
Now that she has finished at Circle, she continues to pursue acting in New York.
During her time in the Big Apple she has played her favourite role, as Maria in Twelfth Night, rubbed elbows with musical theatre great Audra MacDonald, and even had a run-in with Hugh Jackman.
In February, McAuley had the opportunity to be one of eight people sharing her knowledge and playwriting skills through a teaching artists program. It is an opportunity for performing artists to work with school-age students, showcasing the performing arts to the next generation.
McAuley wants to encourage others to chase their dreams, just as she has from the very beginning, no matter what obstacles she has to face on the way.
“The most challenging thing for me so far has been putting myself on the line being here and having people be able to reject it,” McAuley said.
How does she combat the challenges? With the unwavering belief that she is doing what she is meant to do, the support of a close-knit family, and the drive to never give up.
With her family behind her, McAuley is constantly working on her craft, taking part in a showcase with the improve group Tap NYC, working on independent films, and auditioning for stage, screen, and film.
When she looked to the future, she said that no matter what happens, she will always be an actor, just as she swore to her mother more than 20 years ago.
Bolstered by words told to her by her teachers at Walnut Grove Secondary, she said that she knows that she is in the right place.
“You hear ‘no’ 100 times more than you hear ‘yes,’ and every ‘no’ is closer to that ‘yes’,” McAuley said.
“Someone’s got to do it, so why not me?”