AN aspiring Port Glasgow actor is following in the famous footsteps of Welsh legend Anthony Hopkins.

Thomas McFarlane, 27, is studying musical theatre at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where the Hannibal Lecter star attended.

Thomas has his roots firmly in his home town, where he was brought up by his grandparents Tommy, 75, and Renee McFarlane, 78, who live in Pladda Avenue.

He said: "They gave up everything to support me and they have been with me every step of the way.

"I couldn't be grateful enough for everything they have done for me."

After leaving Port Glasgow High he studied music at Edinburgh Napier University, followed by a PGDE in music education at Edinburgh University.

Thomas taught for four years but at the same time continued with his passion for musical theatre, cultivated by his experience at Kayos Theatre Company while at school and performing with Inverclyde Schools Junior and Senior Choirs.

He said: "I continued to do amateur theatre which I had developed a passion for in school and last summer I decided to pursue this passion as a career.

"I was offered a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in February."

Last week he performed on the West End stage for the first time.

He was one of three backing vocalists for a charity concert of James Bond songs performed by big stars such as Rachel Tucker, Clive Rowe and Sam Edwards.

Thomas said he was blown away by the experience.

He said: "It was incredible.

"It was phenomenal being surrounded by so many successful people in the industry and to look forward to where my career will hopefully be in the future."

Thomas says that acting has always been a dream but he didn't see it as a viable option when he was younger.

He said: "It was never presented as a possible career for me.

"I never thought I could pursue it but I would say to people who are thinking about it to go for it and research it and see which course is best for you.

"There are so many drama colleges offering different courses."

Thomas says he's really enjoying his MA course, which runs from 9am until 7pm every day, plus extra hours rehearsing after that.

He said: "It's been even better than I expected.

"There's not been one day I woken up dreading the day ahead.

"I'm dancing at 9am and sweating buckets by 10am but I'm really enjoying it."

Over the last two weeks Thomas has been rubbing shoulders with top directors including Anthony Lyn, who directed Mary Poppins and the Lion King on Broadway and internationally, as well as being resident director for Miss Saigon and Les Miserables.

He said: "We also had a visit from Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer of musicals In the Heights, Hamilton and Disney's Moana.

"I draw inspiration from everybody.

"Anyone who is successful is successful for a reason.

"I have nothing but respect for people who are successful in musical theatre, it's such a hard career."


Picture credit: RWCMD