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Illawarra Mercury

a STAR in the MAKING

Date: 16/07/1999
Words: 526
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Applause
Page: 2
Cameron Welsh is cooking up a storm. DENISE EVERTON reports.

CAMERON Welsh trained as a chef but these days he is cooking up a storm of a different kind.

The 22-year-old Hunter Valley actor is sizzling on the small screen as Summer Bay's newest resident Mitch McColl.

Tied to a three-year contract and playing a 16-year-old whose childhood was anything but rosy, Welsh is getting his fingers burnt in the best possible way.

``In this industry the offer of three years' permanent work doesn't come along too often so you have to grab it," he said, having completed his first two months of filming.

``A few things can be daunting but there are also positives from the acting point of view.

``I have a very clear starting point with the character and he will develop over the three years.

``(Playing Mitch) was a bit weird at first. I had to think of what I was like at 16 and I've been told I was always old for my age anyway.

``That works because the character is 16 but he's seen a lot for his age, he's had a turbulent childhood, so it's okay to play him a lot wiser than the average kid."

Introduced to acting as a child courtesy of an uncle in the profession, Welsh also realised early just how tough the industry can be.

One week after completing his HSC at 17, Welsh moved to Sydney to be closer to the hub of the profession.

Convinced he needed to find his feet in the city and learn more about the industry before making his move, he followed his elder brother's example and entered the food industry.

Three years later, he decided to go for broke but the industry was slow to respond.

A guest role in Wildside, some short films and commercials were tempting morsels in a relatively bare cupboard, but Home and Away has changed all that.

While his long-term dreams lean more towards a role behind the camera, Welsh is enamoured of acting and is determined to do the hard yards in order to reap the rewards.

To that end, Home and Away is one of the best training grounds he could hope for.

``I see the next three years as a great opportunity to learn about TV and the craft and the technical aspect of acting," he said.

``I want to be able to walk away after three years and know I can hit my mark on the first take and know how to work to the cameras.

``You learn a lot from acting if you keep your eyes open and if you're interested.

``I'm passionate about it. I want to be involved in telling good stories and maybe affect a few people. That's what excites me about acting."

Welsh will learn quickly whether his impact on people is powerful.

Mitch McColl has just hitched a ride into Summer Bay (his first episode was last night ) and romance will bloom quickly for the homeless teen.

Could Welsh be the next Australian television heart-throb?

Home and Away screens on Prime Television, weeknights at 7pm.

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