Acting – not for the working class?

There’s been a lot of discussion in the media about working class actors and the lack of diversity in UK theatre.

Most of the country’s current crop of top acting stars, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Emilia Clarke, were privately educated before they attended the most prestigious drama schools.

Drama school is the only way in for most Brits. Those that don’t formally train say that casting directors won’t consider anyone that didn’t attend one of the renowned schools.

Naturally, the drama schools claim their intakes are diverse, saying that the number of pupils qualifying for financial help proves that training isn’t just for the rich or middle class.

Interestingly, while acknowledging the excellence of the “elite breed” of actors like Cumberbatch, one acting coach told me:

“If you go to the Royal Shakespeare Company, it is full of working class actors. It’s very diverse, because they’re employed because of their talent. Plus television is full of jobbing actors.

“The working class actor has to work a bit harder to make the contacts and to stay in the frame compared to those that have the connections. But it’s not impossible.”

I’m sure, as a blogger interested in the arts and education, I’ll return to this topic again.

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