The BBC has launched a new training programme which will focus on working with disabled actors currently in the industry, as well as finding new up-and-coming talent.
The participants of the scheme, which is called 'Class Act: a nationwide search and skill factory', will be tutored in auditioning, camera technique, business and acting skills, and script and character work. They will also be given the chance to work with directors on material for use in their showreel. The workshop will last three days, and give actors the opportunity to build contacts within the industry. The residential training scheme will be held in London from 2nd to 4th October this year.
Controller of BBC Comedy commissioning, Shane Allen, said increasing the number of disabled actors represented in comedy programmes is "crucial" and this new training scheme is the "most focused and practical way" to nurture new talents. The BBC’s target for disabled people within the organisation is 8% of all staff by 2020, including 8% of all screen talent.
Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama said the actors will be provided with the "finest training the BBC has to offer", while Alison Walsh, the pan-BBC disability lead, said: "Although this scheme doesn’t guarantee work, it will provide training opportunities and exposure for new talent". To apply, prospective actors should register their interest by visiting this website.
Disabled performers of note to appear on stage recently include Game of Thrones' Mat Fraser, who played Richard III for Northern Broadsides, and Genevieve Barr, a D/deaf actress who appeared alongside Matt Smith in Unreachable at the Royal Court. When he was appearing at the Hull Truck Theatre, Fraser said British television is “pathetic” when it comes to casting disabled performers.