The Wigan academy for screen stars of the future

Andrew in the studio
Andrew in the studio

Wiganers fancying themselves as future stars of TV and cinema are being handed a new chance at fame.

Screen Academy is a drama school for adults that has been established at the Wigan Pier-based Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) North and offers specific screen acting (rather than theatre) workshops from experienced agency workers, feeling there is talent out there which is currently untapped.

The classes are held for budding actors and actresses on a weekly basis

The classes are held for budding actors and actresses on a weekly basis

Children who want to realise their acting potential are also catered for thanks to Screen Stars Academy, which features separate tuition for four to 17-year-olds.

Bosses say the part-time courses are ideal for adults who need to hold down a day job - either because they need to keep existing career irons in the fire or because they can’t afford full-time training.

The classes consist of groups of no more than 20 people, and involve students being taught screen acting theory, which they then can transfer to roleplaying for camera in a studio.

Course leader and senior acting tutor at the school Andrew Blake said: “Wigan is an area which has a lot of untapped potential when it comes to the dramatic arts, with a lot of the emphasis being put on cities such as Leeds, Manchester and London.

“Not everyone in the borough can afford to take time out and do a three-year degree, and spend tens of thousands of pounds on an MA just to get an opportunity to do something that they have a passion for.

“This is where we come in, and allow people to come to us on a weekly basis for no more than a couple of hours to gain invaluable experience acting in front of a camera, which is also something I don’t think is stressed enough in most drama schools.”

Wiganer Mr Blake, who graduated from leading drama school Mountview with an acting degree and has a postgraduate certificate in education, believes that current students both young and old are benefitting from the intimate sessions.

He said: “We have a waiting list of people wanting to get on board, which is great because it shows that the interest is there.

“Essentially we want to nurture all of the people that come through our doors and give them the opportunity to showcase their acting.”

Adults and children can also be represented by the academy through their very own agency, which Mr Blake said was invaluable in putting people in contact with influential people in the industry.

The adult classes at Screen Academy are available to over-18s, and are held every Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9pm.

Children’s classes run on Saturday mornings from 10.30am to 11.30am.

For more information about the courses, visit www.screenacademy.tv.