The BBC has launched a nationwide search for disabled actors for a development programme.
The programme, Class Act: A Nationwide Search and Skill Factory, will give participants the opportunity to be tutored in audition and camera techniques, acting and business skills, script and character work, as well as working with directors on scenes for their showreels.
Disabled actors are invited to apply for the intensive three-day workshop, which will be followed by the opportunity to build their contacts and showcase their talents to professionals across the industry. The showcase event is designed to encourage all who work with the BBC to draw on the widest possible talent pool.
To apply for the training programme, disabled actors are invited to submit a self-taped audition not exceeding two minutes in length. The training, run by ThinkBigger, will be held from 2-4 October 2017.
The programme is part of the BBC’s ambition to support and raise the profile of disabled actors. The BBC has set itself a new target for 2020 for eight per cent of staff, eight per cent leadership and eight per cent on screen and in some leading roles to be occupied by disabled people.
Speaking about the programme, Shane Allen, Controller, BBC Comedy Commissioning said, “It is crucial that we have more disabled people represented in our comedy output and bring through new disabled performing talent.”
“This is the most focused and practical way for us to unearth and nurture the talents out there who are looking for this career break.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama added, “This exciting new initiative will provide disabled actors with some of the finest training the BBC has to offer and give them the best possible chance to compete for opportunities.”
“Successful participants will be exposed to a host of industry contacts and will work on creating a great showreel to boost their career.”
Alison Walsh, Pan-BBC Disability Lead, said, “On-screen portrayal of disability is increasing on the BBC but disabled actors are still struggling to find a place – especially in roles not written specifically as disabled.”
“Although this scheme doesn’t guarantee work, it will provide training opportunities and exposure for new talent as well as established actors who have yet to have their ‘big break’.”
“Crucially it will provide a wake-up call to drama creators that need to work harder to consider disabled acting talent for all productions – not just those with a disability theme.”