The Daily Mail is reporting that working class children will be denied the chance of becoming professional actors unless they can study drama at school, actor Michael Sheen has warned.
Sheen, who famously played Tony Blair in The Queen, warned that the path into acting was being closed for many young people from working class backgrounds.
Amid criticism that the profession is increasingly dominated by people who were educated at public school, he called for greater support for drama in the state school system and for youth theatre.
“If you want more working class actors you have to support education. There has to be a drama department in schools,” he said.
“If there’s not, you can forget everything else after that. Nothing else matters. You haven’t got working class actors suddenly deciding to become actors and suddenly being good at it at 30.
“So you have got to support youth drama groups but also you have got to force youth drama groups to go out and outreach.”
Sheen was speaking at an event at the Houses of Parliament highlighting the latest research by the Sutton Trust showing the UK’s “professional elite” is still disproportionately educated at private schools and at Oxbridge.
Do you agree that more needs to be done to encourage drama within state schools? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie