Belfast Telegraph

BBC launches training scheme to increase opportunities for disabled actors

The corporation has set targets to increase its number of disabled on-screen talent by 2020.

Actors with disabilities are being offered the chance to broaden their talents as the BBC launches a nationwide training scheme as part of their drive to hit diversity targets.

Class Act: A Nationwide Search And Skill Factory will assist budding stars who are working on their show reels, as well as offering tutoring in auditioning, business skills and script and character work.

The programme comes as the BBC aims to meet a target by 2020 of having 8% of all staff, including on-screen talent and those in leadership roles, with a disability.

Disabled actors are invited to apply for the intensive three-day workshop, which also includes the opportunity to build their contacts and showcase talents to professionals across the industry.

As well as hitting targets, the programme is aimed at giving the BBC the widest possible talent pool from which to choose future stars.

Earlier this year, Daniel Laurie, who has Down’s syndrome, drew praise for his performance as Reggie in Call The Midwife.

Alison Walsh, the BBC’s disability lead, said the scheme will provide a “wake-up call” to creators of dramas over a need to work harder to consider disabled actors for all productions.

She added: “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.”

To apply, disabled actors are invited to submit a self-taped audition, not exceeding two minutes.

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