Belfast Telegraph

Video: Belfast drama student's surprise 'good luck' message from Titanic actress

By Gary Grattan

Bethany Milliken, a young acting student from Belfast - who is performing a scene from the feature film “Titanic” for her current drama exam - got a lovely surprise when she got a good luck message from actress Charlotte Chatton.

Charlotte played Madeleine Astor in the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, which starred Leonardo De Caprio and Kate Winslet in the leading roles and went on to be one of the biggest grossing movies of all time.

She is a former student of Belfast-born acting teacher Peter Ferris, who has also coached Martine McCutcheon, Claire Sweeney, Louise Redknapp and many other household names.

In her note to Bethany - who is a pupil at Mercy College in north Belfast - Charlotte wrote: "I just wanted to say break a leg! Exams are a lot like auditions in that it's hard not to get nervous as the stakes feel high, but truly your relationship with your craft and your connection to story are the gateway to any resulting success.

"When we can forget about all else aside from the character circumstances and focus only on what our character would be focusing on is when the magic happens...

"Anyhow, that's just a little advice that I am sure you don't really need, being that you have Peter to guide you. He helped me to delve into some of my bravest acting explorations for which I will always be grateful.

"I hope to see your work in the future."

The message has inspired this year's pupils at the school - who have a lot to live up to as last year's students' results for their LAMDA Exams were among the highest throughout the world.

One recent student, who equalled the highest mark obtained by the Mercy College students, is now studying in Guildhall on a Laurence Olivier Scholarship.

Peter said: “Charlotte’s message has really inspired the students - especially in her last film 'American Typewriter', Charlotte worked closely with Tom Hanks. She now lives in LA but has family from Belfast and so really wanted to help us in anyway she could."

Bethany chose the scene because she has been obsessed by the story of the Titanic from a young age, and even had a birthday cake shaped as the iconic ship.

Peter was chosen as one of the top 50 teachers in the world for this year's Varkey Foundation Global Teachers Prize.

He was flown to Dubai in March for the Global Teachers' Prize conference and ceremony and is now a global teachers' ambassador for the foundation.

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