Having read Julie Walters’ recent interview in The Daily Telegraph, I began to ponder on Walters’ Working Class Warning. Is a career in acting becoming more and more difficult for the working class to access? Does a silver spoon fast track you, and more importantly sustain your career in the acting world?
Julie Walters is a heroine of mine. I have grown up in awe of this lady’s capability to stop me in my tracks with her power to share emotional truth on stage and screen. Her autobiography is also a must read for any actor.
My first reaction to Walters’ warning was “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
Before reading the article I had never considered Walter’s class, only her talent. And, as I thought further, I found myself tipping Walters’ concerns on their head. Perhaps a working-class background is actually a gift to performers.
Having experienced struggle, having weathered hardship, will this not deepen an actor’s emotional depth? Doesn’t the best writing regularly explore these life conflicts?
It is the individual who counts, and not the class they come from
We are all aware of the benefits drama school training can provide to its students – often it can be crucial to an actor’s progression. But life experience can be just as valuable as any training that drama schools can offer.
So what will happen if financial assistance for drama school places is stopped altogether?
Will Walters’ warning, of a future where only the ‘posh’ can afford to act, materialise? Or will new barriers only serve to ignite the burning desires of budding working class actors, making us work harder to rise to the challenge, to get, what we know, is deserved to all.
Drama school fees may be rising but with this we must rise to the challenge. I might be being overly optimistic, but if we decide to unite or find our own way to fund our acting success, the results we will get in return will only taste sweeter.
I may be young, but one thing I do know is that with £7 left in my overdraft with mounting debt, my prayers were answered before I gave up. The cards you have been dealt are the ones you play. How you play is up to you – and I am a firm believer that it is the individual who counts and not the class they come from.