Newcastle Theatre Royal is launching a free, full-time training course for young actors.
The Project A programme will be led by actor and director Philip Hoffmann and is described by the theatre as the first dedicated institution for actor training in the north-east.
Starting in September, the course will enrol 16 aspiring actors between the ages of 18 and 25, who will undergo practical and theoretical training by Hoffmann and other industry professionals across three terms.
The year-long course will culminate in a summer performance, with hopes the final production will then be toured around the north-east.
Hoffmann said there was “huge need” in the region for quality training, and added: “For many years now people in the industry have been asking why there isn’t a dedicated actor training institution here in the north-east. Our talented young people shouldn’t have to leave the region to get access to the best professionals, and so we hope that Project A will provide the perfect solution to this problem.”
Project A’s inaugural year will be free of charge to successful applicants. Hoffmann told The Stage this was because money “shouldn’t be a barrier to the new, hopeful, working-class actors”.
He continued: “It’s extremely expensive to get high-quality actor training of any description, one-year or three-year. So I suppose the Theatre Royal is responding to a need.”
The programme’s first year has been funded by a local foundation, which has asked to remain anonymous.
The course will run at the theatre for at least three years, and it is hoped it will continue to be free for students – either by the continuing support of foundations, or by using bursaries funded by local businesses.
Applications for September enrolment are now open and will close on July 15.