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BBC launches drive to increase opportunities for disabled actors

Daniel Laurie as Reggie in Call the Midwife. Photo: BBC Daniel Laurie as Reggie in Call the Midwife. Photo: BBC
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The BBC has launched a training programme to increase the number of disabled actors working in the organisation.

The scheme, entitled Class Act, invites disabled performers to submit a two-minute self-taped audition.

Thirty successful applicants will take part in an intensive three-day workshop in London, where they will be tutored in audition and camera technique, acting and business skills, and script and character work.

At the end of the workshop, actors will take part in a showcase for industry professionals, but the scheme does not guarantee work.

Alison Walsh, pan-BBC disability lead, said: “Onscreen 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.

“[The scheme] will provide training opportunities and exposure for new talent as well as established actors who have yet to have their ‘big break’. Crucially it will provide a wake-up call to drama creators that they need to work harder to consider disabled acting talent for all productions – not just those with a disability theme.”

As part of its diversity and inclusion strategy, the BBC has set itself a target to ensure that 8% of people on screen are disabled by 2020.

Diversity on and off screen in scripted and factual productions will also be monitored by Project Diamond, a new initiative developed by the Creative Diversity Network.

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