A scheme that helps young people from low-income households access drama school training is expanding its course to three new locations in England.
Non-profit organisation Open Door has also established an events strand, comprising free Q&A panel sessions with interviewees including Vicky McClure, Joe Dempsie, Vinay Patel, Bryan Elsbury and Shaheen Baig.
Founded in 2017, Open Door runs both acting and backstage programmes to prepare young people for the drama school application process. This includes one-to-one tutoring sessions and free auditions or interviews at some of the UK’s leading drama schools, including RADA, LAMDA and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, as well as free theatre trips and workshops.
Last year, the programme expanded beyond London for the first time, to the East Midlands. Both areas will continue on for 2019-20, running alongside new courses in Essex, Sheffield and Rotherham.
In partnership with Nottingham Playhouse, Leicester’s Curve and Derby Theatre, the organisation is launching Open Door Ignite, which will be open to the public and will promote the variety of jobs available within the industry.
They will be a combination of public and closed events, with workshops and Q&As held for 300 schoolchildren.
Confirmed panelists include actors McClure and Dempsie, and writers Patel and Elsbury. The events will also feature casting directors such as Baig, agents including Charlotte Davies, Hannah Wilkinson and Will Hollinshead, designer Khadija Raza and Sarah Brigham, artistic director of Derby Theatre.
Founder David Mumeni said: “There is a real want and demand for diversity right across the industry, not just in acting. But we have to start right at the beginning, at grassroots level. Young people have to first know these jobs exist and the routes in.
“This really excites me: the thought of hundreds of young people getting access to these talent and highly sought-after professionals.”