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Three decades of helping to nurture young talent ; Nottingham's Television Workshop will mark its 30th anniversary with a weekend of film screenings...

November 8, 2013


Three decades of helping to nurture young talent ; Nottingham's Television Workshop will mark its 30th anniversary with a weekend of film screenings and events at Broadway to showcase some of the successful actors who have passed through its training programme. Simon Wilson reports

IT has been a springboard to stardom for many young actors from Nottingham and beyond, including Oscar nominees and Bafta winners.

Many former students of the Nottingham-based Television Workshop have become familiar faces on the small screen over the past few years in Emmerdale and Coronation Street, plus prime-time dramas such as Broadchurch, Mr Selfridge, Longford and The Escape Artist, which is currently running on BBC1 with Toby Kebbell starring opposite David Tennant.

Toby has made the leap to the big screen, too, with roles in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, War Horse and Wrath of the Titans.

He's someone I'm incredibly proud of but whenever I call him up he's just the same daft Toby, says Ian Smith, director of the Television Workshop, which will be marking its 30th year with a weekend of events at Broadway (see panel on right).

Other success stories include Samantha Morton, Chris Gascoyne, Joe Dempsie and Pui Fan Lee.

Not a week goes by without an acclaimed Workshopper appearing on the screen, whether actors, writers, producers, directors, presenters or editors, says Ian, 59, a former school teacher who grew up in Carlton and started acting at the Lace Market Theatre, where he also ran a youth group.

It was from there that he was poached for the workshop that had been set up at Central TV in Lenton Lane to encourage youngsters to try acting.

Now based in Stoney Street, it has 300 youngsters, aged from 11 to 21, on its books who attend workshops on a rota basis six days a week.

Give me five minutes with them and I'll know if they have what it takes, Ian says.

Everyone that comes has a good time but they take the job seriously. The workshop's reputation for producing talent has spread across the country and beyond.

The film and television industry recognises what we do and we get requests on a daily basis for people to audition, says Ian.

Even Angelina Jolie knows about what they do. Jack O'Connell, who starred opposite Michael Caine in Harry Brown, is in Australia playing the lead in her latest film, Unbroken.

She came to meet Jack's family in Derby and she said to me 'Oh, Ian Smith, I've heard so much about you.' I thought 'blooming 'eck, she's knows more about me than I do about her!' O'Connell's latest film, Starred Up, will be getting a special preview screening at Broadway as part of the event. The workshop has contributed greatly to the industry and its presence is vital in the East Midlands, says O'Connell.

Joining in the celebrations will be Wollaton actress Vicky McClure, who won a Bafta for This is England '86 and was recently seen in ITV drama Broadchurch. Others include Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge), Andrew Shim (A Room For Romeo Brass), Anjli Mohindra (Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures) and Georgia Groome (Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging).

It runs next weekend at Broadway. For ticket details visit For the full story about the Television Workshop see Weekend magazine on Saturday, November 16.

Weekend of events

Friday, November 15 A Room For Romeo Brass (15) with live commentary, 8.15pm: Vicky McClure, Andrew Shim, Ben Marshall and Ladene Hall will host a running commentary on the acclaimed film, directed by Television Workshop patron Shane Meadows Saturday, November 16 The Borrowers (U), the Sarah Jane Adventures: Death Of the Doctor (Part 2) (U), 2pm: Aisling Loftus (Arrietty in The Borrowers) and Anjli Mohindra (Rani in The Sarah Jane Adventures) will be on hand to talk about their roles in these TV dramas, the second of which features the outgoing Doctor Matt Smith.

London To Brighton (18), 5pm: Georgia Groome and producers Al Clarke and Rachel Robey will be on hand for the screening of Paul Andrew Williams' acclaimed gangland thriller which stars Georgia, who was 13 years old.

Starred Up (18), 8.15pm: A special preview of Jack O'Connell's new film, in which he plays a violent and troubled teenager destined for a life behind bars. Critics have hailed his performance as barnstorming (Daily Telegraph), hugely impressive (Screen International) and of startling unpredictability (Variety) with Hollywood Reporter claiming The actor would seem to have live wires running through his whole body.

Sunday, November 17 Watch With Workshop: Children''s Television (U), noon: A chance to see a selection of the best of the children''s television programmes that featured Workshoppers, including the Bafta-winning Your Mother Wouldn't Like It, Woof!, Dangerville and the current CBBC hit The Dumping Ground, whose star Kia Pegg (Jody) will be in attendance.

Workshorts (15), 2.30pm: A selection of some of the best British shorts of the last decade with Aisling Loftus, Harriet Cains, Holly Lucas and Lauren Carse.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

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