Culture

Michael Sheen starts new creative arts scheme to help working class people break into the industry

04 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
Michael Sheen. Picture by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Actor Michael Sheen has started his own creative arts scheme to help people from working class and under-represented communities in the UK to break into the industry.

The Welsh Hollywood actor, from Port Talbot, says he wants to get more people from more diverse backgrounds into the media industry.

A Writing Chance is a UK-wide project designed to discover new talent and support new writers trying to break into the creative industries.

The actor told ITV News: “As I’ve got older, I’ve realised more and more that it wasn’t just luck or chance, or as much as I would like to think, my talent, that led me to have the opportunities that I’ve had.

“I come from a working class background in Port Talbot, a steel town, and you know, my family, going back generations are working class and I’ve seen that the opportunities that I’ve had and the pathway I had have kind of disappeared over time as I’ve got older as various things get cut and the money’s not there, schools are not doing this or that.

 

 

“And so I started to feel more and more really that I had the opportunity and the desire to try and make sure that people could have at least the same opportunities I had, let alone expanding it out to people who didn’t have the kind of good fortune that I had who come from areas like me.

“So I was already feeling like that and I think during the pandemic it’s made those inequalities and those unfairnesses even more extreme. And so it gave a bit more urgency I think to the idea to get behind something and starting something up.

‘Amazing’

Michael Sheen continued: “I was incredibly lucky, I come from Port Talbot, not necessarily somewhere you would think would be really into acting, but we have Richard Burton who came from Port Talbot, we have Anthony Hopkins who came from Port Talbot, Catherine Zeta Jones is just from up the road, Rob Brydon, all these amazing people who’ve come from that area, so when I was growing up…we had examples out there, there was no reason to think that it can’t happen for us, because it had happened for people like us.

“And so our community was also supportive in that way. If you don’t get to see people like you, who come from your background, out there doing stuff, it can undermine your confidence as to whether that is something for you.”

But it’s not just performances on the stage and screen that the actor wanted to talk about.

He also praised Wales for their performance during the Euros, as Rob Page’s men reached the final 16 in the tournament.

Michael Sheen said: “It’s an amazing achievement for a country as small as we are really, for the pool of people you can draw on, it’s amazing.

“For Wales to have this incredible team of players and both Euros as well, I mean, the last one, it just changed the country, it galvanised the country so much, so we couldn’t be prouder of the team.”

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Chris
Chris
3 months ago

Last time Dame Judi Dench did this, the pompous Eton oafs like Bendydick Cumberbucket threw an Eton tantrum, called it patently absurd and threatened to leave the country. Then left the country anyway. The double barreled 2nd generation children of grand thesps, like “Lozza” Fox have acting all sewn up and they’re not going to want to share with the plebs, let alone the Taffeah plebs. Think how many Welsh accents you hear ANYWHERE in “British” acting outside of S4C. Maybe if Caualty needs a moron or a smack addict. Michael Sheen is one of our greatest actors and therefor… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
3 months ago

All our towns, and villages, could look at Port Talbot. Little theatres could be the answer?

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago

Michael Sheen for the first president of an independent Wales!!

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

I’d certainly vote for him.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
3 months ago

The King ofP.T.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago

This problem is nothing new. it goes back to the days when local authority grants for HE came under pressure and the arts was the first to go. Kurt Vonnegut used to say that artists were the indicator of the health of a society. ““I sometimes wondered what the use of any of the arts was. The best thing I could come up with was what I call the canary in the coal mine theory of the arts. This theory says that artists are useful to society because they are so sensitive. They are super-sensitive. They keel over like canaries in poison… Read more »

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