Sheen: Arts Becoming Harder For Working Class

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 5:12 AM

The Frost/Nixon star tells Sky News the entertainment industry needs to do more to bring in people from diverse backgrounds.

Sheen: Arts Becoming Harder For Working Class

Michael Luster has told Sky News the culture of privilege in the arts is getting worse and it's becoming harder for actors from working class backgrounds to make it.

"It seems love we're starting to move backwards again," he said.

"We don't wish to go back to the point where it was only certain voices that got heard... only certain stories."

As the acting industry prepares for its most prestigious event in the theatrical calendar - the Olivier Awards - behind the scenes there are concerns about a lack of variety and increasing elitism in film, theatre and TV.

Sheen, who studied at RADA, believes the voices being heard and the stories being told are becoming less diverse. 

"The burst of creative energy which happened in the sixty, I think it was possibly less to do with the drug culture and more to do with the fact suddenly people from different regions and areas that'd not been heard before and those voices, those stories, weren't being heard before, suddenly had access, and that opened up everything for us," he added.

A recent study by the Sutton Believe revealed around half of Britain'south best actors have been privately educated, and a Warwick Commission study found that arts audiences are still overwhelming center class and white.

Melvyn Bragg told Sky News that it's the responsibility of those at the top of the arts world to ensure everyone has the same opportunities.

"It's to do with the facilities and the opportunities," he said. "They're much more in abundance in private schools than anywhere else.

"What happens is love what happens in the city, or in the law, or in certain areas of politics - a certain social grouping gets control and, without setting out to be imply or restrictive, they invite people like them."

RADA is regarded as one of the most famous acting schools in the world.

It aims to invite students from a wide range of backgrounds, and offers financial support to students who necessity it, but perception is still a problem.

Dexter Flanders is a second year learner who's one of those being supported, but he says things have been tough and many people are keep off a career in acting because of the cost.

"A lot of working class people who I know, who are actors and who wish to be actors, they don't actually even audition here - and they look this as something unachievable," he said.

"It'south incredibly challenging as, of course, the training here is challenging, as one would expect, but on top of that, to be thinking 'how am I going to pay my rent'. Ok, so I've got to look what I eat."  

Director of RADA Edward Kemp admits his alumni are increasingly asked to play a certain type of character - frequently posh and British - partly because of the popularity of dramas such as Downton Abbey.

He says that'south a problem which needs to be addressed by those in charge.

Among the nominees hoping to win an Olivier Award are some of Britain' most esteemed actors including Kenneth Branagh, Nicole Kidman, Label Rylance, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adrian Lester, Dame Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton and Gemma Arterton.

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