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David Hayman: How can working-class youngsters ever hope to break acting’s class ceiling?

Category: In the News
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Leading actor David Hayman follows our Leading People research on actors to investigate for the Scottish Sunday Herald

SO, shock horror, the worst kept secret in the acting profession is out. The posh boys, such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and James Norton, are getting all the best jobs. Recent research by the Sutton Trust found that 73 per cent of polled actors were from a background of privilege and that 47 per cent of Bafta winners had been to public school. This, in a country where the middle class make up only 27 per cent of the population.

Over the last few months, such well-respected actors as Julie Walters, James McAvoy, David Morrissey, Ian McKellen and Christopher Eccleston have expressed concern that working-class actors are being sidelined. Are they right?

My own professional journey may give you some indication as to the challenges facing working-class actors. On leaving school in Drumchapel, at 16, I started work as an apprentice in the Glasgow Steel Roofing Co in Springburn, the place my father worked as an electrician. I had no choice in the matter. “You start on Monday,” I was told. “We need the money.”

Read the full piece here