Open Door have unveiled the graduating actors selected to be part of Open Door Elevate,a brand-new initiative now in it’s third year, designed to help emerging talent from lower-income backgrounds as they enter the professional industry.
Open Door was launched by actor David Mumeni in 2017 to help provide budding actors and behind-the-scenes creatives from low income households with the opportunity to enter the industry. The organisation counts Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Riz Ahmed and David Morrissey among its supporters and in December, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the British Independent Film Awards. Its participants are already making waves in the industry, with graduate Jerome Lance securing the leading role in forthcoming prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds, Dionne Brown who landed the leading role in upcoming Apple TV+ series Criminal Record alongside Cush Jumbo and Peter Capaldi, as well as multiple participants landing roles at the National Theatre, Regents Park Open Air Theatre and at The Old Vic.
As factors such as the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing barriers to the industry continue to disproportionately impact on those from lower-income backgrounds, Open Door once again supports emerging talent preparing to graduate from Drama School who had not previously been involved with the organisation.
The actors selected for the 2022/2023 Elevate Group are: Ava Hinds-Jones (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts), Eva Morgan(Central School of Speech & Drama),Holly Rhys(Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama), Kara Lynch(Rose Bruford College), Osamudiamwen Audu (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) and Prince Owusu (Guildhall School of Music and Drama).
Open Door Elevate launched last year, with each Drama School in the Federation of Drama Schools invited to nominate two candidates who met the criteria of being a final year student on their respective B.A. Acting Course and who come from a household with a combined income of £30,000 per year or under.
Forty individuals were put forward by Drama Schools and the selected seven actors were chosen by a leading industry panel made up of Open Door founder David Mumeni, Shaheen Baig (Casting Director), Amy Ball (Head of Casting at the Royal Court), Will Hollinshead (Talent Agent at Independent Talent) and Kat Oliver (Talent Agent at Conway Van Gelder Grant).
Open Door said: “We’re delighted to launch this programme again this year. This group of actors are really exciting. The Elevate programme has proven to be a great support to those that have been on it before with participants going on to securing leading representation and work. Such as Ntombizodwa Ndlovu starring in The Mountaintop at The Manchester Royal Exchange and Kitty Watson featuring in multi BAFTA nominated film Tár alongside Cate Blanchett.”
The actors supported by Open Door Elevate will merge with those participating in the Open Door Graduating Group programme, which offers support to actors already part of Open Door as they prepare to transition from Drama School into the professional industry. The actors selected for Open Door Elevate will receive the same opportunities, enhancing the support they may receive at their drama school. Actors will participate in Q&As and workshops, with the recent programme including a workshop delivered by The Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Q&As with leading talent agencies including Independent Talent, United Agents, ARG, Emptage Hallet, Conway Van Gelder Grant, 42 Management and Curtis Brown.
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