Students Staff

17 November 2017

Glittering array of stars at East 15.

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:25 am

Stage and screen stars continue to pour out of the doors of the East 15 Acting School based at the Loughton and Southend campuses.

Melissa 3 weekly

Melissa Johns pictured centre

Disability campaigner and BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Melissa Johns hit the national headlines this autumn when she took on the role of Imogen, a love interest for Kate Connor in ITV’s Coronation Street.

In an interview in the Radio Times Melissa said: “There is a responsibility there – with soaps, you’re in people’s living rooms almost every night of the week, so it’s an amazing platform to make a social change. We still have huge barriers in society because people can be incredibly awkward around disability. And the more we see it on our screen, the more positive effect it has on society as a whole.”

Melissa has also been named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World, awarded by the global Junior Chamber International charitable organisation, for inspirational achievements in their chosen field.

Earlier in the year BA Acting’s graduate Katie Neil joined the cast of BBC One’s EastEnders playing Debra Hammond and Robert Gwyllim and Philip Hill Pearson both took on roles in the Saturday night drama Gunpowder.

The force is with Lily Newmark who is currently filming the Star Wars Han Solo Anthology feature directed by Ron Howard and she has been nominated in the British Independent Film Awards in the Most Promising Newcomer category for her work on Pin Cushion.

A trio of graduates are following in the footsteps of BA Acting alumnus Lee Armstrong, who had played the lead role of Albert in the last nationwide tour of National Theatre’s War Horse before having the honour of the opening lines in the blockbuster Dunkirk.  Sebastian Charles, Stephen Love and Tom Quinn have joined the cast of War Horse, scheduled to tour the UK until mid-2018.

Also on nationwide tour is BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Jo Ben Ayed who is playing the lead role of Hassan in The Kite Runner.

In London’s West End, BA Acting graduate April Hughes has joined the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child alongside fellow alumna Sandy McDade.  BA Acting graduate Ed Pinker is sharing the limelight with MA Acting graduate Harriet Leitch in the cast of The Mousetrap.

Behind the scenes, BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart is now Staff Director on Network at the National Theatre, featuring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) in the role of Howard Beale.

Having collected many accolades for her one-woman show Yvette at The Pleasance during the Edinburgh Fringe, BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Urielle Klein-Mekongo has been gathering prizes for her writing, including a place at the recent Lyric Theatre’s Lyric Fest where Jude Law performed a scene she wrote for him.

The success rolls out into 2018 when BA Acting graduates Dannie Pye and Blake Harrison will be sharing the small screen with Hugh Grant and Ben Wishaw in a new Russell T Davies production A Very English Scandal for BBC One directed by Stephen Frears.

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