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Television school gets an acting masterclass

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STAFF AND pupils at Thornhill Community Academy are already TV stars having been filmed in the hugely successful Educating Yorkshire series.

But now they have been given a drama masterclass by a famous actress from Yorkshire.

Huddersfield-born star Jodie Whittaker, who features in the hit series Broadchurch, has spent an afternoon with pupils at the school near Dewsbury.

She captivated the student audience by delivering a talk on how she launched her successful and varied acting career in TV, theatre and film.

Her CV includes film appearances in St Trinian’s, One Day and Attack the Block. 

She has also starred in the television series Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Return to Cranford and Marchlands.

The 31-year-old’s most recent TV appearance came in Broadchurch, which was up for an award at the Royal Television Society’s Awards last night.

Educating Yorkshire took home the Best Documentary Series award at the ceremony in London yesterday,

Thornhill’s aspiring actors and actresses were given the chance to ask questions of the TV star before she gave an acting class to a group of pupils at the school.

She said: “I had an amazing time working with the wonderful kids at Thornhill Community Academy.

“It was great to witness their energy and enthusiasm for drama.”

Rachel Townend, a year 11 pupil at Thornhill said: “It has been the best experience meeting Jodie and attending her acting workshop.

“I have learned so much and her help and advice have given me the encouragement to follow my ambitions.”

The academy’s assistant head teacher Matthew Burton said: “Having Jodie here really has been a boost for the kids and shows that the people at the top really do care about the next generation.”

The school has enjoyed several moments in the limelight since it starred in the Channel 4 documentary last year.

The eight-part series was filmed by 64 fixed cameras set up in classrooms, corridors and offices around the school.

The series was a huge hit attracting audiences of more than three million viewers and turning some of the staff and pupils including Mr Burton and head teacher Jonny Mitchell into stars.

The final episode showed Mr Burton take inspiration from the King’s Speech film to use music to help pupil Musharaf Asghar overcome a stammer and celebrate GCSE success.

It led to the film’s producer Gareth Ellis-Unwin taking his Oscar into the school after being so moved by the episode.

 

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