A professional actor before he became a writer, Coronation Street Creator, Tony Warren, was always a champion of local talent and acutely aware of just how difficult it was for disadvantaged young people to get a step on to the drama school ladder.
Shortly before his death in 2016 he discussed his wish for Coronation Street and ITV to establish a bursary that would support local actors from disadvantaged backgrounds in to training at drama school.
After extensive research ITV has chosen to work with The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, (LAMDA), The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) and Manchester School of Theatre, part of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
All the above schools are recognised industry leaders who regularly hold auditions in Manchester and the North West proving their links with the city and the region.
A supporter of the initiative, Actor/Director and long time friend of Tony Warren, Noreen Kershaw, said “Tony used to say to me – ‘We can’t stand still! We have a responsibility to find new outstanding talent, bring them on and encourage them, so let’s get out there and discover them. Who else is going to find and help them if we don’t? – Wise words from a man who was always ahead of his time.”
Coronation Street’s Executive Producer, Kieran Roberts, says: “I am delighted on both a personal and professional level that ITV Studios is able to fulfil Tony’s wish to create this bursary. Tony understood the need to give people a chance to shine and that financial circumstance meant a lot of great talent would go unseen. He was also a passionate champion of northern acting talent. In creating this scheme in his name we hope to make a difference for some fantastic actors of the future.”
The first successful applicant of the inaugural Tony Warren Bursary will begin their training in September 2018.