Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


The Acting Class Screening

Clothworkers’ North Building LT (Cinema) (2.31)

The screening will be followed by a discussion with film makers Mike Wayne and Deirdre O’Neill.

The Acting Class (77 mins) is a documentary feature film by Mike Wayne and Deirdre O’Neill that explores the causes and consequences of class stratification in the acting profession.  The documentary speaks to both successful actors who are concerned about the obstacles to participation in the arts for the next generation of actors (e.g. Christopher Eccleston, Maxine Peake, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Samuel West) as well as struggling actors trying to break into the profession now.

The film explores the link between success and economic support and social networks, discrimination within the industry, the link between education and opportunity, the London-centric nature of the business and the precarious nature of the work.  This is an issue not just for those who see their dreams thwarted because they do not have the ‘bank of mom and dad’ to back them.

Who gets to be on our stages and screens matters to all of us. Whose stories get told, what images we have of ourselves, who we think ‘we’ are, helps shape our identities. And that is political.

The Acting Class has been shortlisted for the AHRC’s best Research Film Award 2017.


Deirdre O’Neill is a working class lecturer and filmmakers. Her forthcoming book Film as a Radical Pedagogic Tool explores the way a radical pedagogy of film grounded in the experiences and everyday realities of the working class can provide a starting point for a critical engagement with and a materialist understanding of how society is organised. She is the co-director (with Mike Wayne) of the feature length documentary The Condition of the Working Class (2012) (www.conditionoftheworkingclass.info)

Mike Wayne is a Professor in Screen Media at Brunel University. He has written widely on politics, class and ideology in film, television and the media. He is the co-director (with Deirdre O’Neill) of the feature length documentary The Condition of the Working Class (2012) and has written widely on Marxist cultural theory. His most recent book, Red Kant: Aesthetics, Marxism and the Third Critique (2014) is published by Bloomsbury.

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