THREE budding stars from a Leeds drama school are setting their sights on Hollywood after getting main roles in a new television drama.Connor Matthews, 17, Seattle Best, 19, and Emma Rafferty, 14, beat off hundreds off hopefuls for a part in Sky TV’s new show The Endz.The teenagers, who are all at Centre Stage Academy in Yeadon, will grace our television screens on September 7.The show, dubbed as Shameless meets The Wire, is set on a rough inner city council estate in Manchester.
Principal of Centre Stage, Carol Bicker, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s amazing and incredible that three of our students got parts when hundreds went for the audition.“It makes me feel really proud and they are great kids – they deserve a break.“I’m sure they’ll all go on to bigger and better things.“The next step is Hollywood!”Connor, who lives in Yeadon, Leeds, has previously starred in Funeral For A Friend’s music video for their single, Sixteen. He has also featured in BBC1 drama Waterloo Road and The Bad Mother’s Handbook on ITV with Richard Pattinson.He said: “I was so surprised when I got this role. I’m proud to get this far and it’s all really exciting.“I’ll be watching it at home with family and friends.“It will be weird seeing myself on TV – that feeling never goes away.”Seattle, of Harehills, Leeds, will play the character of Ellis.He has also been in Waterloo Road and acted in reconstructions for Crimewatch.He said: “It’s a great feeling to get the part.“My character is a bit of a bad lad, which is fun to play.“Filming is fantastic at the moment – we’ve just done episode one.”Emma Rafferty, 14, of Otley, will play a schoolgirl in the Sky show.She said: “I was the youngest at the auditions. I was really nervous but enjoyed it so much.“This is what I’ve always wanted to do.“When the camera comes on I get butterflies but acting with the other two boys from the academy makes you feel more relaxed.“I just love being on TV and would love to break in to films as well.”The three will be filming in the run up to the Academy’s Summer Activity Week, which runs from August 1 to 5 and August 8 to 12.
Waterloo Road: 70 Leeds kids land role in TV drama Dozens of families across Leeds will have special reason for tuning into the new series of TV drama Waterloo Road.For no fewer than 70 youngsters from the city have got parts in the latest run of the show, which starts tomorrow. The youngsters from Centre Stage in Yeadon will play school pupils in the hit BBC1 programme which stars Denise Welch, Angela Griffin and Jason Done as teachers in a tough comprehensive. And even though the new series has not yet hit our screens, the producers have been so impressed with the Centre Stage children, that they have already been signed up for NEXT YEAR too. Filming has already started on the 2011 series, with the 13 and 20-year-olds, travelling over by coach from the Yeadon theatre school to the show's purpose-built set in Rochdale.
Centre Stage principal Carol Bicker said she was very proud of her students. She said: "They're great and they've obviously really impressed the producers because they've already asked them back. "We've had some of our young people do Emmerdale and commercials but to get 70 children on one series is something else." Meanwhile, Centre Stage has been running a two-week drama, song and dance workshop for around 60 children at its base at The Academy in Yeadon.
The children learned key scenes from musicals such as Hairspray, Grease, The Lion King, Glee and High School Musical, complete with costumes and props. Carol said: "It was designed to give them a taste of the stage and they could try acting or singing or dancing or all three. "It was also a fun way to keep them busy during the summer holidays and for us to be able to spot new talent." Carol opened The Academy earlier this year as a focal point for community arts in North West Leeds. Crafted out of a redundant industrial unit, the building has been transformed into a new four-studio arts centre, complete with its own recording facilities, a casting agency and costume and prop hire stores. Carol moved her own Centre Stage group into the building but eventually she hopes to create a space where full productions can be performed by local theatre groups.