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During lockdown, acting student Ellis Howard wrote and narrated ‘The Same Boat’, which highlights the experience of people living in poverty. The video was commissioned by Church Action Against Hunger, the charity behind Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child hunger and was released in October in line with Challenge Poverty Week.
Ellis (pictured above), who is 23 years old and from Norris Green in Liverpool, also created his own blog and series of political monologues which reached over one million people and created a huge buzz on social media. His recent credits include HBO’s Catherine The Great with Helen Mirren and BBC Radio’s Return to Vegas. He’ll soon be appearing on Sky Arts in Romeo & Juliet – the first production by the National Theatre to be made exclusively for screen.
Ellis was also commissioned by Everyman & Playhouse as part of their ‘Theatre for Good’ community project, to mentor ten people from diverse backgrounds and help them to create their own work.
“Early on in lockdown I decided to use the writing, producing and acting skills that I learned at Rare to make a difference. I was concerned about the lack of support for the most vulnerable people in our society, so I created a series of blogs about my community, local heroes and people who were surviving the unimaginable.
“This led me to write content to support Marcus Rashford and the Church Against Poverty’s campaign to end hunger in Britain. I am also proud to be developing a TV series about life in Liverpool which truly reflects the beauty, humour and resilience of our city and its people.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without Rare, the school is unique, and I am so lucky to have had the benefit of such thorough training at such a young age.”
The arts and entertainment industry has been hit hard by Covid-19, but Rare has a track record of delivering success. The school, which is primarily known for its dancing success, has a scholarship and development fund which enables homegrown talent to train on a level playing field, regardless of their personal circumstances or financial backgrounds. The school offers level 3 BTEC programmes in dance, acting and musical theatre, providing students with the perfect platform to continue at degree or diploma level.
“We know it’s especially hard for our students at the moment, but to see our graduates continuing to work with some of the world’s biggest names and productions makes us incredibly proud and hopeful for the future.
“Providing our students with the right opportunities, as well as access to amazing tutors with real industry experience, to give them the best possible start is extremely important to us.
“We’ve had to adapt our teaching in order to follow social distancing guidelines and keep everyone safe, which has been challenging, but our students adapted brilliantly. We’re so happy to have them back.”
Rare’s acting and musical theatre graduates have appeared in TV and film productions for HBO, BBC, Sky Atlantic and Fox in recent years, they’ve starred on the West End and featured in prestigious UK theatre productions such as Othello, Cilla the Musical, Spring Awakening, Les Misérables, Hair and Six the Musical.
Another student, George Caple went on to study at RADA and has appeared in Tin Star for Sky Atlantic, The King’s Man for 20th Century Fox, played Romeo in Romeo & Juliet and Alex in A Clockwork Orange. Whilst Teleri Hughes was nominated for best actress in a musical for her debut performance as Ilse in Spring Awakening and has appeared as Ensemble/2nd Cover Eponine in the Les Misérables UK and Ireland Tour.
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