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Screen stars align to join college’s sustainablity chats
Two leading stars of stage and screen joined in discussions on sustainability with film and TV staff from New College Lanarkshire (NCL).
Charlotte Riley and Tam Dean Burn participated in conversations as part of the college’s virtual and in-person event programme at its COP26 hub in Glasgow.
English actress Charlotte, who is known for stand-out roles in Peaky Blinders, Press and The Take, and is soon to be seen in American sci-fi series The Peripheral, chatted about her inspiration for co-founding an affordable childcare facility dedicated to cast and crew working in the industry.
Having launched The Wonderworks with business partner Mark Radcliffe near the Warner Bros Studio in Hertfordshire last year, Charlotte spoke with NCL lecturer Maureen Cuestas Rincon via Zoom about her focus on reusing props, costumes and furniture from film sets in the nursery and creating a sustainable career path, especially for women.
Charlotte, who is married to Venom star Tom Hardy, spoke about the disparity she experienced in the support that she personally received to return to set after having children, compared with seeing poor support offered to her fellow crew members.
She said: “It came out of necessity really, of watching huge swathes of talented people, who once they became parents, finding it impossible to get back in or even stay in the industry.
“This was one of the things that I felt that I could have a go at doing and offering and hopefully making a difference to the industry. We all know how hard it is to get into the industry, but staying in seems to be even more difficult, so any mechanism that helps people to do that is useful.”
Having now also established a mobile educational facility for The Wonderworks to provide childcare for filming on location, the actress is campaigning for all productions to allocate a childcare budget by 2024 to pave the way for equality in the film and television industries.
Film and TV lecturer Maureen Cuestas Rincon said: “I first met Charlotte as I was interested in her campaigning argument about talent retention.
“When the opportunity with the COP26 hub for the college came about, Charlotte was very willing to help but for various reasons couldn’t make it in person so she ‘zoomed in’.
“I was inspired to ask her to join us as the film and TV department at NCL have a real commitment to creating the best opportunities for the students. Chats like the one with Charlotte provide as full a picture for them as possible on the whole industry, its challenges and what’s happening in the background to address those.
“I love that our department are open to facilitating such talks – it really allows our students to get their finger on the pulse of the industry they will join.”
The virtual discussion on The Wonderworks was followed by an in-person conversation with Scottish actor Tam Dean Burn, whose 40-year career in stage and screen includes roles in Taggart, River City and Outlander, narrating 10 of Irvine Welsh’s audiobooks, and touring a one-man show of Filth.
Film and TV students and graduates of NCL recently collaborated with Tam to create the music video The Sit Down for Glaswegian community street band Brass, Aye?
Written by band leader Richard Merchant to raise awareness of the climate crisis, the song was created as part of the band’s Making Moves Project, and was funded by Creative Scotland.
The music video was directed by Burn, filmed by current NCL students, edited by NCL alumnus Andy Dunn, and supported by Tricky Hat Productions.
Lecturer Kim Beveridge, who was an associate artist and producer for the project, said: “I’ve been part of Tricky Hat’s Artist-in-residence creative team for Ward 23 Partick East and Kelvindale since the early development stage in spring 2019.
“During the last lockdown, we created a sound walk called Round Our Place that took audiences on a journey around the area, through audio, listening to stories and music from the community via an app on their phones.
“The collaboration with Brass, Aye? felt like a natural extension of this, seeing the community walk, talk, make music, film, and sit together to have an open and honest chat about the change they want to see, demanding to be heard and for ‘talk’ to be turned into action.”