Autism affects one in every 100 people, according to Autism.org.uk, but those classified as on the spectrum with a love of acting should not let it stand in the way of their dreams.
Travis Smith, a 17-year-old actor from Pontypool, Forfaen, is embarking on the second series of The A Word, a BBC drama about a young man with autism which has received critical acclaim.
Smith was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome while in primary school and recalled how he would act up in class, have panic attacks and suffer from anxiety – but his love of acting was constant throughout his entire childhood.
It took the teenager some convincing to audition for the role in The A Word, but those close to him persuaded him to travel to London to try out.
When given the chance to audition, Smith’s passion and talent shone through and he was given the role opposite acting greats such as Christopher Eccleston and Morven Christie.
“Autism is everywhere and it’s important for a television show to show the public we’re not all just Rain Man. I’m terrible with maths! Acting is my thing,” the young actor said.
Acting classes in Manchester could help more young actors like Smith pursue their dream of treading the boards or landing a role on the small screen and beyond.
And there are more benefits to enrolling than just honing your craft. Acting classes can enhance your communication skills, improve your posture and even give you a boost of self confidence, while skills such as improvisation are great for learning to think on your feet.