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Manchester is a cultural hotbed with a fascinating history that’s the third-biggest city in the UK. The city has undergone vast changes since the IRA bombing of 1996, becoming one of the exciting and diverse regions in Europe. Home to two globally-famous football teams, a host of world-class venues and a plethora of prestigious buildings, the city is just across the river from Salford, who’s quay is now home to Media City, base of the several BBC departments and countless other media organisations.

The city’s former Hacienda nightclub has been the inspiration for a host of vibrant bars and clubs. The Hacienda was based on Whitworth Street West across from what is now the cultural hub home, between 1982 and 1997 and was the base of the ‘Madchester’ phenomenon of the late 1980s and early 1990s, having a robust association with bands including the Stone Roses, New Order and the Happy Mondays. Oasis, arguably the city’s most famous musical export, played at the Hacienda in 1994.

Coronation Street, the world’s longest-running soap opera was shot at the iconic Granada Studios, just a short walk away from the former Hacienda site, between 1960 and 2014. Hacienda and Factory Records founder Tony Wilson AKA ‘Mr Manchester’, was a Granada Reports presenter for decades, diving his time between hosting regional news, launching new bands and much, much more. Corrie production has now moved just a couple of miles away to Salford Quays, with its former studios now being used for a range of cultural events.

Some of the most-loved UK TV series ever have been shot in Manchester. Iconic series synonymous with the city include Cold Feet, Mastermind, The Royle Family, Cracker, Queer as Folk, Red Dwarf, Prime Suspect and Brideshead Revisited. The city is also noted as a world-class place to eat and drink, playing host to a range of luxury eateries and bars, many of which can be found around Deansgate, St Ann’s Square and King Street. The city is also famous for its Northern Quarter, an area in the north of the city which features a plethora of record shops, alternative clothes shops, bars and cafes. It also has its own Chinatown, which includes a cluster of highly-authentic oriental restaurants and one of the most notable gay villages in the world, the extremely lively and welcoming Canal Street. Those seeking out rural scenery can reach the countryside in just 15-20 minutes.

Those seeking an educational day out in Manchester are catered for fantastically, with the Museum of Science and Industry, Town Hall and Library, Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery being amongst its most renowned places to relax and learn. When it comes to clothes shopping, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re on a budget or wish to enjoy a spot of retail therapy in designer boutiques, offering garments from some of the world’s most iconic fashion houses. The popularity of Manchester shows no signs of heading into decline, with Greater Manchester welcoming around 1.4 million international investors each year.

ActUpNorth are proud to have a base in this vibrant city.

Acting Classes in Leeds

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Act Up North Retina Logo

Founded by acting coach Peter Hunt in 2009, ActUpNorth is the largest and most successful independent training program for adults outside the London area. It is the leading provider of part time actor training with centres in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. The programs are designed to prepare actors for the industry by using highly skilled and successful actors and industry professionals alike. This ensures that actors receive top quality guidance and training to break into the industry.

Auditions to the courses are through group audition. All levels of ability are catered for. This allows adult actors to grow as professionals and have their tuition independently tailored to the individual needs as an actor and performer. This flexible approach and guest teaching spots have now also been enhanced by a recent partnership with ALRA London, adding to the already substantial professional support and training offered.

The Leeds centre was the first of the academies to open in 2009. Adult actors travel from as far as Hull, Newcastle and several other areas in the North East to access this training and modern new approach to acting. With 80 students over nights, ActUpNorth are now also introducing children’s acting classes on a Sunday from September 2015.

The sessions are regularly observed by industry professionals such as Casting Directors, Agents, Producers and Directors. The Leeds centre operates from a working television studio housing productions such as DCI Banks, The Syndicate and several other independent film and television productions which are on the rise in the area. As a direct result of this, many students have gone on to secure auditions and speaking roles in these productions.

ActUpNorth Leeds has a fantastic working relationship with the Northern Film School, allowing many students to take part in trainee director projects and films. This already had opened up numerous opportunities for adult actors training at the centre.

With its base in the heart of TV land on Kirkstall Road in Leeds, ActUpNorth Leeds has become the first port of call for many northern productions and casting directors, particularly Emmerdale which is based just across the road. As the largest and most successful training provider for adult actors in Leeds, the centre offers masterclasses by some of the top names in the industry such as Sue Jones Casting – ‘Nil by Mouth’, ‘Human Traffic’, Sue Jones Casting Director ‘Emmerdale’, June West Casting Director ‘Coronation Street’, ‘The Royle Family’, Stephen Moore Casting Director ‘Doctors’ and ‘Eastenders’, Sarah Hughes Casting Director ‘2 Pints’ & ‘Jonathan Creek’, Martin Gibbons Commercial Casting Director, Nicci Topping Commercial Casting Director, and Rick Laxton Hollyoaks Casting Director…. to name but a few. With ActUpNorth growing in popularity and success, the future for adult acting classes in Leeds looks bright. Watch this space…………………

A Wonderful Letter From Yvonne Okyere

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Hi Peter,

I hope this email finds you in good health. This is to provide an update to you all of what I’ve been up to since leaving ActUpNorth Leeds last year.

I returned to Ghana in West Africa to join my husband, see my family and also complete the Ghana Bar which is only 9 months (as in already qualified in the UK). Bring qualified in Ghana means I am able to practice as a lawyer in both Ghana and the UK. Thankfully I’ve been able to achieve all reasons why I relocated to Ghana. I will officially be called to the Ghana Bar in October this year and I’m really excited about that!

On the other side of the coin, I had a role in a movie called ‘Love Regardless’, playing the character of Rachael. Please find link on YouTube below.

This movie became very successful and I went on to receive two nominations for my performance in the premier edition of Golden Movie Awards. My nominations were for “Best Supporting Actress” and “Most Promising Actress”. The awards night was held on the 27th of June 2015 and I scooped the Most Promising Actress award. This was broadcasted online and in various newspapers. I have following the award had many TV and radio interviews etc. it’s all very exciting!

Thanks for the experience and training I received in Leeds. I’m very grateful!


Yvonne Okyere –Whalley

Huge Thanks to Mark Heller – Film Director Who Taught All Our Classes in Liverpool This Week

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Mark Heller began his career as an actor and trained at the prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. After several years working both on screen and on stage, Mark then started work as a director. Mark directed a number of plays in London’s West End, including the world premiere of The Diary at the Tabbard Theatre and Writers Block at the Players Theatre. Mark also work in the states and directed ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘Let it snow’ at the Beverly Hills theatre Los Angeles.

Mark Heller made his move from stage to screen as behind the Scenes director on Stephanie Daley with Oscar winners Timothy Hutton, Tilda Swinton and Melissa Leo. In the same year Mark wrote and directed his first short Film Tomorrow which starred Daniel Franzese

Mark directed his first feature film The Passage in 2006 which was produced by Lynette Howell of Silverwood Films (Half Nelson, Blue Valentine ) and Jeremy Kipp walker (Maria Full of Grace) The Passage starred Stephen Dorff and Neil Jackson and was accepted into the official selection of the discovery category at the Toronto film festival 2007. The Passage was also entered into the Durango film festival and won the Jury commendation award for best feature.

After the success of The Passage Mark went straight into directing Star Crossed a modernization of Romeo and Juliet which was filmed in Porto and had its premiere in Portugal summer 2009.

Mark’s third feature film The Mulberry tree, a drama centered on a young man working in a Rhode Island state corrections system and his relationship with a convicted murderer who is dying of AIDS, Staring Joe Morton. The Mulberry tree has won Best Narrative Feature Charlotte Film festival 2012, Best Narrative Feature Irvine International film Festival 2012, Best Director Prescott Film Festival 2011, Best feature Harlem Film Festival 2011, Best Actress Harlem Film Festival 2011, Best Actor Harlem Film Festival 2011, Best feature Jersey Shore Film festival 2011, Nominated Clint Eastwood filmmaking Award 2011.

Official section at Independent Film Festival Boston, Flicker Rhode Island Festival, Salem Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, Garden State Film Festival 2011, Carmel Film festival 2011, Vail film Festival 2012, SOHO International Film Festival NYC 2012, charlotte film festival 2012.

He went on to direct a new drama for the BBC ‘Justice’ starring Robert Pugh ‘Justice’ has been Nominated for a Television Broadcast Award 2012 and a TV Choice Awards 2011.

Huge Thanks to Jade McCabe – Casting Director Who Taught All Our Classes in Manchester This Week

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Jade has been working in casting for ten years with Emma Stafford. Starting on the BBC period drama, Casanova, with David Tennant and Peter O’Toole. Since then worked on commercials, Dramas and Feature Films. The commercials range from everything from KFC, Man UTD, Chevrolet, Natwest bank, Harry Potter Toys, Vauxhall, Iphone, O2 to name just a few. The dramas with Emma include BBC drama Clay, Waterloo Road (series 3 & 4) for the BBC, 4 O’Clock Club (Series 3 & 4) and is currently casting for Series 5 of Stella for Sky. Feature films include Submarine directed by Richard Ayoade and Four Lions directed by Chris Morris.

Huge Thanks to Liz Stevenson – Director Who Taught All Our Classes in Manchester This Week

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Liz Stevenson is from Chorley in Lancashire and studied at the University of Nottingham. She trained on the Theatre Directing MFA course at Birkbeck, University of London. Liz’s directing credits include The Country (Blackburn Empire Theatre), The Dumb Waiter (Lee Rosy’s), Beef (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Road, Orphans and Rope (Nottingham New Theatre). Liz has worked extensively in youth theatre, running workshops and courses for children and young people in the North West, including at The Royal Exchange Theatre, where she was resident assistant director. At the Royal Exchange, Liz assisted Sarah Frankcom (on Blindsided and That Day We Sang), Maria Aberg (on Much Ado About Nothing) and Nick Bagnall (on Britannia Waves the Rules and The Last Days of Troy – also at Shakespeare’s Globe). She has also assisted Justin Audibert at the Gate Theatre (on Gruesome Playground Injuries), Polly Findlay at the Menier Chocolate Factory (on Proof) and Maria Aberg at Hampstead Theatre (on Wildefire).

Liz has just won the JMK award and will direct ‘Barbarians’ latest this year at The Young Vic.

Suranne Jones Teaches at ActUpNorth

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Despite her busy filming schedule for ‘Scott & Bailey’ we are pleased to welcome Suranne Jones to ActUpNorth. Suranne will be running masterclasses sharing her years of experience in the industry.

Nina Gold Casting Visit

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We are very grateful to the team from Nina Golds office who popped up to run classes with all of our students in Manchester. Nina Gold casting cast the likes of ‘Games of Thrones’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Fall’ to name but a few.

Familiar Face Michelle Holmes Teaches Classes in Manchester

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Household name Michelle Holmes popped in to teach our classes in Manchester. Michelle has worked on TV for the last 30 years on shows such as ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘The Chase’ to name but a few. She is best known for her role in ‘Rita, Sue & Bob too’.

Our Acting Schools

Acting Classes Manchester

Acting Classes Manchester

4th Floor, Unit G
8 Lower Ormond Street
M1 5QF

Liverpool Acting Classes

Acting Classes Liverpool

Top Floor
24 Arrad Street
L1 9BQ

Leeds Acting Classes

Acting Classes Leeds

Studio 81
71 Kirkstall Road