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.

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’.

Top Agent Una Evans O’Connell Pops in to Run Classes in Liverpool and Leeds

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Úna Evans-O’Connell established EOC Management in March 2013 after 24 years in the industry. EOC Management has a base in both Manchester and London. Úna worked in the Casting Department at Granada Television for over 11 years working on the BAFTA award winning series Children’s Ward, Coronation Street, Wilmot, Cold Feet and many more. She joined Pemberton Associates as an agent 13 years ago where as well as working in all genre she was responsible for developing the Musical Theatre side of the agency. Her current clients have been cast in the new Ridley Scott epic feature film The Exodus for Twentieth Century Films, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, Dream On, Emmerdale, CoronationStreet, Give Out Girls, Hank Zipzer. They have worked in various theatres and recorded for BBC Radio.

Gemma Hancock and Sam Stevenson Casting CDG

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We were thrilled to recently host workshops for all our current students with Gemma Hancock and Sam Stevenson. Between them they have cast a number of projects including ‘Silent Witness’, ‘Inspector Lynley’, ‘Holby City’ and ‘Eastenders’. They are currently casting ‘One Man Two Governors’ for the National Theatre.

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