Famous actors in Harrogate school visit

Pictured visiting Harrogate are actors Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter.
Pictured visiting Harrogate are actors Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter.

Excited youngsters at a Harrogate performing school were thrilled by a recent visit by two of Britain's leading actors.

Students at Damien Poole Theatre Arts based at Harrogate Grammar School were treated to a masterclass in person by Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter.

Staunton is an Olivier award-winning stage and screen actress best known for BBC TV's Cranford and movies like Sense and Sensibility and Harry Potter while Harrogate-born Jim Carter has a distinguished CV including the role of butler Carson in ITV's Downton Abbey.

The academy's founder, Damien Poole, said the experience has been invaluable for the fledgling performers.

He said: "They are DPTA's patrons but they are so lovely and kind. They raced up from London just for the event and then had to shoot back again.

"The students were enthralled by their stories of their days at drama school and being on the set of Harry Potter with Daniel Radcliffe. They also posed for photos with the kids."

The DPTA was launched in Harrogate Grammar School's stunning studio space in January by Damien Poole.

An experienced actor and performer, Yorkshire-born Damien played Vince Fontaine in the West End in Grease and was the original Mad Hatter in Shrek the Musical alongside Amanda Holden.

He is also a close friend of fellow actor Danny Mac, who did so well in the last series of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.

The aim of his teaching academy is to develop the stage skills of young people aged between five and 20, as well as adults, interested in musical theatre, dance, drama and singing.

The masterclass by the VIP visiting acting talent included a Q&A about acting and their careers.

Damien said the two famous actors were both so busy it had been a stroke of luck they had managed to find the time to come to Harrogate.

He said: "Imelda's just finished her contract on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London while Jim has just finished making a new Brit comedy film on synchronised swimmers called Swimming With Men!"