SET FOR THE SCREEN: One of London's winners, actress Maia Watkins
THE HOOD movies' Aml Ameen, dance music royalty Goldie and chart-topper Ed Sheerean all have one thing in common - membership of TriForce Creative Network (TCN).
The 33,000-strong network boasts actors, producers, directors and others in pivotal roles within media and 'showbiz' who were bought together by actor and presenter Jimmy Akingbola and business partner Fraser Ayres over 10 years ago to address the lack of diversity within mainstream film and television primarily.
Akingbola and Ayres are on a mission to make the upper echelons of entertainment more accessible to those who are from backgrounds not typically associated with success or high earnings in the industry. This lack of collective success when scaled and compared to white upper class media practitioners has been found to be due to a range of factors, including race, perceived social position, the performing arts school one attended and the funding that is behind an individual's project; to name a few.
Using several interactive events such as the TriForce Creative Short Film Festival throughout the year to spread the TCN message of support and inclusivity, the duo run the MonologueSlam UK showcase which offers actors up and down the UK an audience with industry judges, including the Channel 4 Drama Commissioning Team. The competition is supported by Spotlight and Equity, both the hallmarks of professionalism for any actor who belongs to these organisations as a member. MonologueSlam UK is responsible for bringing to light talent such as Holby City's Chizzy Akudolu who also featured on the panel of comedy black history quiz show, Sorry I Didn't Know; shown on Channel 4 earlier this year.
All year, participants in MonologueSlam were observed in order to find contestants worthy of inclusion in the final, where Channel 4 picked 10 favourites to help develop as actors through Channel 4 Drama.
The 10 who made it are Hannah Margaret from Leeds, who was also crowned National MonologueSlam UK Champion 2016, Adaya Henry and Joanna Gay from Birmingham, Frances Pooley representing Leicester, Essex's Winston Sarpong along with Connor Mills, Maia Watkins (pictured above), Richard Rowe-McGhie, Debra Baker and Kayla Meikle from London.
“We are very excited with Channel 4’s commitment to this fantastic group of actors.
"We’ve seen them develop through the MonologueSlam UK initiative over 2016 and we know they’re ready for this opportunity.
"We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with Channel 4 in 2017.”
Ramy El-Bergamy, Channel 4 On Screen Diversity Executive, says:
“We’re incredibly excited about the 10 actors we’ve selected through this year’s MonologueSlam UK programme.
"The standard was incredibly high at the final, and with access to talent from all over the UK, we’ve been able to select a diverse pool of new talent that we will champion in Channel 4 Drama over the coming year.”
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