Yorkshire acting academy accelerate on to global stage

A Yorkshire acting academy is going global following the launch of new diploma courses.

The rapidly expanding Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting (YAFTA) has received a raft of international applications for its new diplomas, which are expected to see the academy’s turnover double.

Since adding the two diploma courses to its impressive range of existing courses, applications have arrived from as far afield as the United States, Germany and South Africa.

With a focus on delivering industry expertise and specialist knowledge to its students, YAFTA expects its turnover to increase from £350,000 to over £700,000 thanks to the growing number of courses and students.

Founded in 2013, the academy was born from head of YAFTA, Charlotte Armitage’s desire to set up an academy where she herself would want to act and continue to learn her craft. Having started with just one one-hour class a week, YAFTA now delivers four acting diploma cohorts and 14 evening classes for around 200 budding actors.

Since then, the academy has helped scores of actors secure roles in the likes of Casualty, Holby City, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and CBBC Creeped Out, and has 15 members of staff, bringing both jobs and talent to the Yorkshire region.

Head of YAFTA, Charlotte Armitage, said: “It’s been great to see YAFTA grow and in just a few years be recognised in the industry as a well-known and well-established academy. We’ve been inundated with applications and we’re thrilled to see our reach has now gone international. The UK has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its TV and film acting and production standards and it’s a huge boost to see YAFTA now on the global radar of budding students of the industry.

“We have really high hopes for the success of the new courses and the expected growth in turnover as a result is really promising. We are already known for our acting courses in the industry, so we wanted to introduce a production course that would provide the same high quality teaching and expertise.”

All classes are led by tutors with a breadth of TV and film credits to their name, with Ian Bevitt, a director of almost 400 episodes of Coronation Street, among the many tutors leading modules on the new Film & TV Production diploma.

Charlotte, herself an actress who has regularly appeared in the likes of Coronation Street and Happy Valley, added: “What makes YAFTA’s courses unique is that students from different disciplines are able to work together so that they see the entire process from screenwriting, through acting and then production. Regardless of what course the student wants to be on, it offers them a holistic view of the fundamental procedures involved. That’s crucial for our goal of producing industry ready students.”

YAFTA Talent Agency is one of the few acting agenciesoutside of London that is a member of the Personal Managers Association and also offers responsible representation of graduates from its sister academy.

She said: “The film and television industry is notoriously difficult. You need to have tenacity and resilience and we prepare students for that. As well as expert tutors and a structured syllabus, we also provide a strong support network meaning students are fully supported from the get-go.”

As well as the new 18-month blended learning diploma courses, YAFTA also provides a range of part-time, evening and weekend workshops in its newly-renovated premises that sits opposite Emmerdale’s dedicated production unit on Leeds’ Kirkstall Road, a traditional TV production heartland in the North.

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