Damian Lewis has added his voice to the ongoing debate about whether there is too much of a class divide in the world of acting, insisting that the arts are not dominated by privately-educated men.
Following the rise of stars like Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, there has been much discussion about whether there’s a need for greater representation of working-class performers within the British acting scene.
However, while ‘Billions’ star Damian has said he agrees that there is definitely a need for greater diversity, he doesn’t see an abundance of upper-class actors as an issue.
During a webchat with The Guardian, he explained: “If theatre, film, TV, dance, opera, ballet are going to remain true artforms, they must be reflective of all society… but that’s a different point from saying that only privately educated actors are becoming dominant in acting, because statistically that’s not true.
“A handful of actors from privileged backgrounds have done well, very well, and of course that’s high profile news. But whenever I work, wherever I work, as an actor educated at Eton, I’m still always in a minority.
In the past, singer/songwriter James Blunt has spoken about how he felt his own boarding school education had held him back in the music industry.
In an open letter to MP Chris Bryant published by The Guardian, he wrote: “EVERYONE I met in the British music industry told me there was no way it would work for me because I was too posh. One record company even asked if I could speak in a different accent.
Similarly, last year, Laurence Fox hit back at comments made by actress Julie Walters about a greater need for working-class actors on both stage and screen.