Working Class Heroes
A weekend of conversations and live events to celebrate working class talent.
On screen and behind the camera, working-class talent has created some of the finest moments in British cinema. This unique day of events and screenings will pay tribute to the gifted modern actors and filmmakers who built their careers without contacts or cheque books to become role models.
Live onstage interviews will spotlight award-winning figures who broke onto the screen from working-class backgrounds. Actors and filmmakers including Lesley Manville, Maxine Peake, Asif Kapadia, Johnny Harris, Daniel Mays, Naomi Ackie, Cathy Tyson, Craig Parkinson and Phil Davis will all be present to talk about their careers and offer guidance to anyone building their own.
Elsewhere in the schedule, more live events will feature representatives from leading drama schools, casting directors and industry decision makers – while panel discussions will unpick the complex matter of what it means to be working class in 21st-century Britain. And the day is completed by a series of screenings of key films. The result will be a celebration that ends with a question - can working-class talent still thrive in British film in 2018 and, if not, what needs to change?
Onstage events are ticketed individually at £5/£3 for under 25s. A multi-ticket offer is also available including 4 onstage events for £10/£6 for under 25s, available by calling the box office on 020 7928 3232 or in person.
Please note the screenings of Shifty, Second Coming and Mona Lisa can be booked separately - tickets £6.50 or £3 (U25s).
Friday 13 April
Preview: Funny Cow + Q&A with actor Maxine Peake, director Adrian Shergold and screenwriter Tony Pitts
The brilliant Maxine Peake stars as a northern comedian struggling to be heard.
Saturday 14 April
One of Britain’s best loved actors discusses class in this keynote interview.
A unique panel of actors, casting directors and drama educators offer a roadmap through the crisis facing working class actors.
Lesley Manville and Naomi Ackie celebrate working-class talent in a unique masterclass.
Three award-winning actors and filmmakers discuss life behind and in front of the camera.
The Stories that Changed British Cinema panel discussion + The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
Actors Rita Tushingham, Tom Courtenay and Joely Richardson, journalist Paris Lees and filmmaker Jez Butterworth explore the gritty stories brought to life by Woodfall Films. Discussion will be hosted by BFI Senior Fiction Curator Danny Leigh.
When two old friends (Riz Ahmed and Daniel Mays) reunite, they find that life’s gotten a lot tougher.
Our expert panel discusses how to break the class ceiling of British film.
Idris Elba and Nadine Marshall play a London couple facing a cosmic crisis.
Join our live conversation with by Phil Davis and Dr Faiza Shaheen.
Bob Hoskins and Cathy Tyson star in this hard-bitten gangster movie/heartbreaking love story.
The Blue Room will be open throughout the day as a free and informal space to meet, relax and exchange ideas. From lunchtime, representatives of drama schools including RADA will be available to talk to young actors. In the afternoon, there will be free screenings, including the acclaimed documentary The Acting Class, starring Maxine Peake and Christopher Eccleston, attended by directors Deirdre O’Neill and Mike Wayne.