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Christopher Eccleston: ‘The arts are controlled by middle class white men’

Christopher Eccleston has blasted the “middle class white men” who he believes are controlling the arts.
The 53-year-old actor has made a name for himself in the industry, taking on roles in TV shows including Doctor Who and The Leftovers and movies such as The Others and Thor: The Dark World.
He’s also become known for his theatre work, and will star in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) production of Macbeth next year (18). However, during an interview on TV show Lorraine on Wednesday (08Nov17), Christopher criticised the state of the arts industry, admitting he wouldn’t have got into drama school if he was starting out in the business today.
“Somebody like me would not get into a drama school now, no chance,” he said. “My parents wouldn’t have the finances now – there was a great deal of support at the time for people like me, from a working class background, to get into a drama school. It’s an ivory tower now, the arts, and it’s controlled by middle class white men.”
Christopher added that he is fearful people will stop going to the theatre and it will go the same way of ballet – becoming “an exclusive club”.
“It’s not about that,” he said. “The arts is supposed to be a voice for minorities – it’s not supposed to be chewing gum for the eyes.”
He is now hoping to use his time with the RSC to help with workshops encouraging young people from working classes to pursue a career in acting.
“At 17 I was thinking it was realistic that I’m going to play Macbeth at the RSC,” he explained. “I don’t think the equivalent child from my background is thinking that – I think they think the door is closed. The RSC are trying to address it, they’ve opened up some workshops, and I’m going to part of that, I hope, while I’m there.”

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