【James McAvoy in fund pledge to help aspiring actors】
James McAvoy has pledged £125,000 to help aspiring actors follow in his footsteps.
The BAFTA-winning actor is funding a 10-year scholarship programme at his former drama school, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).
The fund will help those aged 25 and under who would otherwise be unable to afford tuition at the school.
McAvoy, who graduated from RCS in 2000, said he wanted to help young people achieve their potential.
“There are few opportunities for young people to engage in performing arts,” he said.
“I see tons of young people who are vastly intelligent but because they have this ingrained humility; it gets in the way of them expressing themselves and showing how brilliant they are.
"Drama breaks through barriers and it can give people the tools to walk into a room and express themselves.
"I really believe in that; it’s why I believe drama should be taught in our state schools from an early age and it’s why I am delighted to be part of creating the opportunity for young Scots to help them realise their potential through drama at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.”
McAvoy said his time at the academy in Glasgow had a “profound effect” on his life. He went on to win acclaim for roles in films such as Atonement, The Last King Of Scotland and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
He added: “I had that opportunity and I want the same for other young people out there who may not have even considered going to college or any other kind of higher education.
"I would say to any young person thinking about drama, ‘Go for it, do it, don’t be worried about what people are going to say’.
"I come from a place where nobody had done anything like it and it worked out pretty good.”
Doctor Who star David Tennant, Tom Conti, Alan Cumming and Robert Carlyle are all former students of RCS, formerly known as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD).
RCS principal Jeffrey Sharkey said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have James McAvoy enable and inspire young people to be part of the Royal Conservatoire.
"I have no doubt of the profound and long-term impact his incredible support will have on individuals, their families and their communities.”
Applications to the James McAvoy Drama Scholarship fund will open in mid-May, with applicants having to demonstrate that financial cost is the main barrier to their accessing pre-higher education drama training at RCS.