Acting and Social Mobility

Acting seems to be in the headlines a lot at the moment. The issues of who gets to be an actor, who actors represent on stage and on screen, and what kinds of social groups are excluded from acting, have been major sources of media discussion. From Lenny Henry and David Morrissey, through to Edward Kemp and Judi Dench, high profile figures have shown a great deal of concern about the diversity and openness of the British acting profession.

Reflecting on these concerns, Sam Friedman (LSE), Daniel Laurison (LSE) and Dave O’Brien (Goldsmiths) are conducting a research project about acting and social mobility that aims to contribute to these debates. They have been working with data from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey and are now looking to interview actors about their experiences of becoming an actor, the trials and tribulations of getting work and how acting relates to other areas of their lives, such as their social networks and cultural tastes.

The project isn’t funded by anyone and is supported solely by the free time and hard work of the research team. We are looking to interview actors from a range of different social backgrounds, but are particularly keen to hear from actors from minority ethnic and/or working-class origins. Unfortunately we cannot pay, but we are happy to offer coffee and lunch in exchange for an hour of your time!

If you’d like to participate in an interview please contact: or

Dr Dave O’Brien, Senior Lecturer Cultural Policy, Goldsmiths
Dr Sam Friedman, Assistant Professor, Sociology, LSE


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