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WFTV in Manchester: Breaking the Class Ceiling: Panel Talk & Networking

Join WFTV in Manchester for a conversation celebrating and reflecting on what it means to be a working-class woman in the film and TV industry, followed by networking.

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WFTV in Manchester: Breaking the Class Ceiling: Panel Talk & Networking
WFTV in Manchester: Breaking the Class Ceiling: Panel Talk & Networking

Time & Location

19 Mar 2024, 18:30 – 21:00 GMT

HOME, Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN, UK

About the Event

Join WFTV in Manchester for a conversation celebrating and reflecting on what it means to be a working-class woman in the film and TV industry.

Chaired by hosts of The Proper Class Podcast, actor Laura Checkley and theatre director Hannah Chissick, joining the panel will be Michelle Greenidge (Actor), Emma Lawson (Commissioning Editor, Comedy, BBC), Alison Hunt (Script Editor, Coronation Street), Claire Bleasdale (Casting Director) and Michelle Stein (Producer).

This panel will be celebrating working class talent in film and TV and exploring some of the barriers for women from working class backgrounds to accessing the industry, such as caring responsibilities and attitudes in the workplace. The panel will be spotlighting what initiatives the industry already has in place to improve access and inclusion, and what more can be done.

Following the panel there will be the opportunity to network over drinks.

Event Schedule:

18:30: Guest arrivals and check in

19:00-19:45: Panel talk hosted by Laura Checkley and Hannah Chissick

19:45-20:00: Audience Q&A

20:00-21:00: Networking

Panel

Emma Lawson - Commissioning Editor, Comedy, BBC

Emma has over 20 years experience in scripted television across various production and development roles; working with major indies including Objective (Peep Show, Star Stories, Meet the Parents), Fremantle (Count Arthur Strong) and Roughcut TV, where she stayed for 10 years working with Ash Atalla across multiple comedies including five series of Cuckoo & People Just Do Nothing. In 2019 Emma moved to BBC Studios to produce Series 1 of Trying, the first scripted comedy for Apple TV+, which led to an in-house commissioning role at the streamer. She left Apple in 2021 to produce Smothered, a sitcom she originated for Sky Max, before moving into her commissioning role at BBC Comedy in 2022. Emma is a highly passionate regional development and working-class inclusion advocate - she co-founded the North East Comedy Hot House in 2018 as a way to develop regional comedy talent and connect them with broadcast opportunities. She has continued this work within her role at BBC, leading on various outreach projects including the BBC Comedy Collective and BBC Comedy Grants initiatives.

Alison Hunt, Script Editor

After training as a Broadcast Journalist, Alison made the move to TV drama where she has been for the past twelve years.

Starting out as Researcher on Coronation Street, she progressed to Assistant Script Editor and then Script Editor.

During her time at ITV she has also worked on Emmerdale and travelled to Australia to gain experience with the editorial team on Neighbours.

She is passionate about opening up access to the industry and championing talent from under-represented backgrounds. Alongside her day job she also works with several Universities, giving students advice and guidance on kick starting their career.

Claire Bleasdale, Casting Director

Claire trained as an actor at Manchester School of Theatre (1999 - 2002) and worked professionally in theatre, film, television, and radio before moving into casting.

She specialises in finding new talent through creative practices, as well as working with agents and groups to connect with their new and trusted talent. Claire includes street and workshop casting in her casting process. Building connections with incredible grassroots communities and groups to unearth fresh faces. Her work is grounded in finding authenticity and actors with an edge.

Claire cast the BAFTA winning film Cowboy Daveand other award-winning shorts including Requiem, starring Bella Ramsey and Matthew Dunster’s directorial film debut Judy, starring Maxine Peake.

In television she has cast five series of the Broadcast digital award and BAFTA nominated Meet the Richardsons.

In Theatre Claire has worked on various projects for Manchester International Festival and The Factory. She has cast a number of productions for Shakespeare North Playhouse, most recently Richard, my Richard by Philippa Gregory, their christmas production Wind In the Willows and the opening production Matthew Dunster and Not too Tame’s Olivier Nominated A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Michelle Stein, Producer

Michelle Greenidge, Actor

Michelle Greenidge is a British stage and screen actress.

She played the pivotal role of Michaela Coel's on screen mother in the BBC/HBO 2020 multi-award winning black- comedy drama 'I May Destroy You'. Also known for playing Rosa in the critically acclaimed BAFTA nominated Channel 4 drama series ‘It’s a Sin’, as well as starring as Mrs Manning in ‘Mangrove’ the first film in Steve McQueen's Small Axe anthology series. Michelle has had a starring role as Valerie, the Tambury Gazette’s long-suffering receptionist in all 3 series of Ricky Gervais's Netflix black comedy Afterlife.

Since 2020, she has starred in both series of Diane Morgan’s BBC Two comedy ‘Mandy’ as Mandy’s best friend, Lola. She starred in all three seasons of Sky’s police comedy-drama series ‘Code 404’ as DS Judith Papastathopoulos,alongside Daniel Mays, Stephen Graham and Anna Maxwell-Martin. She has starred in Netflix’s Kaos alongside Janet McTeer and Jeff Goldblum.

Michelle has also had roles in Channel 4's Adult Material, ITV’s Grantchester, Alex Rider on Amazon Prime and the feature films Venom, Let There Be Carnage, Cruella, My Happy Ending, with Andie MacDowell, Miriam Margolyes and Tamsin Greig and the upcoming Lonely Planet, starring alongside Laura Dern and Liam Hemsworth.

Her theatre credits include playing Trudy in ‘Nine Night’ at the National Theatre, for which she was nominated in the Best West End Debut category at the Stage Awards 2018, She then went on to win the Best Supporting Female Actor at the inaugural Black British Theatre Awards in 2019 for the same role. Also in 2018 she starred in debbie tucker green’s critically acclaimed ‘ear for eye’ at the Royal Court Theatre. She is very proud to be an Ambassador for the life changing Theatre Company Clean Break.

She can most recently be seen as Carla Sunday in Doctor Who.

Hosts

Laura Checkley is a queer, working class Actor, Writer, Comedian and Podcaster. She began her career as a stage actress but quickly moved to comedy in 2006 when she met her double act partner forming the hugely successful duo Checkley & Bush. They wrote, produced and performed their sell out shows in Edinburgh and all over the UK. Since then Laura has gone on to be a staple in the world of comedy appearing in shows like; This Country, Red Dwarf, Brassic, Action Team and BAFTA award winning shows like Detectorists & In My Skin to name but a few. Her breakout role as lead character Terri King in BBC’s hit comedyKing Gary saw her nominated for many awards including The National Comedy Award for best comedy performance. She has since gone from strength to strength appearing in hit films Military Wives and Bridget Jones’ Baby’ Most recently Laura made a return to the stage where she played lead role in dystopian comedy Hope Has A Happy Meal at The Royal Court and can now be seen starring in Channel 4’s hit drama Screw, which also saw her nominated for best actress at the TV Choice Awards.

Laura is also Co-creator and host of The Proper Class Podcast, which has seen them nominated for best comedy podcast at both the National Comedy Awards and The Independent Podcast awards. Laura also has many scripts in development and is currently penning her own comedy drama Dawn, which she was commissioned by the BBC to write.

Hannah Chissick has directed over 200 plays and musicals nationally and internationally.

She was the 2024 recipient of the Best Director of a musical award at the OFFIES. Most recently Hannah directed Treason a new musical at Drury Lane as part of the summer concert series and the subsequent tour and Palladium performance Little Wars starring Juliet Stevenson and Sophie Thompson, the 50th anniversary production of Alan Bleasdale’s Down the Dock Road  at The Royal Court Liverpool, Mother Courage and Her Children Southwark Playhouse, Pack of Lies at the Menier Chocolate Factory with Jasper Britton, Finty Willaims and Chris Larkin.

The International tour of Flashdance which won best musical at the Daegu musical theatre awards.The workshop of Hadley Fraser Amour by Jeremy Sams and Michel Legrand at the Charing cross Theatre for which she was nominated for best director at the Off West End awards.

As a devout south Londoner Hannah is very proud to co-creator and co-host with actress Laura Checkley of “The proper class podcast” a celebration of working-class success.

Hannah studied Drama at the University of Hull and, immediately after graduating, worked as Assistant Director on the play Art in London and New York. She then won a Bursary from the Channel 4 Directors’ scheme and spent a year as Mark Clements’ assistant at Derby Playhouse. After leaving Derby, Hannah returned to London to direct Jamie Theakston, Steve McGann and Chris Luscombe in Art by Jasmina Reza at the Whitehall Theatre and then spent three months in Manchester as Associate Director for the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. In 2003, Hannah became the youngest women in the UK to become an Artistic Director when at the age of 25 she joined Harrogate Theatre, where she stayed for three and a half years.

As well as her own work Hannah was associate director to Matthew Warchus on Boeing Boeing, directing 4 casts in London, 2 on Broadway and 1 in Melbourne.

Hannah has directed in most the UK’s leading drama schools, including the Royal Academy of music where she directed Amour, Rags, Sweet Smell of Success, the Wild Party, and Light in the Piazza as well as directing Sunday in the park with George, Parade, The Beautiful Game, and Ragtime for the National Youth Music Theatre Hannah has worked on many large-scale events, including as associate director of the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth games

If you are not a member and would like to join, membership costs just £100 + VAT/yr, please click here or email admin@wftv.org.uk

At WFTV, we want our events to be accessible for everyone. If you have any access requirements, please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please contact admin@wftv.org.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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