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Bafta-winning Daniel Kaluuya’s praise for theatre school where star was born

Actor Daniel Kaluuya, who starred in hit horror movie Get Out, remembers his Anna Scher community theatre roots

23 February, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Daniel Kaluuya at Sunday’s awards ceremony

GET Out star Daniel Kaluuya thanked the community theatre which coached him as a child as he collected a Bafta on Sunday evening.

The former Islington schoolboy, winner of the Rising Star award, name-checked two north London arts centres which helped him get started.

He thanked the Anna Scher Theatre in Angel and Weekend Arts College (WAC) in Camden as he flagged the importance of “grassroots” funding during his acceptance speech at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I am a product of arts funding within the UK,” he told the star-studded audience. “I’d like to thank people who financially support that, obviously in the mainstream arts but also at a grassroots level.”
Anna Scher, the famous theatre school’s founder, told the Tribune: “I am absolutely delighted for him. It was very lovely of him to mention us and not to forget his roots.”

Mr Kaluuya, who attended St Aloysius’ College in Archway, went on to star in Skins, Black Mirror and crime thriller Sicario.

He is up for the best actor award at next week’s Oscars for his role in Get Out, an eye-catching horror movie in the running for an Academy Award for best picture.

Steve Medlin, head of drama at WAC, recalled Mr Kaluuya’s time at the arts school.

“He did a solo piece from Hamlet and it was amazing. He blew the socks off everyone. We suddenly went: ‘Ooh, we have someone special here.’ He held the room with fury and power. And that only happens every now and again.”

Mr Medlin added: “He clearly knew what he wanted to do. He clearly wanted to be seen on stage and wanted to improve. His heart was clearly in drama. If you come from a traditional financial background, you have got much more opportunity to succeed and survive financially.

“Funding and access is forever thinning in the creative industry. We [WAC] can’t solve all of those problems but what we can do is create access. Danny is a prime example of that. It’s great he gave us a shout out.”

The actor also thanked his mother, Damalie Namusoke, who works with special needs children, at Sunday’s Baftas.

“I’d like to thank my mum. My mum is the reason – levels – why I started, the reason why I’m here and the reason why I keep going,” he said. “Thank you for everything. This is yours. Love, peace, let’s get it.”

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