Central Junior Television Workshop
The Central Junior Television Workshop is a British organization that offers free training for young people in performance skills for television, film, radio and theatre. Open to anybody between the ages of seven and 21, entry is by an annual audition process which is held each spring.
The Central Junior Television Workshop was originally set up by Central Independent Television in 1983 to act as a casting pool for young talent in the Central broadcasting region. The Workshop has two branches, the original one based in Nottingham and another based in Birmingham, which opened a year later in 1984.
The Workshop has been known as several different names over the past including the Central Junior TV Workshop, Carlton Junior TV Workshop, ITV Junior TV Workshop and most recently simply The Television Workshop.
In late 2008, the Birmingham workshop run by their Director Collin Edwards, went under some financial issues which made the workshop dark. In 2009, Collin Edwards retired as the director of the Birmingham workshop for over 20 years. Now the Birmingham’s workshop was in the hands of Ian Smith. A new term started in 2010 with a new director and an old pupil of Collins’ Ross Simpson. Who will be the new director of the workshop groups,along with the help of Smith.
In 2010, the Birmingham Workshop has changed the name to First Act Workshops.They provide acting classes to young training actors and professional young actors.
"Over the years as a casting director (from being Head of Casting at the RSC to Head of Casting at The Bill) I have had the good fortune to use the impartial expertise and in-depth knowledge of the Workshop and found it an invaluable resource. But far more than being just an excellent return in investment in talent for the television companies, it serves a more profound social purpose in that the kids it produces are professional, disciplined, committed and passionate future citizens."
— Alison Chard (Casting Director)
"The standard of these kids under the guidance of Ian Smith and Colin Edwards has been without question higher than any other youth drama group I have ever visited. The reputation of the facility is so strong that not only does it attract the best young actors in the region but also it has become part of the vocabulary of drama training — if a young actor has trained there it means as much as a training at RADA or LAMDA."
— Wendy Brazington
The group has gained a formidable national and international reputation having been awarded:
- The Royal Television Society Midlands Award (1988)
- The British Film Institute Children's Award (1995)
- The Children's BAFTA in recognition of its outstanding development of young talent for film and television. (2006)
- Bhagat, Adrian; "Adrian Bhagat put some questions to Ian Smith" LeftLion.co.uk (Retrieved: 13 August 2009)