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The Spotlight Podcast

David Mumeni talks to us about the importance of making drama school for everyone and how Open Door helps young people get into acting.

Actor David Mumeni is the founder of Open Door, a non-profit that helps talented young people who do not have financial support or resources to gain a place at drama school. We caught up with him to chat about how inclusivity and representation in drama school can be improved, the importance of diversity and why he founded this project aimed at addressing imbalances at the UK’s top drama schools.

32 minute listen.

All episodes of The Spotlight Podcast.

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Episode Transcript

Lindsay: Hello and welcome to today’s Spotlight podcast. I’m Lindsay and our guest on today’s show is actor and Open Door founder David Mumeni.

So we’re going to be talking today about how David founded Open Door and the importance of free drama training as well. So David, welcome to the show.

David Mumeni: Hi. Thanks for having me.

Lindsay: We’re going to start with your background and how you got into acting and then we’ll talk a bit more about Open Door, what that is and how everyone can get involved in it.

David Mumeni: Yeah. Wicked.

Well, I went to an inner-city London school. Dad was a mechanic. Mum was a housewife at the time. And I wasn’t really good at anything at school apart from when we were introduced to drama in secondary school, and then I seemed to be all right at it. I seemed to make people laugh when I did it and people wanted to be in my group, which wasn’t necessarily the case in all the other subjects.

And then the Unicorn Theatre came in and were looking for young people to be part of a production they were doing in the centre of town, and so I guess that was the first time I realised it was a proper job. Then I got involved with Artists Theatre School, which an actress called Amanda Redman ran, and then I did National Youth Theatre. And then I sort of knew I wanted to learn more about it.

I wanted to try and be good at acting as opposed to just be doing it. So I auditioned for drama school, and the second time, the second year I auditioned, I got in. And Amanda actually, which I guess linked to later stuff and why I started Open Door, gave me free tuition on getting the speeches ready. And I went to a place called Drama Centre and did three years there, and then graduated. And since I’ve done film, TV, theatre. Fortunate enough to do all three, really. But that’s sort of how I got into it.

Lindsay: So tell us a bit about why you founded Open Door.

David Mumeni: Well, there’s a few things, me as an actor, just going to whatever level I’m at now, kind of a rare thing that most of my lovely friends are white middle class and came from a certain background, and less so people like me, I guess. And then also I worked as a facilitator in youth arts organisations, schools, prisons, associate National Youth Theatre since I was about 18. And seeing that a lot of young people who didn’t know what to do next. People had to tell me about National Youth Theatre, people had to tell me about that weekend school, people had to tell me about drama school and those schools or I wouldn’t know they existed. So people not really seeing a pathway into it.

And then the other reason is I was working National Youth Theatre (NYT) and I was sitting on the panel and two girls that were ushering, they were already NYT members, and they said “Do you mind looking at my speeches?” So I had a look and they’re identical twins. And they told me their story, which obviously I won’t say here, but they told me their story, and I was like, “I’ll help you for free.” So I helped them over a period of time, like Amanda helped me, with the speeches and stuff like that. And now they’re in their final year at RADA in Guildhall, just about to graduate. And so I was like, “How can I do that on a bigger scale?” So it sort of just popped around in my mind for a bit, but those are the reasons why I set up Open Door.

Lindsay: And it’s a non-profit as well.

David Mumeni: Oh yeah, yeah. There’s no profit at all. All the money just goes into it, really, and they don’t have to pay anything either. So they get free auditions. I managed to get free auditions from RADA, LAMDA, Guildhall, Central, Royal Welsh, and Drama Centre. And the idea was it was a pilot this year. They get 12 hours of one-to-one tuition on their speeches. Also there were a series of workshops for voice, movement, and Q&A’s. Just get a better sense of the landscape of things, I guess, and trying to convince them that it is a place for them and that they do want people like them and that they are good enough. Because you have to work against the mindset sometimes.

And they also get free theatre trips. So they saw things like The Brothers Size at the Young Vic, and The Jungle, and they went to see Julius Caesar at the Bridge, and lots of stuff. And they also get a buddy or a mentor each, an actor who perhaps is from the same background who trained at drama school and knows that journey, basically so they get an extra person to talk to. So yeah, that’s all the stuff they get. And travel. So those that had recalls at Royal Welsh, we paid for their trains to get there too. So yeah, it’s all free. There’s no profit to be gained, really.

Lindsay: So it’s trying to change the landscape of, I guess, a lot of the actors that we see today and it’s making it more inclusive for anyone. So drama school is for everyone and in that way you fund it so they have access and they have that. But not just funding their auditions as it were and their travel, but making them feel like they do belong and they have that inspiration and it does seem accessible to them. Otherwise it’s just … Personally, I wouldn’t know what the route would be if I was a young person today, I would have no idea how to go from just your regular school day-to-day to getting to be on TV. The route is not that obvious and it doesn’t seem accessible to so many people from so many backgrounds, does it?

David Mumeni: Yeah, I think that’s right. I guess why I’m supporting the drama school route, that’s not to say it’s the only route at all, but it is one of the only clear routes. Does that make sense? Everything else is about connections or being at the right showcase, especially for Londoners. There’s a lot more opportunity. It’s sort of one of the only things left where it’s like, I want to be an actor, if we’re talking about acting, I want to be an actor, there’s this thing where I can go learn to do that and there’s a showcase at end where I could possibly have a route in.

And I sort of feel like if that goes and becomes irrelevant, then it’s going to be every man and woman for themselves. So I think what my vision is to really change that and that drama schools become – some of them are – a place where that’s where that exciting talent is coming, from people who don’t normally get a chance. Because loads of people in the industry, like I have an uncle who’s a producer and la la la, and I just think it’s one of the only routes left.

Lindsay: But it does give you those tools, I think, to go forward as an actor as well. And not only do you have all your classmates to then create work with, but you have that platform to the industry. And when you go to drama school, you learn about things like Spotlight and then how castings work and how to behave professionally, as well as just the acting side of things. There is so much more about the professional life of being an actor which you can get from drama school. And as you say, you get the showcase at the end where you get to perform in front of casting directors and agents. So you get your agent via that way and then you can join Spotlight once you’ve gone to a drama school. So it’s absolutely such a great route into the industry. Yeah.

David Mumeni: Yeah. I think drama school’s getting better and better in terms of that third-year stuff. Because I think maybe … No, even 10 years ago, whatever, when I was there, but they started doing it heavily. But there is a lot more stuff in terms of in their third year, preparing them for the industry because I don’t know how else you would know. You have to make sure, especially again, if you’re outside of London.

And yeah. And the other thing is about longevity. It’s not to say that if you don’t go to drama school, you don’t have that, but just because you’re sort of low income, why shouldn’t you have access to three years to get stuff wrong and learn about stuff and learn about texts and have some critical analysis of why you’re saying the things you’re saying? As well as that technical stuff of voice and movement.

And I think that’s why I champion it as well because I think that I don’t know if I’d be having the career that I have if I didn’t. And this is again generalising, but once you’ve done a Holby City, then what? What allows you to do maybe that slightly classical piece at National or that comedy on E4 or whatever it is? So yeah. That’s why I champion it. And it may sound a bit wishy-washy, but also getting a bit of the art back into it.

I think a lot of young people see a lot of programmes and shows where there’s other young people in it and la la la, but actually, like most actors know, as most people that are probably listening to this podcast know, is a lot of the time you’re not working. Do you know what I mean? Even if an actor’s doing well, even if an actor has two, three, four jobs a year. Okay, well, he’s got one play at the Royal Court, or she. There’s four weeks rehearsal, four weeks doing it. Got a day on this and two days on that. That’s only eight weeks and three days, and that’s someone doing well. So that you’re enjoying the work that you’re doing while you’re doing it. Because soon, once you’ve been on TV, once you’ve been on stage, once you’ve been on a film, that shine goes away and it has to be about the stuff that you’re doing. And like you said, meeting other people creating work. The landscape’s changed. I don’t think just being an actor now exists, if that makes sense. It can do for a selective few, but I think being an actor is more than just being a prop now. You have to have some kind of artistic voice or say something. And it’s so saturated. There’s loads of actors. There’s tonnes of them. But an actor with a voice and some sort of artistic voice is really important, I think, these days for longevity and creating your own work. And that doesn’t mean you have to write or direct, it could mean just getting a writer and director and putting yourself in it… you know what I mean? So I think that’s really important and I guess those three years can help you do that.

You can absolutely do it outside of drama school, but sometimes if you’ve got people … I hope I’m not going off on a tangent, but if you’re talking about people who have come from schools where there’s a professional director and lots of engagement in acting and drama and art, and you’re talking people who have had their local theatre shut down or arts organisation, youth arts organisation shut down, there’s not even a drama department at school, you need those years to develop those skills. And I guess that’s what it gives you.

Lindsay: Yeah. And when it comes to drama school, so there is an audition for drama school as it is, and we’ve just published an article on our site about how to nail your drama school audition. We’ve got a Guildford School of Acting panellist to talk us through exactly what they’re looking for and how you own the space. But before they do a drama school audition, for example, so Open Door will provide coaching on how to get that drama school audition right, but to get into Open Door in the first place, they have to audition for you guys as well. Is that right?

David Mumeni: Yeah, absolutely. Because it’s about talent really. It’s not just about everyone can have a go because people are good at different things. It’s about talent. So we have to make sure that, we’re giving so much away, it’s going to the people we feel who need it the most and need that support. So yeah.

We do a group workshop for about an hour, just getting people relaxed rather than coming in one-on-one as that can be quite scary. And then we split the group. This is what we did this year, we split the group into three. So we’ll have 30 in the morning session or 30 in the afternoon. There’ll be three panels and 10 people will go and see a panel made up of two, and then there’ll be a recall stage about a week or two later.

And get to know about them more. I think we’ve learned a lot from this year, making sure people are ready as well and trying to … We had this nice message from someone who messaged in and was like, “I didn’t get a place, but that audition taught me a lot.” And I think that’s the really good thing that we’re trying to do is even if they don’t get a place, that we’ve equipped them with stuff to keep going or to keep working on, and the confidence to go do that and learn a little bit about them. And I think that’s really important.

Because I remember … This might be a tangent, but I remember auditioning for National Youth Choir when I was like 14, 15, and my music teacher at school told me to go do it. And I had to prepare two songs for sheet music, and she said, “We’re going to do Wonderwall,” some ballady version, and then something else. I was like, “Cool.” So we practised it. I got there. Everyone was with their mums and dads. My mom was with me and I heard all this warming up, stuff that I’d not heard of before. And they said, “David, you can now go in the side room and warm-up.” So I was like, “I don’t know how to warm up. What’s that?” So I just sort of sang my song really quietly in the corner. And then the person came in, the pianist was like, “Where do you want to go from?” What coda and all that. I was like, “The beginning.”

Anyway, so I went in for the audition, came out, didn’t get in. But I auditioned for it again next year, the teacher was like, “Well, let’s just do the same songs.” So I auditioned next year, came in, and they were like, “Oh, you’re the Wonderwall boy.” And that’s the thing. I’d been laughed at in some way. Do you know what I mean? Like, “Oh yeah, this guy that did Wonderwall,” as opposed to going, “Hey, this is the type of music you need to be looking for. This is the kind of thing we’re looking for.”

Because I think that idea of redirection and applying it to drama schools is really important in that first round, because you can’t expect people who have come from a background where, like we said, their local drama has been cut or their youth arts organization’s been cut or there’s no regional theatre, to know what’s needed more than, okay, it says you do a modern and a Shakespeare, but what that means. And so I think it’s really important that redirection the first round and giving people a bit of knowledge to go. And how I do it, I would go, “Look, I don’t know what’s going to happen here.” When I do National Youth Theatre auditions, I say, “Look, I don’t know what the results happen,” but I always give a little pre-thing before. We’re going to give you some advice, whether you’ve done well in our eyes or not, that you know that you need to keep working for this. Because if not, people leave and do the same thing again.

So I think it’s about more than the money sometimes, it’s about knowledge. And I think at the moment, people are unsure about … We’ll talk about it in a bit, but in terms of the results we’ve had from Open Door, it proves actually if you equip people with the knowledge and a bit of the confidence that they deserve to be in the room, actually they can go really far, really quickly.

Lindsay: That’s it. It’s about empowering young people as well.

David Mumeni: That’s right.

Lindsay: Even if you go to an audition, for example, at a young age and it doesn’t go well for you, it can be very much about trial and error, I think, at a young age, and seeing maybe that isn’t for you. Maybe you’ve tried the audition. You’ve looked at the world of acting and you think, “You know what? At least now I know that that doesn’t suit me.” So that can still be a positive. Even if you don’t get a place, you might think, “Actually, it’s not for me.” Or it might inspire you to go on further and think, “Okay, I’m going to go away. I’m going to learn more. I’m going to practise this. This is really what I want.” So there’s so much that you can get from it.

David Mumeni: I think that’s right. I think with Open Door, we’re trying to … Obviously, these guys are at a level of talent, but also we’re trying to give them those other skills. Like we said, as an actor you need to have some other skills in producing and directing and writing. We had a writer, Chris Urch. He was an actor in my year who trained with me at Drama Centre. He’s now a quite well-known playwright and writes TV and film, and he’ll come in and do a workshop with them because they might find another path.

In my experience, you meet a lot of young people who are really passionate and talented in lots of ways, but maybe acting isn’t their bag. Maybe that’s just not what they’re good at. But because they don’t know about all these other things, like producing … I used to think a producer was someone who had money. Do you know what I mean? We didn’t actually know what they were. And so I think where youth arts needs to go, and even drama at school, is saying there’s all these other jobs that are actually paid better and you’ll probably have more chance in. Even just behind the scenes stuff. I’m generalising, but if you’ve got some labourer in Derby who can’t find work, well, you can go build a set for the RSC. You get paid a lot, be part of something. These other jobs do exist. Photography in theatre, lighting, sound, stage management.

So with Open Door, depending on money, we’re going to try and also have stage managers and a lighting designer and a sound designer, trying to prepare them for an interview. So you start diversifying that side of things. Because at the end of the day, it’s the people making the decisions that you have to try and change. It can’t just be the surface, just the acting, what we present. And so if you let people know that these other jobs do exist in the arts, and actually there’s ones that you can actually get paid for much better than acting, and they need your passion and your drive that you have, which actually acting’s not your bag, but if you’re a producer with that or a writer with that, we can create all these actors from, say, working-class backgrounds or diverse backgrounds but we’ve got to make sure there’s the plays and the TV and the film for them as well.

Lindsay: It’s such an incredible opportunity for these young people to have this access and to learn about all parts of the industry. I don’t think you would know about it otherwise. I don’t think I would know about set design or lighting design or anything like that until I got much older. I was in my twenties and started going to theatre to myself and go, “Oh, that’s a job people can do.” But coming from a small town where nothing ever happens and you’re at a basic secondary school, you’re not going to know about those sort of jobs. They don’t tell you about that. They tell you about the unis that are close to you and the academic courses, and that’s the way a lot of people are pushed forward in life. They don’t have access to the arts.

David Mumeni: Yeah. There’s an actress who’s one of the buddies for one of our Open Doorers, and she was saying that she’s from a place … Where was it? Somewhere in Essex, and she told her teacher, “I want to be an actress and I’m going to go to RADA.” And the teacher was like, “No, not RADA. They don’t like people like you. You need to apply for these places.” She did it anyway and got into RADA and works as an actress. But it’s that. I think it’s about getting the knowledge out there. I guess our job over the next whatever years is about equipping the youth arts organisations and the schools with that knowledge, that there are all these other jobs and it actually is profitable. Maybe acting’s not the best one, but there are other ones that are.

Because that’s right, if you went to your careers advisor and said, “I want to be this,” if I said I want to be an actor, they’d go, “I’ve heard of RADA.” They might have heard of that. And they’re like, “Well, there’s this drama at this university,” not even knowing the difference. And I’m completely generalising, but you’ve got people giving that information out, even some drama teachers who have been part the same system, so they’ve never actually known that knowledge to pass on. And it’s not that they’re not skilled and amazing, it’s just more that someone wants to be an actor, they might have only heard of one or two schools and not necessarily, and why should they, know what’s needed exactly and have this idea that we all do.

In terms of this stuff about diversity and lots of articles and stuff like that, as well as the brilliant work it’s doing, obviously has some effect in terms of putting people off and make them feel like these places aren’t for them. So it’s about countering that with the knowledge of that and really celebrating the wonderful stuff that does happen as well in balance. Because if you just go for the negative, we’re only ever going to see stuff as bad, even though that’s really important. Definitely not doubting all the work that’s been done there, but we also have to be careful. It’s really good to celebrate the good work that goes on.

Lindsay: Yeah. So how do we get that message out there then? So apart from this podcast, how are you going to be promoting Open Door and making sure people know about it?

David Mumeni: Yeah. So our aim, it depends on money, but our aim, I don’t know when this podcast goes out and where we’ll be at with that, but our aim is to have 20 people again in London. 20, not 30 this time, and 20 people in the East Midlands. Derby, Nottingham, Leicester being the centre of it, and surrounding areas. And so there’s that. And what we did last time is by all your normal social media stuff and we’re trying to do stuff where we’re on radio and things like that, but also trying to directly engage youth arts organisations and some performing arts schools and stuff and say, “Look, we’re here. Who are your students who might be good for this?”

The other way, this is all in the pipeline and may not happen, and I can’t say too much, but try to team up with regional theatre companies that do tours, essentially, and go around the country and teaming up with them. And every time they’re doing a play somewhere, we go do a workshop there and equip and give that knowledge out, basically. Tell them where you can get free auditions, where you can get funding or bursary from, what kind of speeches are good. How you do the Shakespeare, i.e. don’t do it with a special Shakespeare voice. Just these basic things that might be laughable, but actually these are things… Of course, you’re like, “Shakespeare is for these people or Shakespeare needs to be done like this.” So that’s the aim. I can’t say too much now because it’s not all been signed off, but the idea is that, as they go around, we’re doing that.

Lindsay: And you’re getting the patrons on board, so they’re helping spread the message as well.

David Mumeni: Yeah, exactly. And my friend, Emilia Clarke, who’s in Game of Thrones, but I went to drama school with her, she was in my year, and she’s one of my best mates, and she’s been great. And she came and spoke to them actually, came and spoke to the young people. And even Woody, Woody did for me-

Lindsay: Woody Harrelson.

David Mumeni: Woody Harrelson, when we did the … I know him because … Because everyone’s like, “How the hell did you get Woody Harrelson linked with a UK drama school charity?” And it’s just I did this film with him and then I just Whatsapped him. I was like, “Would you do this?” He was like, “Yeah, sure.” But he did a video saying apply now for Open Door. What’s really lovely is lots of people from the industry, a lot of actors coming forward, and asking “how can I help?” And I think when we go to those regional, national places, that they play a part in that. Are they a representative of that area? Do you know what I mean? Like an ambassador.

Lindsay: Yeah, an ambassador. And because it’s a not-for-profit and you’ve got the patrons on board, but in terms of funding, what’s your route for funding?

David Mumeni: Well, last year we got money from the Arts Council and then we had a bit from patrons and friends, and then United Agents, who I’m with, pledged some money for the next three years, which is really good. And that was before it was going really well. So it was not a risk, but they just did it because they thought it was right.

So I’ve got this board of trustees now. So Amy Ball, who’s head of casting at Royal Court, and Shaheen Baig, casting director who cast Peaky Blinders and all that stuff, and they’re on board because I guess they feel like they cast people in one thing and they want to be able to cast them in something else. And they really believe in that training and stuff like that.

And then Alex Ferris, who used to run Old Vic New Voices and now works education at West Yorkshire Playhouse, and he’s advised me from the start. I tried to give this away once. So I said to him, “Does Old Vic want it? Do you know what I mean? Do you want it?” And he was like, “I think it would happen a bit quicker if you did it. And have you thought about Arts Council money?” And I always thought Arts Council money was just for plays, not things like this, but apparently it isn’t. And I’ve got Gary Reich as well, who’s a producer. He’s about to produce this thing on Netflix with Idris Elba and this show they’re doing.

And so now with their help, the money stuff might be easier. They’ve got ideas of getting essentially… Yeah, I don’t know when this podcast will come out, but the idea is that getting the TV industry to put up the bill a bit because it’s often down to theatre really to do all this and solve these problems. Actually getting them involved.

And so it’s about how sustainable it is and longevity and you take a risk. The Arts Council are amazing, but if one year they decide not to give you the money, that can be quite difficult. So we sort of talking about longterm and longevity and funding like that, and perhaps maybe we get these other agencies to pledge money for the next couple of years. And that is massive.

Lindsay: Yeah. And so if someone’s listening now and they want to get involved, an organisation wants to get involved, what do they do? How did they get in touch?

David Mumeni: Go on the website, opendoor.org.uk, and you’ll see a support or contact or get in touch. If you want to donate, you can just donate straight away. If it’s over a certain amount, just get in contact and email me. All the info is on the website. Mine is david@opendoor.org.uk.

But yeah, at this point, this was just a pilot. So all the support, any ideas, sometimes it’s about that, really. It’s about I know someone who’s blah blah blah. If anyone knows anyone that works for East Midlands train line and can give some massive discounts, that would make a massive difference. Because yeah, the train bill at the moment is like 10 grand.

Lindsay: Okay. So we’re talking to train companies out there right now.

David Mumeni: That’s the big issue.

Lindsay: We want to access and people who make this … There was a lot of talk about how the arts and people on TV aren’t representative and it is a bit white middle class dominated. We need to move forward with that, because if everyone in the country literally can’t travel around the country because it’s so expensive, how are we ever going to have that diversity on screen? So East Midlands train company, I hope you’re listening. You are responsible for this problem [laughs].

David Mumeni: Hey, I didn’t say that. But yeah, I think that’s the thing, accessibility, a lot for actors now who just … And in the future, I have a friend who lives in Stockport. She works all the time, but she refuses to … She just likes it there more, that’s where she’s from. But if someone does want to live outside London, if they have to come down for an audition, that’s difficult. So when you’re talking about young people who are from … This is the thing, not even like low-income backgrounds, like normal, whatever that would mean, income backgrounds. If you’ve got six drama school auditions-

Lindsay: So expensive.

David Mumeni: And you’ve got four rounds at one school, three rounds at the other, if you’re doing quite well, it’s just way too expensive. They’re doing lots of regional auditions, which is amazing, and we’re trying to have talks with schools about how we can make it more accessible and work together and go in. Can we reduce rounds or can we fund trains for regional auditions if they get recalls and stuff like that. But you’re talking about a massive amount of money and it really is about that transport, that train, and if they have auditions in the morning, if you’ve got an audition at 8:45am, 9am, 9:30am, that means you’ve got to stay the night before.

So this is just one school. If you think about four rounds, four trains, it’s a few hundred pounds. You’ve got to stay, accommodation. You’ve got food. It’s a lot. And then you’re supposed to pay for all the other stuff on top of that. So it’s really hard. So it’s not even about low income. It’s actually about anyone. So yeah, that’s the big thing. So obviously it’s all linked to travel and transport at any stage of an actor’s life, I think.

Lindsay: So coming to the end of the pilot year now, what are some of the results you’ve seen?

David Mumeni: So I think anyone would regard our results as success, more than I thought. So we’re on 70 free final rounds. So anyone who’s listening knows most actors just got into the school they got into. And between 30 of them, we’ve got 73 final rounds. This is massive. So that’s an average of like two, three, finals rounds each. So the results, I think they unearth a lot of questions, which we’ll talk about in a sec, but we’re on 11 offers.

Lindsay: So 11 offers for drama school places.

David Mumeni: Drama school places. You’re talking about Drama Centre. We’ve got one offer from there so far. That’s one of 16. From Royal Welsh, we had seven offers at 22 places. Whether some of those guys are not going to other places-

Lindsay: Drama school, just for anyone listening who doesn’t understand or doesn’t know more about how many people they take on each year, these drama schools, they take 22 in a class each year?

David Mumeni: 22 at Royal Welsh, some at 28, 30. Drama Centre is 16. I think Bristol is about 15, 16.

Lindsay: That’s how many places are offered to anyone each year.

David Mumeni: At 3000 people auditioning.

Lindsay: And Royal Welsh offered seven to the Open Door candidates.

David Mumeni: Yeah. And I think what it unearths is actually everyone thinks it’s a bit of pot luck getting into drama school, and it’s really, really difficult. I think if you equip people with the knowledge and what they have to do and the confidence, they end up achieving more. It’s just as simple as that. And so you’re actually bringing them up to the level as the people who have had loads of private tutoring, who have grown up with resident directors in their school, who have had a lot of that around them, have come from that family. All you’re doing is pushing them to the same level. These guys aren’t necessarily getting any more than a lot of people already have without knowing. Does that make sense?

So the results are, I think, pretty special and we’re obviously still to receive more. We got two offers from LAMDA so far. So yeah, I think it works and the model works and I think it’s been a successful pilot. There’s obviously stuff that we always want to improve on and make better, but if we can now take this model and push it out to the rest of the country where the work is really needed. How many people from the Midlands are at drama school for one time? Like one, zero. It’s very small.

So if we can push that out to the rest of the country, I think we’ll see a big change. So yeah, it’s worked, I think. I’d say.

Lindsay: It sounds like it has, yeah. That’s huge.

David Mumeni: 73 final rounds. That is mad.

Lindsay: That really is incredible.

David Mumeni: I only got into the school that I got into. I’m doing all right. Most actors that are working would probably say the same thing, even the ones that … Emilia doesn’t mind me saying this, but she got into Drama Centre and she was on the waiting list.

Lindsay: Who was that?

David Mumeni: Emilia.

Lindsay: Oh, right.

David Mumeni: She was on the waiting list. To get 73 final rounds, I don’t think that’s normal. More than expected.

Lindsay: Yeah. That’s absolutely incredible. So I think we’re coming to the end of our chat about Open Door now. But what I wanted to remind everyone out there is how they get in touch with you again, if you can give us that website again.

David Mumeni: Yeah. So check the website, www.opendoor.org.uk, and then on social media, Instagram @OpenDoorPeople, same as Twitter, @OpenDoorPeople, Facebook. And there you can see an update if we’ve got any offers, when auditions start again, news, if we’re doing talks and workshops. So yeah, I think following the social media is really good.

Anyone that’s interested in donating and being a part of it or lending a hand, my email box is full all the time, but I will eventually get back to you. But yeah, just get in contact and I think following the social media stuff is probably really useful to keep updated.

Lindsay: Yeah, absolutely. And when we put this podcast out, do check Spotlight UK Twitter as well. We will link to everything from there. We’ll also put it on the website and you can check out this podcasts also on podbean.com, and you can find the full details, everything about Open Door there.

David Mumeni: Thanks so much.

Lindsay: Thank you for coming in, David.

David Mumeni: Thanks for having me.

If you have a topic or question you’d like us to cover in a future podcast episode then please email your ideas to questions@spotlight.com or send us a Tweet @spotlightuk.

Published in June 2018.