Damian Lewis: 'As an actor educated at Eton, I'm still always in a minority'

Christopher Hooton


Damian Lewis has called for more diversity in the arts but rejected the idea that actors from privileged backgrounds are dominating acting.

Asked whether a lack of funding in the arts was harming diversity during a Guardian live Q&A, he said: "We have to protect against lack of diversity. If theatre, film, TV, dance, opera, ballet are going to remain true artforms, they must be reflective of all society.

“But that's a different point from saying that only privately educated actors are becoming dominant in acting, because statistically that's not true."

He continued: “A handful of actors from privileged backgrounds have done well, very well, and of course that's high profile news. But whenever I work, wherever I work, as an actor educated at Eton, I'm still always in a minority."

Clarifying what he mean, he added: “What is true and always rewarding about the acting profession is that everyone has a similar story about them being in a minority. From whatever background. And that coming into the acting profession is when we all finally find likeminded people," Lewis said.

“But it goes without saying, I hope, that theatre and the arts generally in my view are a fundamental and important part of any child's education, and to see any more cuts would be sad."

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