1. ITV Report

West End play sponsors local talent

Budding actors are being given a helping hand by professionals who are keen to keep talent here in the North East.

A Teesside based production company says it is vital that home-grown talent is nurtured and showcased to protect the future of the arts in the region at a time it is facing funding cuts.

Staff are now working with young people, offering aspiring stars the chance to be mentored by professional actors, to save them from having to move away.

The team is currently staging "Your Home in the West" at Middlesbrough Theatre, a drama based on a run-down Newcastle housing estate in the 1980s.

Laura Lonsdale plays the lead character Jean Robson.

Laura returned to her native North East and admits it is difficult for those wanting to break into the industry.

"People are struggling finding money and funding to get places at drama school, so having been there it is great to come back home and bring a font of knowledge to the next generation."

– Laura Lonsdale

Among those to benefit from the training is Kelly Jackson, who is hoping the experience will boost her career.

The cast are hoping to take the play on tour after the performances in Middlesbrough.