Michael Sheen starts new creative arts scheme to help people from working class backgrounds break into the industry

Welsh Hollywood actor Michael Sheen has started his own creative arts scheme to help people from working class and under-represented communities in the UK to break into the industry.

The actor, from Port Talbot, says he wants to get more people from more diverse backgrounds into the media industry.

A Writing Chance is a UK-wide project designed to discover new talent and support new writers trying to break into the creative industries.

Michael Sheen set up the scheme to help people from working class backgrounds.

The actor told ITV News: "As I've got older, I've realised more and more that it wasn't just luck or chance, or as much as I would like to think, my talent, that led me to have the opportunities that I've had.

"I come from a working class background in Port Talbot, a steel town, and you know, my family, going back generations are working class and I've seen that the opportunities that I've had and the pathway I had have kind of disappeared over time as I've got older as various things get cut and the money's not there, schools are not doing this or that.

"And so I started to feel more and more really that I had the opportunity and the desire to try and make sure that people could have at least the same opportunities I had, let alone expanding it out to people who didn't have the kind of good fortune that I had who come from areas like me.

"So I was already feeling like that and I think during the pandemic it's made those inequalities and those unfairnesses even more extreme. And so it gave a bit more urgency I think to the idea to get behind something and starting something up.

Mr Sheen says he wants to get more people from more diverse backgrounds into the media industry. Credit: PA Images

Mr Sheen continued: "I was incredibly lucky, I come from Port Talbot, not necessarily somewhere you would think would be really into acting, but we have Richard Burton who came from Port Talbot, we have Anthony Hopkins who came from Port Talbot, Catherine Zeta Jones is just from up the road, Rob Brydon, all these amazing people who've come from that area, so when I was growing up...we had examples out there, there was no reason to think that it can't happen for us, because it had happened for people like us.

"And so our community was also supportive in that way. If you don't get to see people like you, who come from your background, out there doing stuff, it can undermine your confidence as to whether that is something for you."

A Writing Chance is a UK-wide project. Credit: PA Images

But it's not just performances on the stage and screen that the actor wanted to talk about.

He also praised Wales for their performance during the Euros, as Rob Page's men reached the final 16 in the tournament.

Michael Sheen said: "It's an amazing achievement for a country as small as we are really, for the pool of people you can draw on, it's amazing.

"For Wales to have this incredible team of players and both Euros as well, I mean, the last one, it just changed the country, it galvanised the country so much, so we couldn't be prouder of the team."