Kieran Vyas: Artistic Director of Urban Young Actors

Urban Young Actors has had a special place in my heart since I started leading workshops there in 2016. I teach professional actors, drama school students and youth theatre all over the UK but there is an incomparable electricity and a certain homeliness to this drama school for young people in Leicester. It’s for this reason that I couldn’t be happier to announce that I’ve now taken over the company as owner and artistic director. Alongside me at the Urban helm is my partner – award-winning actor and practitioner Katie Burchett – who joins me as co-owner and director to steer Urban into the new chapter of its life.

What is Urban Young Actors?

Urban provides weekly acting workshops for young people in Leicester as well as producing multiple theatre and film projects every year. Our alumni include Mahalia (Brit & Grammy Award-Nominated Artist), Jurell Carter (Emmerdale, ITV), Owen Warner (Hollyoaks, Channel 4), Dilan Raithapha (West End playwright) and Devesh Sohda (award-winning composer).

We run several groups in Leicester City Centre and Barkby that are split by age: 8-11, 12-16 and 16-21. In the past our larger projects have included stage productions, short films, festivals, competitions and a feature film that premiered at the Odeon cinema.

Looking to the future

We’re taking over Urban at a time when all of us are desperate to return to normal life and the arts will play a crucial role in repairing some of the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have big plans, we’re very excited for the future, and development for a film project in late 2021 has already begun.

Get involved

If you want to find out more information about Urban Young Actors or apply for a free trial session then head over to urbanyoungactors.com

On Set at Urban Young Actors

Delivery – A Short Film by Kieran Vyas

A hopeless delivery woman pushes a bewildered resident to the edge.

During lockdown, my partner (actor Katie Burchett) and I put our energy into writing and producing a short film. We ended up creating ‘Delivery’ – a short comedy sketch in which Katie plays both of the two leading roles. We submitted ‘Delivery’ to a variety of film festivals and were delighted to receive a number of laurels including annual winner of the White Deer International Film Festival.

Laurels received so far:

White Deer International Film Festival – Annual Winner
First-Time Filmmaker Sessions – Finalist
London Rocks Film Festival – Official Selection
London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival – Highest Commendation
UK Seasonal Short Film Festival – Honourable mention

Katie Buchett in ‘Delivery’

#PlanetMonologues – The Actors Planet Monologue Competition

The Actors Planet is a support network for actors and creatives that I set up in 2018 with my partner, actor Katie Burchett. In these challenging times, we have teamed up with some of the top casting directors, directors and industry professionals to create #PlanetMonologues – a monologue competition with great prizes and fabulous judges.

To get involved, follow us on twitter @THEACTORSPLANET

FULL DETAILS & RULES: http://theactorsplanet.co.uk/monologue-competition/

PRIZES

Our prize list includes one-to-ones with top casting directors SHAKYRA DOWLING, PETER HUNT, PEARSON CASTING & NICCI TOPPING as well as an extensive consultation with social media expert JAMIE BODY. We’re also running a ‘Self-Represented Prize’ for actors who are not currently represented by an agent. This includes a one-to-one with an agent from COWLEY, KNOX & GUY and three month membership to DRAMANIC.

To top it off, our wonderful judge MEL CHURCHER has offered to give a one-to-one to ALL of our winners. Mel has worked with Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, Gerard Butler & Keira Knightley.

JUDGES


Mel Churcher

Mel Churcher

Having been an actor, Mel’s now an international acting and voice coach. She’s been resident voice coach for the RSC & Regents Park Open Air Theatre, runs international workshops, and has coached on over 60 major films & TV series (imdb.me/melchurcher). Her books are: Acting for Film: Truth 24 Times a Second (Virgin Books) & A Screen Acting Workshop + DVD (Nick Hern Books).


Donnacadh O'Briain

Donnacadh O’Briain

Donnacadh O’Briain is an Olivier Award-winning director whose productions have played at The Royal Shakespeare Company, in the West End, and internationally. In 2017 his production of Rotterdam received an Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre and went on to play at The Arts Theatre (West End) before embarking on a UK tour. His other credits include Always Orange (RSC), PEEP (a unique cross art form pop up theatre show) and the multi-award winning Electrolyte (Wildcard/Edinburgh/UK Tour).


Kate Davies-Speak

Kate Davies-Speak

Kate has been a working actor for 19 years and has worked in theatre throughout Europe. She now focusses mainly on screen work and loves to be involved in and support independent film. She is the founder of Showreel Share Day and is a major driving force behind the online acting community. When not acting, Kate works as a personal trainer and group fitness coach, and occasionally helps out as a casting director.

Mercury Theatre & Josef Weinberger Ltd Monologue Competition

It’s amazing to see so many fantastic opportunities springing up in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. One such opportunity comes from Mercury Theatre & Josef Weinberger Ltd in the form of ‘Mercury Monologues’ – a weekly monologue competition in which the winning pieces are rehearsed and performed by actors in 24 hours. Week 2’s theme was magic and I was absolutely delighted to win it with my monologue ‘To Call a Wolf’.

My monologue was performed by Jonathan Livingstone (Death in Paradise, 2011; Treasure Island, 2015; and The Witches, 2020) and you can watch his performance below.

Kieran Vyas & Jonathan Livingstone

The competition is ongoing. You can find out more info and enter here – https://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/make-it/talent-development/