Oscar-winning actor Gary Oldman returned to Rose Bruford College, on Thursday 14 February 2019, for an inspirational talk to students.

In an entertaining and thought-provoking conversation with film producer, collaborator and friend Douglas Urbanski, the actor, writer and producer gave a fascinating insight into his career.

Reminiscing about his time studying at the College in the 1970s and how his training helped shape his career, Oldman explained that he got his break into the industry through determination and hard work, having written to countless agents and casting directors.

Amongst the 300-strong audience in The Rose Theatre was 21 year-old final year BA (Hons) Acting student Marie-Claire Wood, who took time out from rehearsing her role as Ava in the upcoming College production of The Suicide at Stratford Circus Arts Centre to attend the event.

She said;

“Gary stressed the importance of discipline, imagination and hard work as lessons he had first learnt at Rose Bruford College that stayed with him throughout his career.

As I enter the industry it’s encouraging to hear someone tell us not to be shy in contributing, but instead to be driven and involved in our work.”

Oldman’s journey from ‘a lad from New Cross who was told he’d only ever play Puck’ to becoming a successful Hollywood actor resonated with 20 year-old Acting Foundation student Yadel Gebeyehu.

He said:

“I’ve learnt from Gary that if you want to have success and last in the industry, you have to want it more than anything. Coming from a similar background, his closing words of ‘if I can do it, you can do it’ were truly inspirational.”

During the visit, Oldman also met with staff and went on a tour of the campus, which included his old classrooms and the iconic Barn Theatre, where he performed in several productions as a student.

College Principal Clarie Middleton, who hosted the visit, said:

“I’d like to thank Gary and Douglas for taking time out of their busy schedule to engage with and inspire our students as they prepare for a career in the industry. Hearing how passionate Gary is about the craft of acting and how he still applies his training from the College will, I’m no doubt, strike a chord with our students for years to come.”

Photographs by Robert Workman