Actors union Equity is hosting a special industry panel event in Leeds examining the viability of the screen acting career including two of the city’s leading film and TV companies, YAFTA International and Rollem Productions.

The event is in the wake of a tumultuous year for the screen acting industry which has seen international strikes, cuts in production and closures of established training and production companies.

The panel will include actor Ash Palmisciano, who plays Emmerdale’s Matty Barton who was the first transgender actor to be cast in the show; Yvonne Francas-Mellor, MD of the award winning Rollem Productions behind popular programmes including Fat Friends, In The Club & Love, Lies & Records; David Flynn from Spotlight, Europe’s largest casting service, and Dr Charlotte Armitage, the MD of YAFTA and the PMA registered and award winning YAFTA Talent Agency.

Dominic Bascombe, Equity’s Regional Officer for North East, Yorkshire and Humber who will chair the panel, said: “This event is an opportunity for us to take an honest look at the current state of the screen acting industry, the realities of working in the sector and what changes are needed to ensure career longevity from an individual, educational and industry perspective.

We have a fantastic panel representing the industry for our attendees to hear from and to ask questions and we’re looking forward to an engaging discussion with lots of feedback and ideas shared.”

Dr Charlotte Armitage, the MD of YAFTA International, and a duty of care psychologist in the film and TV industry adds: “Despite 2022 statistics revealing a record £6.27 billion film and high-end television production spend in the UK, the investment and equity for northern based actors and productions remains far behind that of those based in the south. The impact of the writers and actors strikes last year is continuing to have a devastating effect across the country in terms of production and opportunities, which has further highlighted challenges that already existed within the sector when it comes to pay, job opportunities, and training. This event is a great opportunity for us to come together as professionals from across the sector, share our experiences, insight and look at ways the industry can be developed to ensure the continuing viability of an acting career within the UK.”

The panel event is open to non-equity members and will take place at The Carriageworks in Leeds on Sunday 24th March 2.30pm-4pm. Tickets can be booked via Eventbrite to attend in person, with a remote zoom option available.