Beyond Brontës Highlights

Beyond Brontës Highlights

Beyond Brontës supports young people from a diverse range of backgrounds and circumstances to overcome obstacles that may have prevented them from entering the screen industries.

The first group of trainees completed the scheme in June 2020, with the second cohort recruited in September 2020. Both cohorts have been supported with the input and encouragement of a wide range of broadcasters, production companies, industry professionals and experts.

They have all been given training in lots of exciting and creative roles, received detailed careers information, as well as one-to-one support from our dedicated team and amazing networking opportunities. The trainees were also matched with experienced personal mentors who are active and successful in the industry.

Many have also had the chance to work alongside dedicated, professional teams on TV and film projects – and some are already taking their first steps in their careers. We can’t wait to see what they achieve.

Beyond Brontës Highlights

Both cohorts have attended a wide range of training sessions, designed to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the industry. They have ranged from industry-specific sessions, such as those on the TV Landscape and Production Office Etiquette from ThinkBigger! and an opportunity to attend a Self-Shooter course at NFTS Leeds, to training in skills useful for starting out in the industry, such as: Freelancer Finance training with David Thomas; Resilience coaching with Clare Addy; confidence building with actress and presentation-coach Victoria Pritchard (In The Club, Doctors, Hollyoaks), and a personal branding workshop with Barbara Govan, chief executive of Screenhouse Production.

Trainees have also had a chance to dive into specific roles, such as at a Runners Boot Camp run by Addie Orfilla (Hollyoaks, Heartbeat, Touch of Frost and Countdown), a session from Hannah Kenworthy (24 hours in A&E) about being a successful production assistant and casting researcher, and panel discussions such as our Writers Panel with Katharine Way (Doctors, Casualty), Nicholas McInery (The Bill, How To Have A Perfect Marriage), and Tim Stimpson (The Archers), and our Editorial Panel with representatives from Sky, Bad Wolf, and Coronation Street joining us (including Beyond Brontës Alumni, Lizzie Watson)!

Although we had to adapt to working online mid-way through Year 1, we have welcomed professionals such as Abigail Dankwa (Tipping Point, Big Brother, UEFA Champions League Final), ENON Films, Carol Russell (Story of Tracy Beaker, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle), FestivalFormula, Suga Suppiah (Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them)executive producer Nacressa Swan, and Bruna Capozzoli (Angry Birds Makerspace, MAMO), with some sessions facilitated by Kurious Arts.  These covered all aspects of the industry from Development to Post, including sessions on networking, and the festival circuit, as well as exploring the potentials of platforms like YouTube and techniques like Previs.

A major strand of the Beyond Brontës programme is a commitment to connecting our trainees to the industry directly.  As well as the above sessions, we have hosted a selection of talks with talent managers, including Carrie Britton (Scripted Talent Executive for Drama and Comedy BBC Studios), Sarah Lee (Creative Director at The Talent Manager), Sarah Vignoles (Talent Scheme Director at The Edinburgh TV Festival), and Alice Ramsey (BBC Writers Room Development Producer).  We have also included exclusive ‘Anatomy of a Hit’ sessions, where trainees have a chance to dissect TV shows with the creators.   So far, we have had amazing discussions with Wise Owl Films (When Bob Marley Came To Britain), True North (A New Life in the Sun), Daisybeck (The Yorkshire Vet), and Air TV (999: Rescue Squad). 

Beyond Brontës has been a great flexible approach to help me enter the industry. I work full-time and have still had plenty of opportunities to attend the events on offer. The team at Beyond Brontës are so supportive and give great advice for starting out in the industry and listen and adapt all events, talks and sessions based on the feedback we give.

Bethh Oliver, Beyond Brontës participant

Beyond Brontës has offered me experiences and expertise tailored around me and my needs. Over the past six months I have been able to develop skills and receive countless opportunities to network, not only with industry professionals, but with 49 creative and likeminded individuals, like myself, who all want the same thing - We want to succeed and we want each other to succeed

Anna Kolacz, Beyond Brontës participant

Trainees have also had mentorship training provided by ScreenSkills, and we hosted two Mentorship Mixers, where participants had the chance to chat with people in the industry about their next steps and bigger future goals, prior to their one-to-one mentorship matches.

We have also had the opportunity to work in partnership with other organisations throughout the programme.  In conjunction with Studio12, for example, participants attended a number of Script to Screen Masterclasses focussing on writing and pitching, led by professionals such as Ruth Bader from Leeds-based factual indie True North (producers of shows like Say Yes to the Dress and Teen Mom UK), filmmaker Khadijah Ibrahiim (We are Poets), and stand-up comedienne and writer Danielle Ward (Take A Break Tales, Do the Right Thing).  They also had an opportunity to pitch their ideas to development executives from Candour Productions (Catching a Killer), Can Can Productions (The Steph Show) and Channel 4 (whose National HQ is now based in Leeds city centre).

Beyond Brontës has also been collaborating with the BBC in the North, which started with a day at MediaCityUK in Salford.  Our first-year trainees learnt about running a live news broadcast, with a practical session presenting and taking over the gallery at BBC Breakfast, as well as talks from the digital team and a tour around Dock 10, where many of the studios are based.  We have also been invited to BBC-led sessions about radio, social media, and talks from the creative teams behind new and exciting series.

Furthermore, we have set up exclusive Beyond Brontës trainee internships, with our partner regional production companies, True North, Wise Owl Films, Rollem Productions, Button Down, Prime Studios, Duck Soup Films, Rockerdale Productions, Meridian Line Films, and also at Screen Yorkshire’s Film Office.  Trainees have also had chance to work on brilliant productions such as Ackley Bridge, The Syndicate, Saved and Remade, The Search, All Creatures Great and Small, and upcoming feature film projects.

We are so proud of our trainees and what they’ve achieved. Although they’ve faced curve-balls and challenges – especially from the Covid-19 lockdowns – they have all demonstrated amazing resilience and flexibility.  Many of our alumni have now started their careers in the industry, working on shows such as: Gentleman Jack, Anne Boleyn, Coronation Street, Channel 4 Dispatches, The Great British Dig, and First Dates, and with companies such as True North, Locations UK, and Candour Productions.  We are excited to continue working with them as alumni, offering help and advice in their careers.

Watch our video to find out more

Beyond Brontës held a ‘Get to Know You Day’ for applicants at Northern Ballet in Leeds, where applicants met with the team at Screen Yorkshire to find out more about the programme. Prospective trainees also got to hear about what it’s like to work in the industry and the many different roles required on a film & TV set from experienced crew, including; Jess Taylor – Head of Make Up (Emmerdale), Ruth Bader – Assistant Producer Factual (BBC Bitesize, Fake Britain), Lisa Phillips-Dodsworth Assistant – Costume Designer (Emmerdale), Ben Reid – VFX (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Breathe and The Ritual) and Richard Knight, Screen Yorkshire’s Production Liaison and Education Manager, who has fifteen years’ experience working as a location manager (Four Lions, This is England, Utopia).

Get in touch

  • abigail-website-crop

    Abigail Houseman, Beyond Brontës Senior Coordinator

    Abigail runs our Beyond Brontës programme, established in 2019 to address the lack of diversity in the screen industries workforce. Beyond Brontës supports young people across West Yorkshire to develop the skills, confidence and connections to enter and succeed in the screen industries.
  • Natasha Kifwamba

    Natasha Kifwamba, Programme Coordinator

    Natasha works with Jo to deliver Screen Yorkshire's talent development initiative FLEX, designed to support and nurture the region's emerging screen talent. Natasha also works with Abigail to help run our Beyond Brontës programme, established in 2019 to address the lack of diversity in the screen industries workforce.

Who can apply for Beyond Brontës?

To be eligible for the Beyond Brontës programme, you must be:
  • Aged between 18-30
  • Live in one of the following districts: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, or Wakefield
As the programme is designed to help those facing barriers to the industry, we strongly encourage applicants from those who identify with having a protected characteristic that may be under-represented in the industry.

English isn’t my first language, can I still apply/take part?

We do not have any non-English speakers on the team currently. We would suggest that you apply in English to the best of your ability. The course will require lots of interaction, therefore we suggest applicants are confident in how they can meet these requirements and we will do our best to accommodate any specific needs where we can.

I’m receiving benefits. Will the programme affect them?

There are various benefits that can be claimed with specific regulations and rules on what might affect your benefit claim. The best way to assess your query, would be to visit your local Department of Work and Pensions or alternatively, contact them. Details for contacting your relevant claim department by telephone, can be found here:

Will I be trained in a particular field of the screen industries?

Beyond Brontës will provide various resources to help the selected cohort to gain knowledge, skills and confidence in the industry overall, in addition to supporting individuals’ tailored career interests. Where we can, we will cater to help individuals gain access and insight into their field of interest.

I’m studying at University/have a degree. Does that make me ineligible?

No - the programme intends to help those who wish to enter the screen industries. You can apply for Beyond Brontës whether or not you have a degree, regardless of whether that degree is relevant to the screen industries or not. Unless you already have an established career in the screen industries, as a freelancer or other, you can apply.

How do I know if I am under-represented in the screen industries and eligible for Beyond Brontës?

It is against the law to discriminate against someone with a protected characteristic and there are many individuals with protected characteristics who are under-represented in the screen industries. Some of these protected characteristics are: gender, race/ethnicity, social class, disability, LGBTQ+ identity, religion, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership and location. These protected characteristics can intersect eg. a working-class individual with a disability. There is more information on protected characteristics here:   Beyond Brontës intention is to redress the issue of under-representation in the screen industries by aiding under-represented individuals with protected characteristics to enter the industry. Therefore, we encourage applicants who identify with having a protected characteristic that may be under-represented in the industry to apply for the programme. If you are unsure if you are under-represented in the screen industries there is further information here: (see pp. 31-39).