Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke said it is “outrageous” only 16% of people working in the creative industry come from a working class background.
The actress, best known for playing Daenerys Targaryen, was speaking as patron of arts charity Open Door, which aims to address the perceived imbalance by supporting budding actors.
Clarke is calling for the public to support its Big Christmas Give challenge, with every donation doubled, to support “young talented people who don’t have financial support” to get into drama schools.
She said: “Access to acting and backstage creative roles in the industry has, for too long, been a closed book for far too many people, and Open Door rose from the call for action to tackle the problem.
“They’ve already helped budding actors break into the industry who have gone on to land incredible roles, and I hope people will rally behind them in these difficult times… and play their part in unearthing exciting new talent who, without a doubt, will go on to grace our stages and screens.”
Open Door runs workshops and events to get people from poorer backgrounds into the industry.
It has also received support from Matthew Lewis and Imelda Staunton, who both starred in Harry Potter, and Love Actually actress Dame Emma Thompson.
It said its alum have got lead parts in an upcoming Hunger Games’ movie, Netflix hit Bridgerton and Bafta award-winning film Rocks.
Alumni Tobi King Bakare, who has been in I May Destroy You and Cursed, said his journey with the charity was “life changing”.
David Mumeni, artistic director, founder and CEO of Open Door, said: “I could see, working with young people since 17, that there were so many talented young actors and backstage creatives who didn’t have the means to pursue a career they wanted due to their personal circumstances.”
The actor, who has been in Mission Impossible and Fast And The Furious films, added: “We’re beginning to see the first two groups of actors and creatives entering the industry now and they’re going on to land spectacular roles, which just shows the talent is there if they’re given the opportunities, and that Open Door is both necessary and working.”
Open Door’s Big Christmas Give challenge runs until December 6 and aims to raise £15,900.