A teenager from Sleaford told The Lincolnite that featuring in the recently released Marks & Spencer Christmas advert is a “massive step” at the start of his acting career.
Harry Brooke, 17, attended St George’s Academy in Sleaford before starting his Performing Arts course at Lincoln College which he is due to finish in 2023.
Alongside that, Harry also attends the Curious Theatre School in Lincoln several times a week, which is run by former CBeebies presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell and her actor husband Ayden Callaghan, who is best known for his previous roles in Emmerdale and Hollyoaks and will be live on stage in The Bodyguard musical next year.
Harry has been attending the theatre school for three years and first started his professional acting career just over a year ago. He starred in a short film called That in October 2021 before featuring in commercials for Lidl and T Levels.
Then came his big break and the chance to work with Michael Gracey who directed The Greatest Showman. Michael Gracey was also the director for M&S’s latest Christmas advert, which features Harry as one of the Bright family.
Harry is opening Christmas presents with his on-screen parents, grandparents and sister, and the family see a variety of animals out of the window. The advert focuses on bringing people together and the joy of giving, something Harry was proud to be part of.
He told The Lincolnite: “It was my first audition that I did with another person that I didn’t know, so going into it I was pretty nervous, but the outcome of it obviously worked out really well.
“It was amazing and after it had been on TV I got loads of messages from all my friends and family saying ‘I’ve just seen you on the telly’, ‘you’re in the M&S commerical, that must be a really good thing, well done’, and just getting that feedback made me feel good.
“This is a massive step, especially with the big time director I worked with as well, so it’s good.”
Harry is also due to feature in a World Cup advert for a global brand later this week before the tournament kicks-off in Qatar on Sunday, November 20.
The Manchester United fan was unable to reveal too much about that advert before its release, but said: “That one feels extra special. Obviously, I am a big football fan myself so that one was really fun to film.”
Sarah and Ayden, co-founders of The Curious Theatre School, have helped develop Harry’s talents, while his agent Michelle Blair Management, who also works with the celebrity couple and other students at the school, is helping him land auditions.
Harry said: “It gets people like me opportunities to become successful actors…the theatre school has done everything for me, this is where it all started.
“I’ve evolved in my training, in my singing, acting, dancing. I love it here, it’s brilliant.”
Although he said “Lincoln and Sleaford will always be my home”, Harry plans to go onto drama school in London in the future before looking to progress his career further in the capital, or in America.
He hasn’t decided exactly which acting path he wants to go down just yet, saying “whatever comes, I’m down for anything”, but his ultimate ambition would “definitely be a marvel film” which he said would be a “dream come true”.
Ayden Callaghan, actor and co-founder of Curious Theatre School in Lincoln, is very proud of Harry’s achievements.
He told The Lincolnite: “Being able to bring that opportunity to a place like Lincoln, and to the kids and students that we work with, is really rewarding.
“Harry’s progression has been great. When you see him in class, he’s 100% committed which is a big reason that he’s been so successful so soon. His commitment to what he does is first class.
“He’s got a lot of charisma and talent. He’s got great character and, at the moment, Harry and I are working on his progression to go into drama school. Once he’s there, it’s in his own hands and of course we’ll always support him.”
The Curious Theatre School recently signed up another batch of its students to Michelle Blair Management and Ayden is delighted to see the progression of local talent in Lincoln.
He added: “Our students have been auditioning and been pretty successful in getting quite far down the line on some jobs with Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC and shows like Waterloo Road, CITV, and feature films.
“So they’re auditioning for some absolutely brilliant stuff. The feedback that we receive every time one of our students auditions for something is always very, very high.
“To see them on national TV of course is a great moment and achievement for them, but it also feels like a reward for us as well. You feel like proud parents and Harry’s had some great success so far and I’m certain he’s going to carry that on.”
Meanwhile, the Curious Theatre School’s next production, Winter Wonderland, is a cabaret performance showcasing the talent of their students including Harry, with a little nod to Christmas towards the end. It will be shown at the LPAC on November 26.
MyLocal Lincolnshire is the new home of The Lincolnite. Download the app now.