Top actor Ben’s delight at Leigh film patron role

Ben Batt with partner Rebecca Atkinson
Ben Batt with partner Rebecca Atkinson

An actor from the borough has spoken of his delight at becoming a patron of Leigh’s award-winning grass-roots cinema organisations.

Ben Batt, who is perhaps best known for his role in Shameless, has linked up with the Leigh Short Film Festival and Leigh Film Society.

The Wigan actor, who went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, says it is crucial that culture enthusiasts have easy access to the arts no matter where in the country they live.

He will now use his profile to support the annual celebration of short, zero-budget film-making at the Turnpike and the society’s screenings of classic, non-mainstream and arthouse pictures.

Ben, 31, said: “I’m really happy I’ve been given the opportunity to be part of it. Leigh is doing really well.

“When you come from small and stereotypically northern working-class towns it’s important to get as many opportunities to get involved as possible, whether it’s directing, writing or being part of making films.

“I’m very proud to be from the borough and I’m passionate about this. It’s also vital to give people the chance to see non-mainstream and independent films.

“When I was auditioning for drama school a career in it seemed quite unreachable. Young people with a passionate desire to be in film need as many experiences and as much access as we can give them.”

The society and festival organisers also said they are thrilled to have Ben, who will tread the boards in London in the play The York Realist next year, on board.

Development director Elizabeth Costello said: “This is great news for us, I’ve followed Ben’s career for some time and we are all really excited.

“We’re looking forward to working with Ben and raising awareness of the film industry to young people in the area.”

The Leigh Film Society has had a successful 2017, winning three national awards from Cinema For All.