Jessica Hynes campaigns in Liskeard for drama in schools

Jessica Hynes

A Bafta-winning actor is campaigning for drama to be given more prominence at schools.

Jessica Hynes, who played Siobhan Sharpe in BBC drama W1A, believes acting can boost young people's mental health and wellbeing.

She has been telling students at Liskeard School and Community College in Cornwall that "drama is an essential aspect of children's development".

It is the first of five schools she is visiting this year.

Creative subjects have been under pressure for a number of years, as many schools in England have devoted more time to core academic subjects.

In a BBC survey of 1,200 secondary schools in England last year, nine out of 10 said they had cut back on lesson time, staff or facilities in at least one creative arts subject.

Image caption Jessica Hynes starred alongside Hugh Bonneville in BBC comedy W1A

Hynes said: "Drama is not about being the next Orlando Bloom.

"I'm not talking about drama as a career trajectory.

"This is for children who perhaps won't do drama as a career but being in a drama classroom will change them in a powerful and positive way. It will help with their confidence, to deal with anxiety and help them to connect."

The tour has been arranged in conjunction with National Drama, which supports drama teachers and theatre educators.

Earlier this year Hynes won a Bafta for her role in the BBC4 comedy There She Goes.

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