Primetime BBC spotlight for schoolboy actor Jack
A schoolboy actor from Horsley Woodhouse is set to become a familiar face on our screens this spring as he stars in the new series of BBC One's hit drama Prisoners' Wives.
Jack Mitchell, who is in Year 3 at The Elms Junior School in Long Eaton, plays the role of Reece Haines, one of three sons of Kim Haines, a new character for series two, played by Sally Carman (Shameless).
Kim is the respectable wife of a man falsely accused of the most heinous crime and Jack appears in every episode of the series as his on-screen mum fights to prove that the allegations made against her husband, sent to prison on remand, are malicious.
Having been awarded a place at the prestigious Television Workshop, Nottingham last August, Jack landed the role of Reece after auditioning for director, Harry Bradbeer, in Sheffield in September. He received special permission from The Elms to have time off school. The talented youngster very much enjoyed his first foray in the world of television.
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Mum, Laura, said: "When we arrived on set in Sheffield each morning he went to wardrobe for clothes, a quick visit to make-up and then to his trailer until he was called for. There was quite a lot of waiting around on set, sometimes only acting for a few minutes. Food, and drink were supplied by the company and it was very exciting and interesting for him.
"On set he had his own private tutor and carried on with his school work from The Elms. Because of his age, the production company were very strict on the amount of time he could act and he had rest breaks at regular intervals. He was so well looked after."
Jack isn't the only fledging star in the Mitchell family – sister Sophie is also an aspiring actress and on a Drama Scholarship in Year 7 at Trent College, the senior school to The Elms.
The siblings have always enjoyed performing from a very early age. Both have won many classes at the Derbyshire Arts Festival. Last year, Jack (poem) and Sophie (mime) won and performed before the Mayor of Derby in front of a full house at The Guildhall, Derby.
Performing Arts forms a key part of both classroom and extra-curricular activities at The Elms and Trent College. Catherine Chivers, Performing Arts Coordinator at The Elms, admits it will be a real boon to all pupils to see their schoolmate starring on primetime television.
She said: "We are really proud of Jack's achievements. All pupils at The Elms have the opportunity to take part in a number of school shows throughout the year and every single child gets such a lot out of the experience of being in a show.
"Through working as a team to create a show children develop so many skills for life. They develop confidence to speak aloud in front of others, develop memory by learning so many song words and lines. Drama, music, dance, rhythm and performance skills also all develop noticeably throughout the process of rehearsing and performing show.
"It is important to audition the children for each show. Occasionally a child who may not have particularly shone in dance or drama lessons produces an amazing audition, which is so perfect for a particular part. There are also always opportunities for less confident pupils who don't want individual parts to be with larger groups acting together. Hopefully we can continue to help nurture more talented pupils like Jack Mitchell in the future."