Nurturing talented international performers
30 Jul 2020
Professor Michael Bray, Director of the new Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in Acting for Global Screen programme, is an experienced acting educator and veteran film director. Considering the new course an essential addition to the Academy of Film (AF), he has focused on developing a competitive programme that will produce a new generation of talented performers with a global perspective. “What makes this programme unique, among other performing courses in Asia, is that it gives our actors a complete artistic intellect as artists,” he says.
Hailing from the UK, Professor Bray began his career as an actor. He then worked in theatre, film and television, including six years at the National Theatre where he wrote and directed his first two plays, before moving into writing and directing for television and film. One of his films, The Sea Change, was chosen for the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the US.
Prior to joining HKBU, he was the course leader of the postgraduate screen acting course at the Drama Centre, Central Saint Martins, which is part of the University of Arts London. Some of his notable former students include Finn Jones (Games of Thrones, Marvel’s Iron Fist), Misha Timmins (Still Open All Hours) and Louise Williams (Where The Skin Lies).
Committed to providing cinematic-arts and creative media education, AF has a long history of cultivating talented professionals who contribute to Hong Kong’s arts and cultural industries. Recently it widened its scope with the introduction of the new Acting for Global Screen programme. The undergraduate course, which starts in the 2020-21 academic year, aims to meet the needs of stage acting, acting with the aid of media technology, and acting for the screen and social media in film industries.
One of the highlights of the programme is the integration of interdisciplinary knowledge. “In addition to acting training and performance studies, our curriculum also puts an emphasis on understanding technology and contemporary cultural reflection,” says Professor Bray.
He believes that actors not only need to acquire acting skills and techniques, but also the ability to collaborate with different members of the production team. Through the programme, he plans to help students extend their talents into different areas of the industry. “We are not just training students as actors but also as directors, screenwriters and producers,” he says.
With the recent advancements in virtual reality technology, Professor Bray notes that the way we view films continues to evolve. Despite the challenges, he is positive about the opportunities for actors in this changing industry. “One thing we are going to need in that immersive world is actors with voices and directors who can tell stories,” he says. “This new programme will train actors to be artists who can go on to have professional careers in an industry that is emerging.”
To find out more about the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in Acting for Global Screen programme, please click here.