Emma Thompson is Edinburgh College drama patron

Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Picture: Contributed
Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Picture: Contributed
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DRAMA classes at Edinburgh College are set for a sprinkling of celebrity stardust after Hollywood A-lister Emma Thompson was announced as patron of its performing arts studio.

College leaders said they were “over the moon”, and revealed discussions with the Harry Potter and Nanny McPhee star about holding a series of acting “masterclasses” with students are set to take place.

They predicted Thompson’s decision to become patron of the College’s Performing Arts Studio of Scotland (PASS) would quickly pull new talent into the Capital, helping it become a national hub for training in film and drama.

In a brief statement, the double-Oscar winning actress said: “Edinburgh College’s Performing Arts Studio of Scotland is an exciting, high octane, cutting-edge centre that will attract much of the wealth of talent in Scotland and beyond. I’m very proud to be patron.”

Since landing the role as red-haired rock guitarist Suzi Kettles in cult BBC TV series Tutti Frutti in 1987, Thompson has gone on to garner worldwide acclaim, as well as Academy, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards, for appearances in highbrow and blockbuster movies.

Staff at PASS said her contribution to teaching at the college – created last year through the merger of Stevenson, Telford and Jewel & Esk Valley colleges – would be a game-changer.

Acting and theatre performance lecturer John Naples-Campbell, who approached the actress’s agents about asking her to become patron, said: “She’s a veteran and has everything we could want – we’re absolutely over the moon. Discussions with her about holding classes at the college are still at an early stage, but we hope to have workshops which would be masterclasses in acting and performance for the students.”

Sessions with the star could even take place when students are on group expeditions away from college, he said.

“Obviously, we’re still fleshing all of that out and trying to work around her schedule. Our students will be going down to London in March to spend time working at the Globe theatre and Harry Potter World. It might be it’s easier for her to work with the students down there but, schedule permitting, she could also come up here.”

The appointment has been hailed by the college’s student leaders. Kelly Parry, student president elect, said: “It’s fantastic that Edinburgh College is attracting this kind of talent.”

Not just a pretty face

EMMA Thompson has won multiple acting awards over a 30-year career spanning film, TV and screen-writing. Hollywood hits include appearances as Professor Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; put-upon wife Karen in Christmas rom-com Love Actually, and the eponymous heroine in fantasy film Nanny McPhee. She has also shone in heavyweight roles – as Margaret Schlegel in Howards End (for which she won a best actress Oscar, right), and Gareth Peirce, lawyer for the Guildford Four in political drama In the Name of the Father.