AN ACTOR treading the cobbles of Coronation Street believes the talent in the borough is being wasted.

Will Travis, who plays Neil Beckett in the ITV soap, feels that there are not enough creative opportunities for young people in Leigh.

The 44-year-old former Bedford High School pupil, who still lives in the town, is hoping to show them what can be achieved through his acting school a Will and a Way.

Speaking to the Journal this week, he said: “I think people in Leigh grow up thinking that they’re not going to go anywhere and will end up working in a factory – not that there is anything wrong with that but there is when people grow up thinking that is the only option.

“There is nothing here for young creative people. I am a rugby fan and I often go to watch Leigh Centurions but I think sometimes we focus too much on sport in this region and not enough on the arts.

“Leigh has been given so little funding by the Arts Council and it has led to a troubling waste of talent. I am involved with Creative Leigh and I’ve been trying to set up an arts centre here for what seems like 10 years but hopefully by creating a school of excellence we can show kids that there is something else out there.”

Will, whose TV credits include appearances in Wild at Heart, This is England and Casualty, is about to appear in a play, Blind Date, alongside Sue MacArdle at the Bolton Octagon before it heads to London.

He is also starring in Harriet’s Army, the first episode of which was aired on CBBC on Monday, which tells the story of 14-year-old Harriet and her army of misfit children who search for spies during the First World War.

“Working on Coronation Street is great – there are lots of twists and turns in my storyline. I can’t give away too much but I recommend people keep watching,” he added.

“But the play is definitely the most exciting project I am working on at the moment. It is about two people who meet on the internet and both turn out to have lied about everything. There is lots of comedy and lots of heart-warming moments.”

  • For more details about Will and a Way and classes at Westleigh High School on Saturdays email or call 07974 103034.