Bradford based actor Liam Bairstow, 28, has landed a role in the world’s longest running soap opera Coronation Street. Liam, who works with England’s largest learning-disabled theatre company Mind the Gap will be appearing in the ITV soap in the role of Cathy Matthew’s nephew, Alex Warner from September.
Liam says: “It has been an amazing opportunity! I’ve wanted to be a TV actor for years and I’m loving every minute of it. It’s been brilliant to work with the Corrie team and I’d like to thank Mind the Gap for giving me the skills to get work like this.”
Mind the Gap’s Senior Producer Lisa Mallaghan says: “We spotted an opportunity for our actors to apply to an ITV workshop called Breaking Through in November 2014. Aimed at experienced actors with disabilities we submitted 10 of our Resident Artists to take part and Liam and fellow actor Anna Gray were selected. Producers were so impressed with Liam, they offered him a role on Corrie. This is a fantastic shift in the way producers cast disabled actors and we’re delighted to see ITV leading the way.”
In a statement, Coronation Street’s Producer Stuart Blackburn said: "He's going to be coming in as Cathy's nephew. It's not some politically correct thing. We actually found there a really great actor with a wonderful sense of timing. The cast have been really enjoying working with him."
Liam joined Mind the Gap’s Making Theatre course back in 2009 and became one of their Resident Artists in 2013. Since then he has appeared in many of their professional productions including a lead role in the National Tour of Treasure Island in 2013 and international work in Galway (Ireland) and Paris (France) in the last year. As well as filming, Liam is currently rehearsing for Mind the Gap’s new touring production Contained, which will premiere at Mind the Gap Studios in Bradford on 16 & 17 October and then go on to the Arc, Stockton and Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton later this Autumn.
Liam is not the only Mind the Gap actor appearing on TV: Fellow Resident Artist JoAnne Haines has also just finished filming for BBC daytime soap Doctors and her episode will be aired in November this year.