INTERVIEW: behind the scenes with actor George Webster

George Webster is just at the start of his acting career, but he’s already becoming a well-known name both on and off screen. We catch up with George to talk about his career so far and how he wants to see representation change in the future.

Since appearing in S.A.M film in 2020, George Webster hasn’t stopped and his presence on and off the screen is only growing.

Now nominated for a National Diversity Award, George recently went viral with his video for BBC Bitesize on the 5 Myths of Down’s syndrome, all while continuing his full-time studies at Mind the Gap performing arts college, training with multiple dance companies, volunteering and working part-time as a barista.

Having just become a trustee for the Down Syndrome All Party Parliamentary Group, backed by MPs, George sat down with Enable to discuss his acting journey so far, upcoming projects and the importance of disability representation in the media.

The response to S.A.M film has been amazing, how has this made you feel?

The positive response to S.A.M has made me feel super happy because the film explores the themes of learning disability and sexuality. It’s an essential message for the whole world to see, which S.A.M conveys very well. It feels brilliant to see so much positivity for this film. I love working with Neil and Lloyd. 

Congratulations on your National Diversity Awards nomination for being a positive role model! How did you feel when you found out you were nominated?

When I found out that I got nominated for the role model award, I felt amazing and chuffed for myself. I was also excited to tell mum and dad this fantastic piece of news. I was also surprised because I didn’t even expect it. 

To me, being a role model means a lot. I inspire many people even my friends and family, and I like being positive. I’ve spoken at a few conferences about my life story and being an ambassador for parkrun, and Mencap which I hope will inspire loads of people. 

Who are your biggest role models in life?

To be honest my friend and family are my biggest role models, including my mum and dad; I love both of them to bits. They’re really positive all the time and they’re where I get my positive vibes from, they inspire me a lot. Whenever my dad speaks at conferences that really inspires me to see myself up there and talking to the public, changing the world and changing people’s perspectives.

You are currently working with Separate Doors as part of an ensemble of people with and without learning disabilities, how do you feel about the current representation of the disability community on stage, and in the wider media? 

I’m very excited to be part of Separate Doors National Ensemble. To me personally, I feel happy that there is some representation of people with a learning disability in the theatre and wider media such as a couple of films called My Feral Heart and The Peanut Butter Falcon with newcomer Zack Gottsagen.

“There does need to be more representation for actors with any disability.”

But, there does need to be more representation for actors with any disability because we do exist and we can show the wide world our talents, and to show them that we don’t need to say no to any opportunity that comes our way. 

What steps would you like to see the film and TV community, along with the wider media, take to ensure that their content reflects society? 

There needs to be more people with disabilities in TV and Film and the wider media too.

Our roles should be good ones and our stories should be told.

This means people like me can change assumptions made upon us because we are not there to be judged and we are people like you all are. I know lots of people [with Down’s syndrome] and we have interesting lives as well as normal lives. 

In your opinion, should non-disabled actors be portraying characters with a disability? Is it just acting, or should it be decided on a case-by-case basis? 

I think it should be decided on a case-by-case basis, because the disabled population needs to come first so then they can bring their personal stories to their characters and the film itself. Then, after there is a lot more representation of actors with a disability then non-disabled actors can take on disabled roles but still with disabled actors as well. 

You were recently cast in The Railway Children Return as the telegram boy, how do you feel about this upcoming role? 

I feel super excited to play the telegram boy in this film and to start some filming for it in a few weeks with the other cast and crew in Haworth. The most important thing is that the character doesn’t specify having a disability which shows that we can get any role. 

Are there any other upcoming projects that you are really excited about?

I’m also starring in a new short film called Bebe AI with Bethany Asher and Amanda Abbington. We filmed it a few weeks ago and it’s going to be brilliant. I love sci-fi so that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be in the film, but the storyline was so interesting and my character is so interesting so I’m really looking forward to the film Bebe AI coming out.

I’ve got a few secret things in the pipeline. They’re really exciting. I’m looking forward to what my acting future will bring. 

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