Published: 12:34, 12 June 2012
War Horse, The Business, Green Street, Rocknrolla. The list of movies Geoff Bell has starred in goes on and on.
It is an impressive catalogue for any actor – especially one who came to the trade later on, aged 30.
In Geoff’s opinion, his success is testament to the quality of the tuition he received at the Morley College in Westminster by Brian Croucher, who lives locally in Alkham.
So now, when he opens his own screen school in October, that’s exactly what he wants to teach to a new generation of aspiring Kent actors.
“I’m not trying to teach people how to act, I’m teaching them to be natural – the way I do it,” said Geoff, who has a house in Deal.
The timing of the course in the winter coincides with a recognised quiet period for all actors, ensuring he can give as much of himself, and his knowledge, to his pupils.
“December to February is a quiet period. If you don’t have a job before Christmas, it’s likely you will be unemployed until March,” he said.
The school will run for 16 weeks and be based at the Astor Community Theatre in Stanhope Road with a final performance – possibly at the Courtyard Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Sondes Road.
Geoff’s working class roots are a clue to his desire to help others establish a career in acting. And his tough upbringing in high rise flats in London has influenced the naming of the school: The Flats.
In his 20s, Geoff established a successful business cleaning cars for Ford at motor shows in Europe. But when he was about 30 he craved a change of direction. One which led him to the Morley College and his lasting mentor, Brian Croucher.
“I wanted to change everything about me. I wanted to change my direction.
“I met Brian Croucher and he taught me to learn. The only experience I had was I used to do stand up comedy with my grandad.
“My grandad was the one who encouraged me, his belief, his love.”
His meeting with Mr Croucher opened his eyes to the likes of Harold Pinter and William Shakespeare.
Since then he has soaked up loads of TV roles and worked with many esteemed directors like Steven Spielberg.
“What I learned from him is amazing,” he said.
“In my life at Lambeth Walk, I never dreamed I would work with these directors. It is something so special.”
For the school in Deal, Geoff has chosen two local post-grad camera men to film the pupils, capturing their performances and natural moments.
The footage can then be scrutinised to improve their skills and will prove a definitive marker to gauge their progress.
It is a 16-week course and will consist of eight weeks of improvisation over two nights a week followed by a break in December. The students will be given work and then they will need to return and show how they have come on.
A talent scout from an agency in London will also cast his eyes over the budding actors at the school.
If you are interested in finding out more about Geoff Bell’s screen acting school, email: firstname.lastname@example.org