New short film released by community affected by Wigan School of Drama closure

A new short film has been released, made by the community affected by the shock closure of a drama school in Wigan.

Last Monday (April 4), the Academy of the Living and Recorded Arts (ALRA) announced its sudden closure, which left students, staff and alumni reeling. Citing that he was no longer “financially viable”. The school closed its two campuses in Wigan and Wandsworth, London and ceased all teaching and activities.

And now an ex-ALRA teacher, Lewis Fernandez, has released his short film, glass houses which features actors from the drama school.

Lewis Fernandez, 28, from Didsbury, has been made redundant from his job running filmmaking workshops for ALRA students. He said he was “worried” about releasing his film just days after ALRA closed.

READ MORE: Students and teachers wake up to learn their school will close permanently

He told MEN: “I was shocked when I found out that ALRA had shut down, and I was a little worried about releasing the movie now because the release date had been planned for a while. But I’m cracking up and looking for work. And, in fact, it’s a good time to showcase the work of ALRA students.

glass houses will exist as a memory because we all used to go to ALRA and how we came together to make it work.r “I hope that’s a positive note. Years later we will be known as “the school that closed”, but this film will exist as a stamp that says “we are all students who went to this school and here are some works that we did together. ‘ It’s kind of like a legacy from the school.”



Lewis Fernandez has released a new short which was shot in Didsbury and Wigan

Written and directed by Lewis, glass houses follows protagonist Liam (played by Coronation Street’s Lamin Touray) who tries to do the right thing, but his habit of being impulsive seems to take precedence over his sanity.

The majority of the film was shot in Didsbury and one scene in Wigan. Lewis was thrilled to find out how helpful the local community was in recommending filming locations.

Lewis continued: “I asked a lot of questions on a Facebook group in Didsbury about good places to film, and everyone wanted to help. The managers of the Khandoker Indian Restaurant said I could film in their bathroom, and I was also able to film in Kings Amusements atWigan.

“A man who was watching us filming in Didsbury let us take a picture of the inside of his flat through his window. It’s amazing as a rookie filmmaker, usually you have to pay to film in places like that.” I don’t have a huge budget so they really came together to help me. The support was overwhelming.

“I haven’t lived in Manchester for very long, so I It’s lovely and affirming that I’m in a nice place. You always hear that people from the North are very nice and friendly.”



An image of the Glass Houses movie poster
A poster for the movie Glass Houses

Additionally, Lewis shared the importance of Greater Manchester to the filming of the film.

The director and editor, who also makes an appearance in the film, added: ” I think it will be fun for people to watch because they will probably recognize the streets we filmed on. We filmed on the main road from Burnage to Didsbury.

“I think the spots I chose are quite urban and had the right feel for the film. Liam’s character is someone who is inside all of us.”



A photo of ALRA's North Campus in Wigan.
ALRA North Campus in Wigan. The school announced its closure last week (Monday April 4), which left students, staff and the theater industry in shock.

Finally, Lewis said working with talent based in the North West was a highlight for him.

He added: “I had a really great cast and crew. ALRA students are always eager to get involved, so was a comfortable experience for me to work with familiar people.

“Lamin took the role like a fish in water. I would like to work with him again.

“S To see the number of people in the North West: actors, cameramen, directors, doing their thing, it’s fantastic. J There is a real wealth of talent in Manchester and that was very clear to me.

I would love to do more films set in Manchester, using Manchester’s talent.”

Watch glass houses on Vimeo here.

See more of Lewis’ work here and follow him on Twitter here.

Get the latest headlines delivered to your inbox with our newsletters.

Far-right nationalist group linked to banner unfurled above Etihad Stadium during Man City game – as locals also express concern over similar ‘terrifying’ leaflets they passed through the gate

He hid a dark secret… and his girlfriend was completely unaware of the skeletons in his closet.

Comments are closed.