Entrepreneurial student flying the flag for diversity

Entrepreneurial student Charlotte Armitage is combining her doctorate studies with work to champion diversity.

Charlotte, who is completing a Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at Teesside University, is also managing director of the Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television and YAFTA Talent Agency based in Leeds.

Among actors represented by Charlotte’s YAFTA talent agency is James Moore, who recently made television history after being crowned Best Newcomer at this year’s National Television Awards following his ground-breaking role as Ryan Stocks in Emmerdale.

James is the first disabled actor to win the coveted award and Emmerdale’s first actor with cerebral palsy cast in a lead role. YAFTA is leading the way in encouraging on-screen representation of diversity, having also placed Down Syndrome actor Liam Bairstow as a regularly character on Coronation Street.

Charlotte, 35, who set up her acting academy and talent agency around six years ago, has her own background in acting having appeared in Coronation Street and drama series Happy Valley.

But she had always wanted to return to study, having previously completed a psychology degree.

She said: “The business had reached the stage where it was doing well and my five-year-old daughter had started school, so the time felt right.

“It can be a bit of a juggling act in running the business and completing the doctorate, but I had always wanted to return to education. There is a great balance with my studies and my business, as the acting side brings some lightness.”

Having grown up with a severely disabled brother, Charlotte also knows the challenges which can be faced by those who have a disability.

And as a single parent having experienced bankruptcy in the past, Charlotte is passionate about promoting the importance of taking care of our mental health.

Alongside her work with the Academy she is an advocate of mental health awareness and a board member for two mental health charities.

Charlotte, who is originally from Harrogate and is now based in Pontefract said: “We are passionate as an agency about promoting, celebrating and encouraging accuracy in on-screen representations of diversity.

“James’ win is a great example of what can be achieved and he is a great role model for other actors with disabilities.

“This win really is testament to how much public understanding and appreciation of disability has evolved. We couldn’t be happier.”

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