Film Festival Co-ordinator at the National Media
Museum, talented actor and founder member of
Paper Zoo Theatre Company, Ben Eagle studied
Theatre Studies, English Literature and Performing
Arts at Bradford College in 2003 and 2005.
“During 6th Form I spent 3 months working
every Saturday at Tesco’s stacking flour. I went
home very white and very depressed! I absolutely
hated it and realised that I had to do something
I enjoyed. On one of my many visits to the
Alhambra I envied the staff being paid to watch
the show so I applied to work front of house at
Bradford Theatres. It was the best job I could have
imagined and I still try to fit it in 9 years later. My
other love was film so I found another part-time
job at the National Museum of Photography Film & Television, now the National Media Museum. In
my spare time I came to College to study for AS
Levels in English Literature and Theatre Studies.
I always showed an interest in film so I was asked by the Film Department if I wanted to help out on the film festivals. In 2005 I started as Festival Administration Assistant and gradually took more responsibility so that by 2006 I was co-ordinating all the festivals: the Bradford International Film Festival; the Fantastic Films Weekend; Bite the Mango and the Animation Festival.”
Ben had done some performing at school and later with the Catholic Players and Actors Community Theatre, but was keen to learn more, so in September 2005 he enrolled on an evening class to do the National Award in Acting, which was to change his life. “Damien O’Keeffe was and still is an inspiration. His teaching was second to none and at the end of the year Dave Peel, Martin Knowles and I had bonded and didn’t want to stop working with each other. Together with Damien and some of the other staff and students we formed Paper Zoo Theatre Company. In less than 3 years we have put on 10 productions and we are taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. We have received fantastic critique and built a real following.”
As Film Festival Co-ordinator at the National Media Museum Ben has a job that film buffs everywhere would dream of. He has recently attended the Cannes Film Festival and the Animation Festival in Annecy; he gets to meet top film stars and movie producers and was recently discussing his acting ambitions with Kenneth Branagh.
“I have progressed purely on enthusiasm, passion and commitment. Stage and film share a similar sort of knowledge and culture. Becoming a professional actor is now my dream but in the meantime I have a job that I love.”
Photograph by Shelagh Ward