Carleton Hobbs Award 2023: Interview with Tyler Cameron

13 April 2023

A LAMDA student who was once affiliated with a Premier League football club has spoken of his delight at winning the BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award after only attending his first acting class four years ago.

Tyler Cameron was one of three actors awarded a bursary where he will join the Radio Drama Company in late July after completing his BA (Hons) Professional Acting course at LAMDA.

The Radio Drama Company (RDC), which was founded in 1939, allows freshly discovered acting talent the chance to work alongside established actors in a wide range of radio productions. The award is named after actor Carleton Hobbs, OBE, who portrayed Sherlock Holmes in 80 adaptations in a series of radio dramas. Cameron will be assigned a mentor at RDC where he will get the chance to secure parts in several roles at the BBC on a five-month contract up to Christmas.

At the age of just eight, Tyler was scouted by Manchester City and joined the club’s youth academy where he spent five years before being released at the age of 13. Tyler worked in several retail shops as a shop assistant before he moved to an engineering company. At the age of 24, Cameron tagged along with a friend who was attending an acting class which ‘changed his life’.

Tyler, now 28, said: “Ever since I was kid, I always loved acting. I used to love doing impersonations and different voices and always used to make my family laugh. I remember my friend said he was going to this acting class, and I asked him if it was ok for me to come and watch him but I ended up doing a read-in for The Wolf of Wall Street.

“From that moment, I knew I didn’t want to do anything else but act. It changed my life, and I started attending local acting classes every week. Yes, I might have been a promising footballer and could have maybe gone on to play professionally but my heart was never really in it. Acting is always what I’ve really wanted to do.”

Tyler applied for a scholarship to LAMDA, beginning his course in September 2020.

“I applied to different drama schools and got accepted at three, but LAMDA was always my first choice,” said Tyler. “Having little to no experience in acting, I was so unsure of what to expect but, from the moment I stepped through the door at LAMDA, I could feel the energy of the teachers, the staff, the students and it was exhilarating, and so exciting.”

The BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award has continued to follow the format which began in lockdown with the judging panel coming together over four days virtually to consider 28 young actors from 14 colleges. The panel, which met in February 2023, included actor Don Gilet, actors’ agent Kevin Brady of AHA Talent, and Production Executive at BBC Radio Drama London, Rebecca Wilmshurst.

Amy Cudden, Co-Head of Screen, Audio, Digital Performance and Innovation at LAMDA, said: “We are incredibly proud of Tyler bagging one of the three bursaries. His skill and passion were always beyond question, but the work he put in with Jade Matthew (audio director at LAMDA) is what ensured him the top spot. This is a huge win for the students, for the Screen and Audio department and for LAMDA.”

Tyler was commended for ‘Best Solo’ (Contemporary) for his three monologues: Not Knowing (written by himself), British anthology film series, Small Axe, and For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy by playwright Ryan Calais Cameron (no relation). Tyler was also commended for ‘Best Duologue’ with fellow LAMDA student Zoe Zak for Consensual by Evan Placey.

Tyler added: “I was overwhelmed when I got the call from Rebecca Wilmshurst at the BBC to say I had won the award. It meant that I had been recognised for something unknowingly that I had been doing since I was a child. To know that I’ve been selected to be a voice in the BBC is so fulfilling and a dream come true. It’s recognition and validation for all the hard work I’ve put in at LAMDA this past three years and I cannot wait to start in July.”