ACT 2 CAM is a production company and acting school based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
The company is notable for producing independent films which have been devised by the cast and crew involved. Company members devise, perform and shoot the films, using collaborative, creative processes to make decisions.
ACT 2 CAM is registered with Ofsted, the UK's official body for inspecting schools and standards in education. This move was taken to assure quality control and also to qualify for the UK government's Childcare voucher scheme.
The company currently has over 100 cast and crew.
ACT 2 CAM describe themselves a family-run and community-spirited organisation.
Driven by the lack of opportunity for young actors, especially in North East England, ACT 2 CAM aims to give young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to express themselves through drama and film.
Their broader mission is "to lead a grassroots revolution in the way people experience film, turning the public from passive consumers into active participants."
They regard their main asset as high quality teaching, by fully qualified teachers.
Director Stephen Woods founded ACT 2 CAM as an after school drama club in 2008 at Polam Hall School in Darlington, originally under the name "DIY Drama" (Devised, Improvised, Youth Drama). Over a period of 2 years DIY Drama invited students from schools in the region to showcase their GCSE and A Level performing arts work to camera.
In January 2010 ACT 2 CAM began work with a small group of 20 young people aged 11 to 18 in Whitley Bay, to devise, perform and film Beanz, which premiered at Tyneside Cinema. In May 2010 ACT 2 CAM took on more cast and crew, and began delivering screen acting classes to 8- to 18-year-olds. A summer camp followed in July 2010, where Jo Ward, executive producer of Tracy Beaker, and Lisa Coleman attended the group. Over one week a cast and crew of 22 young people collaborated to make the film, Mystery Babylon, which premiered at Tyneside Cinema in May 2011. In 2011 the company opened up 15 more centres in Durham, Harrogate, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Morpeth, Newcastle, York, Sunderland and Leeds.
In November 2011 ACT 2 CAM released Such is Life, a collection of dramatic tales devised by young people, with soundtrack by Lee Perry.
In September 2012, following 3 Summer Camps at the Forest of Dean, Alton Castle and Bootham School, ACT 2 CAM moved premises to The Linskill Centre. A new project was launched, entitled The Big Film.
Over the course of 10 months from 2012–2013, the company worked on its first feature film, which was shot in July 2013. The film, entitled The Cullercoats Fish Lass follows the fortunes of a Cullercoats Fish Lass living in Edwardian times.
In January 2013, Mark Knopfler, lead guitarist of British rock band Dire Straits donated £1000 to fund the project.
Through sale of cinema tickets and DVDs, the film raised money for the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. DVDs were given for free to local schools.
In September 2013, ACT 2 CAM began work on its second Big Film Project, this time expanding the age range to provide acting and filmmaking opportunities for adults. The company joined up with the charity, "North East Hearts and Goals", aiming to provide defibrillators for public spaces.
The film went into production in April 2015 and is due for release in November this year. The story explores social acceptance and social dominance in schools, and also aims to provide contemporary life saving skills to young people.
It was sponsored by WellMedical, and includes an interview with Professor Douglas Chamberlain, CBE, KSG the British cardiologist who founded the first paramedic unit in Europe, revolutionising pre-hospital clinical care.
Newcastle United footballing legend Peter Beardsley also makes a guest star appearance.
ACT 2 CAM cast and crew work collaboratively to craft their ideas in film. Improvisation features highly in the preparation and execution of ACT 2 CAM's films. All projects begin without a script, and are developed using process drama and Applied Drama techniques. There is an emphasis on collaborative creativity, with cast and crew working and making decisions in groups. Techniques are taught which promote teamwork and interactive skills, with a practical learning approach.
The company uses and teaches the approaches and techniques of several practitioners. The most significant influences on work are:Antonin Artaud
Til Death Do Us Part (2014)
The Cullercoats Fishlass (2013)
The York Films (2013)
Cheery Little Stories (2013)
Youth of Today (2012)
Beggars' Teeth (2012)
The Kingham Hill Project (2011)
Such is Life (2011)
Mystery Babylon (2011)
The Good Barber (2011)
Blood on the Catwalk 2011