Drama school set up by Corrie star Tina O’Brien after she couldn’t find suitable acting class for her daughter celebrates 10th birthday

By Katie Fitzpatrick

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away from Weatherfield coronation street actress Tina O’Brien’s own drama school, The Drama MOB, is celebrating its 10th birthday after introducing a new generation of talent to the soap.

Mum of two, Tina, 39, who has played feisty Sarah Barlow nee Platt in Coronation Street since 1999, launched The Drama Mob in 2013 with her best friend, Esther Morgan, 40, after the star couldn’t find a suitable acting class for her daughter Scarlett, who was then aged three.

Since then the drama school has grown from strength to strength. Skills learned by the youngsters at the school have seen them win professional roles in soaps and dramas, adverts and theatre. 

Tina, who has been working in TV and theatre since she was 10, regularly teaches in the classes and offers one-to-one guidance. And fellow director Esther, a former primary school teacher specialising in drama, manages The Drama MOB casting agency.

Launched in 2015 following the success of the classes, the agency represents young actors with roles in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks and their talent has worked with big brands including Waitrose, Tesco and John Lewis.  

In 2018 four-year-old Freddie Henderson became an instant star playing the youngest version of music legend Sir Elton John in the eagerly-anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad The Boy and the Piano, which charted the hitmaker’s musical journey after being gifted a piano for Christmas.

He was chosen from thousands of children, with Sir Elton himself giving him the seal of approval because of his likeness to himself as a child. 

Sebastien Tensel and Jake Ademola star in children’s series The World According to Grandpa and Maizie Wickson stars in the BBC 2 sitcom Alma’s Not Normal.

Other The Drama MOB talent have appeared in the feature film The Railway Children Return and the 2o22 Amazon rom-com Your Christmas Or Mine. Twin brothers Freddie and Isaac Rhodes play Tina’s on-screen son Harry Platt in Corrie and The Drama MOB provided triplets and twins to play Chesney Brown and Gemma Winter’s quadruplets Aled, Bryn, Carys and Llio. 

The Drama MOB represents 11 children in total on Corrie. They also represent Rufus Morgan smith who plays Bertie Osbourne in the show, Eleanor Beckles who plays Glory Bailey and Oakley and Carter Townsend who plays Alfie Franklin. James and Charlotte Holt and Lily, Lucy and Arthur Taylor play the quads.

Tina, who played pupil Bex Fisher in Waterloo Road back in 2010, was proud to see her daughter receive high praise for her role as Izzy Charles when the show was rebooted earlier this year after learning the ropes at The Drama MOB.  They have never been busier while keeping their books small and selective to ensure that they know their talent well.

Tina and Esther have been friends for 29 years after meeting when they were just 11-years-old at Trinity High School in Hulme, both sharing a love of drama.

“It started out when I was looking out for a place for Scarlett,” explained Tina, “There were a lot of big places but they were all franchises. Between us with our experience we thought ‘we could do that’” she added.

And Esther, whose nine-year-old son Isaac Armstrong was thrilled to land a role in an ad for Emirates with the Arsenal team, said: “One of our first students who joined us when they were just four still comes to us.

“Some of the kids have grown up with us and Drama MOB has given them the confidence they wouldn’t have had before.”

Classes start for children from the age of four and in 2021, due to demand, The Academy launched for performers aged 16 and above with Hannah Bounds of HBActing to give talent the opportunity to remain with Drama MOB into adulthood.

Tina explained: “Last Friday night one of our talent had her first acting credit in Corrie. She played a nurse in scenes with Dame Maureen Lipman. To have your first TV credit alongside acting royalty is brilliant.”

After 10 years, starting out with just Tina and Esther at the helm, Drama MOB now has 450 budding stars signed up to classes with 12 drama teachers leading 23 classes per week and 400 on the books with the agency. The school runs a scheme to offer some free places to ensure that access to training is accessible to everybody.

After launching at The Parsonage in Didsbury, Drama MOB now also runs classes at Gatley Hill House in Cheadle and The Fairways Lodge in Prestwich. 

For more information about The Drama MOB visit thedramamob.com

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