Kingsley Ben-Adir: Our Second Speakers for Schools Guest

12 Apr 2021

4 mins
Kingsley Ben-Adir - our second Speakers for Schools guest
Kingsley Ben-Adir - our second Speakers for Schools guest

On Friday 26 March 2021, acclaimed actor Kingsley Ben-Adir joined us as a guest for our second live webinar event in partnership with Speakers for Schools. It was free to attend, available for all UK secondary schools and was aimed specifically at KS3-5/S1-6. Check out more about his session below and listen out for news on our future Speakers for Schools guests!

Kingsley Ben-Adir, breakout star of One Night in Miami, has been making headlines for his captivating portrayal of Malcolm X in the film. The film has received three Golden Globe nominations, with Kingsley picking up the prestigious ‘Breakthrough Actor' Award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the ‘Breakthrough Performer' by the New York Film Critics. He was also longlisted in BAFTA's ‘Leading Actor' category for 2021.

Our year 10 Drama students loved the session and the advice he gave, in particular the importance's of being resilient. Staff and SLT who took part also thought the Q&A session was fantastic and could see the students were fully engaged.


Keep busy, and there will be rejections, and they will hurt but they can be used as opportunities to grow.

Actor, Kingsley Ben-Adir

The session was a huge success, with 44 schools registering and around 900 young people attending from across the UK. Meanwhile, Kingsley sharing many inspiring and informative words of wisdom:

On what he wished he'd known at the start of his career - "If I could go back and talk to the 19-year-old me, just when I started thinking about auditioning to drama school, I would tell him to relax and try and enjoy it a little bit more. It's going to be alright and it's not the answer to everything; there are other things in life as well. Work hard and have fun at the same time - it's possible to do both".

On doing justice to Malcolm X - "It was a really special experience. Because I came onto the project really last minute - I had about two weeks to prepare - I was pretty nervous. Malcolm X is probably one of the most interesting and complex human beings that you can ever imagine playing. It was really quite stressful but I knew I had to do it because I knew the job was too important and the character was too amazing. The opportunity was too big so I just had to work out how I was going to do it".

On dealing with rejection and staying motivated - "There's so much rejection, and there's highs and lows, and ups and the downs...but each one of those knocks you can learn something from. With auditions now, I always try and make sure I am using the audition to help me get better. I didn't know that when I first started because you're so desperate to work and be involved in the profession. You have to have other things in your life as well, like I find that boxing and swimming really help me, and taking care of myself. Watch loads of films, stay tuned into shows and write down names of directors you like and who else is involved. Keep busy, and there will be rejections, and they will hurt but they can be used as opportunities to grow".

On diversity in the industry - "The industry has changed a lot (since Kingsley left drama school in 2011) but I think there's still a long way to go and I don't want to give too much credit because I don't want anyone to take their foot off the gas. For people starting in the industry, it seems to be that there are more opportunities. For me, I go script to script, and make sure that I'm thinking about the teams that are putting it together, and the actors, and the casting, to make sure that each job feels like it's representing in the best way possible".

You can also watch the full session for our first Speakers for Schools Q&A with Rocks and Suffragette director, Sarah Gavron:

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