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Oscar-nominated actress Emily Watson OBE speaks at Chichester

The double Oscar-nominee met undergraduates from the BA (Hons) in Acting for Film where she spoke about self-doubt, luck, and her success on the silver screen

HOLLYWOOD actress Emily Watson OBE – star of the War Horse and Red Dragon blockbusters - has spoken to University of Chichester students about making it at the top of the film industry.

The double Oscar-nominee met undergraduates from the BA (Hons) in Acting for Film where she spoke about self-doubt, luck, and her success on the silver screen. The University degree, which is part of the department of Music, provides students with an intense focus of developing acting skills – including opportunities to learn from leading professionals – to prepare for a career in the industry.

Emily has had meteoric rise to become one of the most sought-after actors in the film industry, both in the UK and USA, across an eclectic career which includes award-winning films The Theory of Everything and Kingsman, as well as the ITV hit Appropriate Adult, for which show won a BAFTA. She has worked alongside some of the most creative directors and talented actors of her generation and her stellar performances have been universally acclaimed by critics and public alike.

Emily told the student audience that an actor needs to also take their acting seriously in order to succeed

Jonathan Rice, a Senior Lecturer and Programme Coordinator for the Acting for Film degree, co-organised the event. He said: "During a question and answer session, Emily spoke with authority and clarity about the industry and the qualities she felt have helped her on her way. She admitted that her success had been a combination of many things – but mainly “sheer bloody hard work,” and having been “lucky, lucky, lucky” at the very start of her career."

Emily later added that an actor needs to also take their acting seriously in order to succeed - her top advice was surprisingly simple and pragmatic: “Not to take mobiles on set, in the rehearsal studio or auditions,” she said. Her logic was equally simple: “In order to fully and totally engage with the processes of acting we need to focus and concentrate on the work in front of us and with the collaborators of the piece. You cannot do that when you are constantly looking down, you are not taking the work seriously.”

Jonathan Rice, a Senior Lecturer and Programme Coordinator for the Acting for Film degree, co-organised the event

Towards the end of the session a student asked whether Emily had ever suffered from self-doubt, and she revealed that she constantly doubts herself and her ability but has managed to deal with it over the years. “Self-doubt is like a loud dinner guest sitting opposite you on this large dining table – you know it’s there but you’re not obliged to engage with it,” she added. “The more you focus on getting through your meal, ie your work and what’s in front of you, the quieter he becomes.”

To find out more about the BA (Hons) in Acting for Film at the University of Chichester go to www.chi.ac.uk/department-music/our-courses/ba-hons-acting-film. Alternatively for more about upcoming guest speakers at the University of Chichester visit www.chi.ac.uk/music.

Oscar-nominated actress Emily Watson OBE speaks at Chichester