Actor’s inspiration for English students

AN ACTOR has shed light on one of the world’s most secretive states in a talk to students at Priestley College.

Paul Bailey spoke to A-Level English students about his experiences in North Korea and revealed that not all is as it seems.

“Whilst there is undoubtedly a lot of propaganda coming out of North Korea there is also definitely Western propaganda about the country that appears in our media,” said Paul.

“The best thing I can hope the students take away with them after my talks is that there are always two sides to a story. With experience and knowledge, it’s up to us to make informed opinions when we can and this can be synthesised in many aspects of life.”

Paul, who has a Masters Degree from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, spent a week in North Korea on a tour led by local guides.

He admits to having formed an opinion about North Korea based on news reports in the UK. However, visiting the country shed new light on it.

“I had an idea about what North Korea was like without ever experiencing it myself. When I realised that, I thought it had parallels to disliking a type of food without ever eating it, and that sort of discrimination didn’t sit well with me,” said Paul.

His talk consists of a slideshow complete with numerous anecdotes and, occasionally, his opinions although he tries to remain objective.

He also shares memorabilia collected on his travels such as a copy of the Pyongyang Times to show how the state-owned media portrays the country.

“I look at a class of interested faces and they are genuinely listening to my stories,” said Paul.

“When they talk amongst themselves, they’re talking about the topic. The students at Priestley ask intelligent questions and I’m always really impressed with their engagement.”

Paul is the writer, producer and actor in the film called ‘The Last One’ – a dystopian story that has won prizes at numerous festivals around the world.

Priestley students explore dystopian stories in their creative writing coursework so are also able to tap into Paul’s knowledge.

Student Noah Eden, who also studies Drama and Philosophy, said: “I found the workshop fascinating and beneficial, especially in helping me craft the screenplay for my coursework.”

Former Bridgewater High School pupil Aleks Milwicz added: “I found the session with Paul Bailey interesting as I was given an insight on how an idea morphed into a successful script, with the writing and creative process behind it.”