BY TIM McNULTY
Roadman Vampire is a comical web series about a young man from South-east London who wants to get into acting but is torn between the social pressures and conditions of being a ‘roadman’, whilst also being a vampire.
The project, filmed entirely on an iPhone, also explores gang-related crime and the need for artistic voices for young working class people.
One of the show’s creators, actor Elliott Rogers, said: “I started writing this because a lot of the people I know are still kind of involved in that lifestyle and at the moment in London, and where I’m from in Eltham, in the last six months there has been a lot of knife crime and youth crime.
“One of my mates was actually in hospital at the time in a critically ill condition, he had been stabbed. I thought ‘sod it’, maybe we can make a difference through dramatising something rather than campaigning and maybe this can even be the campaign in a way.”
The project involves young people from Eltham and Lewisham with little to no acting experience, as well as professional actors who have worked on shows such as EastEnders and Game Of Thrones.
The other project leader is Piers Reed, who is studying game design at London Southbank University. His skills in concept art and digital design ensured a sleek, professional final look for their social media platforms. Piers, in his second year at uni, also works as a model for Vidal Sassoon.
Elliott said: “In my area, a lot of people see acting and the arts as dudes jumping around on stage in leotards.”
He added: “It wasn’t really until the 2000s when Noel Clarke wrote Kidulthood and Adulthood that people from an urban and youth background actually began thinking there is a place for us and a time for us to have a creative voice.”
Roadman Vampire aims to inspire young people, primarily from a working-class background in South-east London to get involved in the arts and have a creative outlet.
Elliott said: “I wasn’t given much guidance or advice from my secondary school when I decided I wanted to go to drama university.
“We want to start changing that by letting young people from London know they own the right to have an artistic voice and freedom to create their own work. Not only that but how simply it can all be done.”
Elliott described how filming the first episode of Roadman Vampire made a quick impact.
He said: “After our first episode, one of the young boys from a criminal background came up and told us how much fun he’d had and that he wanted to get into acting.
“It was inspirational as well as motivational for us to really reach out to our community. Hopefully, me and my brother have inspired them to actually go away and make their own thing and have their own creative voice because everyone should have and I believe it is important to do.”
Elliott is currently in talks with schools in the area about providing acting workshops to students.
The first episode in the five-part Roadman Vampire series will be released on YouTube this month.