The Daily Lyre

The Daily Lyre

The journey of the newspaper, The Daily Lyre, through three decades. Starting in 1945 on VE Day, we witness the editor deliberating what the headline should be for a momentous day. As we merge into 1962, we follow the tense situation of the Cuban missile crisis and start to see the fabrication of news stories be embellished into The Daily Lyre. We eventually reach 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the paper now rife with fake news, false stats, and page 3 models. A once compelling, credible newspaper turns to another rag.



Charley Davies

My love for film increases in tandem with my love for acting. I have always wanted to join the actors from the films and TV I love to watch, on screen. Though I also love theatre and non-naturalism, it is creating three-dimensional characters who are captured so intimately and internalise the world around them, which is what I love about acting for film. There is also something satisfying about a community of creatives uniting to forge a piece of art. Creating a film relies on trust and on being a good listener. Each challenge only adds to the adventure of film-making, on which I want to continue as an actor and, in the future, as a writer.

Finding a route into the film industry is certainly more challenging for someone from Devon, like myself. However, I have been able to maximise the occasions where I have been on-set, to grow the network which is so necessary for success in film. I was a featured SA in Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton’ (2020) and in other productions, including with CITV. I played a lead in NYFA’s ‘In-sight’ (2020), which was showcased at Raindance Film Festival and went on to win ‘Best Ensemble Cast’ and ‘Indie Spirit Award for International Short Film’ at California’s Idyllwild Festival of International Cinema 2021. I am beyond excited for RiseUp, to continue to collaborate with others and to stretch myself as an actor and as a professional.


Frederick Pearce


Zak Russell-Jones

Zak has has always had a creative streak since being young. During his school years (born & bread in Stockport, Greater Manchester) most parent evenings would start with ‘…if only Zak would apply himself…’ and end with ‘…It’s just a lack of focus…’ To Zak, that lack of focus was creativity and imagination. He was labelled as that ‘young hyperactive kid’ that no one could control, until his passion for acting flourished.

Since the age of 12, Zak has been involved with numerous different theatre companies (Stars Drama Academy, Chads Theatre, Stage Productions) whilst undertaking LAMDA up to Bronze level. He was involved in productions such as Bugsy Malone, Romeo & Juliet, Tom’s Midnight Garden and The Chrysalids. In early 2014, Zak landed a role in Channel 5’s Fred & Rosemary West as John West.

In the summer of 2014 Zak successfully auditioned for the National Youth Film Academy’s #SetReady Course and managed to land 1 of 60 places available in the hope that the organisation would help him pursue his dreams of being a professional actor. Upon completing the Course, he got an offer to move up to Newcastle upon Tyne from his home in Manchester to work for the National Youth Film Academy.

Upon moving to Newcastle, Zak kept in close touch with Director and Camera Op Richard William-Scott who he met on the #SetReady Course. After successfully auditioning, Zak won the lead role (Jason) in Richard’s Internet series Corpse that was filmed through the closing months of 2014, leading into the New Year.

After working on a showreel, Zak was put in touch with London based agent, Shane Collins Associates. After a successful meeting, Zak signed with Shane and since that point, hasn’t looked back. Through Shane, Zak was able to gain professional experience in productions like Wolfblood and learn valuable skills & tricks attending numerous auditions. He has since worked on many different short & feature film projects: Unhinged, Catalyst and Solvii to name a few. The Devil Comes Calling is his latest project.

Zak is a proud member and Emerging Brit of the National Youth Film Academy. He simply cannot wait to work on the Rise Up programme and work with like-minded individuals once again.


Alexandra Finnie

Alexandra is a 19 year old actress from Glasgow, Scotland. Alexandra began training in 2016 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on their short courses programme before successfully auditioning for the Junior acting programme. During this period she portrayed Suzie Laing in the 2017 Biopic ‘Mad to be Normal’ starring David Tennant as R.D. Laing.
In 2018, Alexandra was featured in the BBC mini series ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ as Young Kirsten and she was also featured in the 2020 film ‘Our Ladies’ directed by Michael Caton-Jones.
Alexandra is a member of the National youth Theatre.
Most recently, Alexandra took part in the National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready course, where she portrayed Alexis in the 2020 short film “In-sight”.

Alexandra states “Acting is my passion, something I find true joy in. There is fun and laughter in the art form, but it can have a marvellous impact on others. The fact I can touch people’s hearts through a character I play, gives me purpose. I can’t wait to work on another project with the NYFA”


Katie Penn

Katie Penn is an English actress born in Kent, England. She has always had a passion for performing, dancing from the age of 3 and acting on stage from 9 years old at Prima Stage School of Performing Arts.
Knowing she wanted to pursue in the TV & Film industry, at 17, she joined the National Youth Film Academy, completing the Set Ready (Breakthrough) course in Easter 2017. She then trained for 3 years at the University of Chichester Conservatoire, studying BA(Hons) Acting for Film, graduating in 2021.
Katie wants to work in film because she has a huge passion for acting, being on set, working with new people and making connections. Katie landed a leading role in Manhunt (2020), directed by Charles Solly through NYFA’s Summer Shorts programme. She also currently can be seen in the Cineworld Cinema’s commercial advertisements and marketing.


Rosie Skuse

Rosie trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and has since had roles across film, TV and theatre. She has already enjoyed a varied career in film working on short and feature-length films in genres including psychological thrillers, dramas and comedies. She spent a summer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival working as an ensemble in the show which received 5* reviews and has since been working across fringe theatres in London. Working in film is something Rosie is extremely passionate about, she thrives on the ability to allow a microscopic dive into a character’s life, transporting them into a completely other world. Originally from a small village near Bath, Rosie has been living in London since the age of 18. As well as her acting career Rosie runs a live music consultancy that works with luxury hotels, restaurants and bars across London and Dubai.



Daisy Ashby-Hawkins


Daisy is a London-based director and writer. Since starting up her company, Pie Face Theatre, at the age of 16, Daisy has put on over 15 theatre and film productions. She loves writing and producing dark comedies because "what's greater than making people laugh?”. Her main goal when making a film is to... "make who and what we see on the screen more reflective of who we are as individuals.”


Harry Binns


The first serious film I worked on was as a part of the NYFA Set Ready Course, since then I have managed to work on a steady stream of small student short films and projects. The work I have been since then has allowed me to develop a strong understanding of delivering a narrative through music.

Working as a composer in film offers for me an opportunity to tell stories through music, to develop character and delve into people's emotions. I'm also a great lover of films so writing for them seems like a natural career path.

I'm from the town of Keswick in the Lake District. Although, I'm am currently living in Manchester for University.


Bella Gale

Assistant Director

I am a filmmaker from Teddington, and I have been working freelance in the industry since I was 18. My ambition for working in Film began as a childhood passion that just keeps growing. Since I can remember, I have been in awe of the production process of transforming an idea to a script and taking the script to the screen. I want to work in film because no project is ever the same, no story told on screen is the same and the possibilities of what can be created are endless! In 2017 I directed my first short film ‘Unplugged’ as part of the BFI Film Academy at Shepperton Studios and in the same year worked in production on independent feature films ‘Black Site’ and ‘I Love My Mum’. In 2018 I took part in the National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready course as an assistant director on ‘Snowflakes’ and went on to the Emerging Brits in 2019. In between these, the National Youth Film Academy helped me get work as a camera trainee on feature film ‘Lyrebird’ and work experience at Dan Hubbard casting. My goal for the future is to work in production or casting full time.


Conrad Pollock

Script Writer

I’ve had a couple of short films I’ve written be produced, both of which featured young people in difficult life events, including teenage pregnancy and suicide.
I want to explore complex issues in our world today as a writer, specifically how they affect our generation.
I was born and raised in London, and attended university in Bath.


Stanley Wong

Sound Technician

I am a sound technician currently based in Birmingham. I joined National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready course back in 2018. Since then I have been actively collaborating with other members on shorts and other projects. I have also recently had my first experience as crew for a feature film that was set in the West Midlands. I want to work in film because I have been a film enthusiast as far as I can remember, I believe it has the power transcend the boundaries of culture and allows us to truly connect as human beings. I have been a huge admirer of filmmakers such as Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro and it would be a dream come true for me to work alongside them some day.


Benjamin Atkinson


Benjamin Atkinson is a filmmaker based in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a strong grasp in the key disciplines of motion picture, he has created a diverse series of short films, commercial advertisements and promotional materials for his clients.

As a member of The National Youth Film Academy, Benjamin played the role of Cinematographer in the short film, ‘In-sight’ where he worked alongside other talented filmmakers last year. He is looking forward to work with the team once again for their latest short, ‘Loophole’ in 2021. Benjamin’s most recent independent directing project was short film, ‘The Message’, and he is currently working on an original feature-length musical entitled, ‘It Takes Two’.

Aside from videography, Benjamin has evidenced his entrepreneurial flair though the founding of his own clothing brand, Vibe Clothing, leading all aspects of the business from eCommerce to model endorsement. His suite of knowledge in website design, graphic design and social media marketing has led him to work with other small businesses across multiple industries.

With the interesting lifestyle, creative freedom and rewarding culture that comes with film, Benjamin is determined to pursue in his career and make a difference in the world. As a marketing student at the University of Edinburgh, he enjoys balancing his academic career with his love for commercial filmmaking and will continue to push his creative boundaries to achieve new and challenging results.


Tommy-Joe Brown


Hello, my name is Tommy, and I am a Producer from Kent! Last year I graduated from the University of Kent where I studied Film. Since then, I have produced two short films including Intrusion with the NYFA last summer on the SetReady course, as well as featured as an AD on a couple of others. I am really looking forward to working with Daisy and making her strong creative vision become a reality – and this is the biggest reason why I want to work in film. I love the collaborative nature of working with many different people, taking just an initial idea on paper all the way to making something that anyone can watch and making an impact no matter how big or small.


Dominic Howlett


Dominic often wonders where his life went horribly wrong… He had a good upbringing but yet he still decided to pursue a career in film. Despite this obvious and debilitating character flaw, he has managed to create film content for a range of small start-up companies like Google, IBM and Visa.

However, in recent years he has turned his attention to the wonderful world of short films. He has worked on several short films including the NYFA’s Solvi and On in 15. He has recently finished working on a quirky new comedy called The Smoking Fish which is due to be released this year. He is currently looking forward to getting started on the Rise Up film.


James Short


I am a filmmaker from Shaftesbury, Dorset. I have been studying Film Production for 5 years, soon to be 6 and have directed various short films doing so. The reason why I want to work in films is that I want to share my unique cinematic voice as a filmmaker with Autism and bring it to the general filmmaking audience.