ACTOR James McAvoy has donated £10,000 to a youth theatre to help ensure its classes can be accessible to all during the coronavirus pandemic.

Edinburgh Youth Theatre (EYT) re-imagined its classes in an online format when the Covid-19 crisis hit and its weekly classes for three to 18-year-olds, held at Bellfield in Portobello, were no longer possible.

Despite the success of the online classes, EYT said its income was “severely reduced” as many parents could not commit to paying for classes – even though the company stood by its Pay What You Can Scheme to ensure they were accessible for everyone.

Hollywood star McAvoy has made a “substantial donation” to the Pay What You Can Scheme, which means EYT can now offer The James McAvoy Bursary as the main branch of the scheme. Any potential or current student facing financial hardship will be able to access the bursary scheme to reduce their fees to an amount manageable for their family.

McAvoy met EYT’s artistic director Shauna Macdonald when they both attended Paisley Youth Theatre as teenagers and they have remained friends ever since.

He said: “Youth theatre was the spark that ignited a passion for drama in me, and as well as being the place I met Shauna it helped build in me a confidence that many children from low-income household lack.

“So many aspects of the performance industry and arts education already feel like the preserve of the privileged so I believe it is vital that enriching learning opportunities like Edinburgh Youth Theatre should be accessible to all.”