Man from Atlantis opens school’s drama studios

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A star of stage and screen met with students at his old school while opening a drama studio which named in his honour.

Robert Emms, who has starred in War Horse on stage and screen and is currently appearing in the BBC series Atlantis, dropped in at Oakwood School, in Horley,

The actor, whose real name is Robert MacPherson, opened the Robert Emms Drama Studios before taking part in drama workshops with students from Years 7 and 10.

He signed autographs and had pictures taken with students and members of staff who taught him when he attended the school.

Headteacher Sue Child said: “We are honoured to invite Robert and his family back to Oakwood and for him to open the new Robert Emms Drama Studios.

“I would like to congratulate Robert on his huge success and we are very proud of his achievements.

“We will look at the plaque on entering the studios and this will encourage us all to follow our aspirations and strive for success.

Debbie Solari, head of drama, added: “It has been a pleasure to welcome Robert back to open our new drama department in his honour, and to acknowledge his achievements in acting. 

“Robert has achieved so much in his career so far and is an inspiration to the students of Oakwood.”

Robert said he was “touched by the whole day” and thanked his old school for the honour.

Robert is currently starring as Pythagoras in the BBC series Atlantis on Saturday nights. 

In addition to performing in the West End production of War Horse, his recent film credits include Mirror, Mirror with Julia Roberts, War Horse and Kick-Ass 2.

In an interview with the Crawley Observer when War Horse hit the big screen in 2011, Robert described how he had been given the role of David Lyons by director Steven Spielberg while starring in the record-breaking production of the same story in the West End.

His tale had a rather unusual beginning.

He said: “I was sitting naked in my dressing room and someone told me that Steven wanted to come and see me.

“I was really lucky because when I was doing the play they announced he was thinking of doing a film and coming to see the show.

“I didn’t know what he was thinking at this point. I thought maybe he just wanted some ideas.

“The next day he asked for shots of my TV work to see what I looked like on screen.

“Then two weeks later I was offered the part.”

He added: “It was amazing, like a dream come true.

“You never even imagine it as an actor.

ou don’t aim to be in one of Steven Spielberg’s films.”