Lancaster Royal
Grammar School

Actor and OL Joel Phillimore

It was an absolute honour to have Joel Phillimore, Old Lancastrian and now one of the leading actors in the latest George Clooney film, back into school today. 

Joel attended LRGS from 2002 to 2008 and was Head Boy in his final year.  He left to go to the University of Oxford to study History of Art and has been enjoying acting and performing professionally ever since he left university.

His recent film, 'The Boys in the Boat' is currently in cinemas now.  Joel plays a significant role as one of the eight-man crew who were part of the Washington University team who went on to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Joel has very kindly written an article for us all about his experience of filming The Boys in the Boat and you can read it here.

It was fascinating to hear his story of how he first got into acting when he was just six years old in a BBC series called The Lakes.  He joined Stagecoach, a local performance school, and honed his skills. He also featured in the 2012 film Les Misérables.

Joel said that working on The Boys in the Boat "is the most exciting thing I've ever done in my whole life". He said that working with Director George Clooney was "really great! He is awesome, funny and talented. I was constantly learning from him and working together on a daily basis was amazing, we became friends."  Unbelievably, Joel did not row when he was at LRGS, although he did join the University of Oxford rowing team in his first year, so that experience came in handy!  Before filming began, Joel and the rest of the actors had to train for two months and learn to row like an Olympic team. He said by the time filming had started, the cast felt like brothers.  Despite the film being set in the USA, it was all filmed in England, at Henley, Eton Dorney and the Queen Mother Reservoir. 

Our students were brilliant at asking Joel questions. He explained how the audition process works, how resilient you need to be and that it is always good to have skills in other areas to fall back on and to support you as you look for work. Joel also works in Marketing and Development for Alive and Kicking.  Joel said the role he is most proud of is playing a murderer in Series Three of The Bay, filmed locally.

His dream role would be to play Hamlet!  

Head of Art, Mr Bagnold, taught Joel when he was at LRGS and he presented Joel with an honorary Expressive Arts tie. We hope to see him wearing it on a 'red carpet' one day.

Joel has promised to come back and see us soon... we hope he returns with a BAFTA! Thank you so much for visiting, signing autographs and taking selfies!