Melissa Johns wins TOYP Award

It has been announced that Winterson’s actress, Melissa Johns, has won a 2017 TOYP Award, granted by the global JCI organisation to Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World, for inspirational achievements in their chosen field.

The Awards programme focusses on individuals who are contributing to making the world a better place, and taking a leading role in inspiring change. Melissa has campaigned strongly for the equal representation of actors with disabilities on the UK stage and screen, and hit the headlines across the UK press recently when she took up the hugely impactful role of Imogen in Coronation Street.

“I was so thrilled to learn that I’d been nominated for the TOYP Award but I didn’t think I would go onto be a winner,” said Johns. “Being told that I was a winner was an incredible thing to hear. The award recognises individuals that excel in their chosen fields, have a positive impact on communities and are an inspiration to others. It’s genuinely heart-warming to know that people think this is something I’ve achieved.”

As an actor with a disability, Melissa has been campaigning for better representation of actors with disabilities since starting drama school. She highlights how casting disabled actors in roles on both screens and stages can enrich the overall quality of entertainment that is provided.

“Actors with a disability have a different take on the world because of the fights and blocks we have already had to endure. That is reflected in our performances and how we take on characters, which in itself creates a beautiful, unique and organic representation of real life. It also has a positive change on societies views and knowledge of disability – so a double whammy really.”

“Being cast as Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street has been an amazing step forward in this. Playing a strong, feisty and flirty character that is also a female with a disability in her twenties is just amazing. Showing a female with a disability in a such a strong minded role is exactly the way that we should be moving forward. And it’s one that I have absolutely loved!”

A huge congratulations to Melissa who is clearly shining off as well as on-screen, and demonstrating leadership on key issues that are important both within the industry and beyond. For more information on on the JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons Awards click here.