Tom Glynn-Carney, former Pendleton Performing Arts student

The Salford student who swapped the hallways of Pendleton Sixth Form College, for a career on the big-screen.

Tom Glynn-Carney, former Pendleton Performing Arts student, made his big-screen debut in the box office hit, Dunkirk. Starring alongside the likes of Tom Hardy, Harry Styles and Cillian Murphy, last summer.

Since then Tom has landed a leading role on the West End’s, The Ferryman, and a starring role in the BBC military drama The Last Post.

The 23-year-old attended Cannon Slade School in Bolton before studying at Pendleton in Salford, between 2011 and 2013. The model student left college with a triple distinction star in performing arts, the highest possible grade someone studying for a vocational qualification can receive. He then went on to study at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in London, before embarking on a successful, film, TV and theatre career.

Tom said: “I can’t help but feel like I’ve won a lottery with every job I’ve had. I have learnt a lot from some of the greatest actors and directors of our generation, and to be able to say that aged just 23, is still difficult for me to comprehend.”

But, despite his early successes, Tom is eager to remain level-headed and close to his heritage. He said: “I hope that with a bit of Northern humour and a grounded, humble approach, I will continue working with my heroes and continue to have some pretty cool stories to tell.”

Tom’s first experience in television was in a cameo role in the BBC’s Casualty in 2013, but it wasn’t long before he hit our big screens as Peter Dawson in Christopher Nolan’s, award-winning war drama, Dunkirk.

Dunkirk grossed over $527 million (more than £396 million) worldwide and received eight Academy Award nominations, going on to win Oscars for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. The movie also received eight nominations at the Critic’s Choice Awards, eight nominations at the British Academy Film Awards and three nominations at the Golden Globes. It has been critically acclaimed and described as one of the greatest war films ever produced.

The film, set in 1940, depicts the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War 2, from the beaches of Dunkirk, North France. Peter Dawson, played by Tom, is the son of Mr Dawson, portrayed by Academy and BAFTA Award winner, Sir Mark Rylance. Mr Dawson, a civilian, sets out by boat to rescue soldiers stranded at Dunkirk, with his son and their teenage friend George, in tow. 

Following on from his success in Dunkirk, Tom has also taken a leading role in the West End as Shane Corcoran in the Jez Butterworth play, The Ferryman. The show opened at the Royal Court Theatre last year.

He then went on and won the Emerging Talent Award at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his performance in the play.

And, the success doesn’t stop there. Filming has just commenced for the new Netflix feature film, The King. The Netflix original, based on the work of William Shakespeare, will see Tom starring alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp and Ben Mendelsohn, with Brad Pitt amongst producers.

The young star will also play the role of Christopher Wiseman in the biographical drama of Tolkien, based on the life of Lord of the Rings writer, J.R.R Tolkien. The film, which also stars Lily Collins and Nicholas Hoult, is expected to hit big-screens later this year.

Tom, who is a self-confessed ‘humble Northerner’, feels extremely blessed for his accomplishments so far and thanks those who have helped him along the way, including Pendleton Sixth Form College, where he studied.

He said: “I am under no illusion that I am extremely lucky and fortunate. I am immensely grateful for the people, opportunities and establishments, including Pendleton, which have assisted me in achieving some very exciting things so far.

“I have a lot to thank Pendleton College for, and the staff who were there when I was. The college was largely responsible for the position I am in today. It provided me with skills I use every day, socially and professionally. I met some of my best friends at Pendleton and will always be grateful for that.

“I will remain a keen supporter of its future, growth and development.” 

Staff and current students from the college are extremely proud of Tom’s achievements to date. Lucy Huntbach, Head of Performing Arts at Pendleton Sixth Form College, said: “Tom was an enthusiastic and hardworking student who grasped every opportunity to develop his skills and perfect his performance techniques.

“We are tremendously proud of his achievements, not least his incredibly powerful performance alongside Mark Rylance in Dunkirk. An extremely moving and impressive film debut. The performing arts team continue to watch Tom's career progress alongside many of our department alumni.”

The up and comer is eager to remain close to his roots, he still holds strong connections with Salford and the college, and in March of this year visited Pendleton to put on an acting masterclass for current students. Helping them to get through the challenging and competitive audition process for admission into drama and performance schools.

During his visit, Tom spent time with his former mentor and current Head of the Centre of Excellence for Performing and Production Arts, Neil G Bennett, as well as his former classmate, Joseph Meighan, who is now Associate Theatre Director at Pendleton.

In his inspiring introduction to students, he proclaimed: “I spent two formative years at Pendleton. These two years were some of the best years of my life.” 

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