A HOLLYOAKS and Shameless actor has set up his own academy for budding screen stars.

Thomas O’Toole hosted his first acting classes earlier this week after himself spending ten years in drama school and the television industry.

The 21-year-old, from Rawtenstall, said he hoped he could unearth some stars of the future during the lessons.

Mr O’Toole, who has also appeared in Waterloo Road and Fresh Meat, said he wanted to do something new and give something back to the town where he grew up.

The sessions take place at Sparkle Dance Academy in Burnley Road, Rawtenstall, with students in its first week ranging in age from five to 50.

Mr O’Toole, who honed his skills at the Carol Godby Theatre Workshop in Bury, said: “I didn’t expect so much interest initially but all 10 places were full at the under-12s class on Tuesday and I’ve got 17 people interested in coming along next week.

“It’s great to be able to point people in the right direction and see them transform in front of your own eyes.

“Some kids come in without confidence and to see them leave with their heads held high and come out of their shell is really pleasing.

“One woman in the over-12s class on Thursday was 50 and had never done anything like this before.”

Mr O’Toole, formerly a landlord at Madison’s Wine Bar, juggles his new teaching role with another job as a barman at Zazu Bar in Bacup Road.

The former Haslingden High School and Accrington and Rossendale College student will be back on screens later this month playing a thief in the final series of Channel Four drama Shameless, created by Burnley writer Paul Abbott.

Jody Latham, who grew up in Colne and now lives in Bacup, and Burnley actress Alice Barry, also appear in the series.