Initiative seeking ethnic minority illustrators and animators adds star judge

Winners will secure an internship at a top company.

Ore Oduba has joined the judging panel of an initiative seeking illustrators and animators from the UK’s under-represented ethnic groups.

The Secret Story Draw will offer up-and-coming creatives the chance to win paid internships of at least three months at companies including Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman, DNEG and Jellyfish Pictures.

Winners will also be assigned an established industry mentor who will guide them through the process.

FIRE Aardman
Aardman Animations characters Wallace and Gromit (Aardman Animations/PA)

A number of top children’s writers have anonymously provided stories to the initiative and entrants are invited to bring those stories to life through their work.

The author of each story will remain anonymous until the winners are revealed in June, but announced contributors include Runaway Robot writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce, The Demon Headmaster’s Gillian Cross and Paw Patrol author Keith Chapman.

Former Strictly Come Dancing champion Oduba, 35, said: “I’m so excited to be a part of this ground-breaking campaign, and amongst such illustrious company too.

“There is so much amazing, undiscovered talent out there, people who might otherwise never have had the opportunity, and I’m so glad The Secret Story Draw gives them the platform to show it.

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Ore Oduba and his partner Joanne Clifton on Strictly (BBC/PA)

“Having started my career in children’s television I know how important a launchpad this could be for so many under-represented creatives. I can’t wait to get started.”

The sports presenter turned musical theatre star joins a judging panel that also includes The Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, Aardman Animations creative director Steve Harding-Hill and director of Sony Kids Network Jamila Metran.

The Secret Story Draw is being run in association with partners including Bafta Kids, ScreenSkills and Macmillan Children’s Books.

For further information visit www.thesecretstorydraw.org.

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