Film school student, 21, refuses to let cerebral palsy hold him back

21-year-old Steven Dowle (L) from Ely has started his final year at university with ScreenSpace.

21-year-old Steven Dowle (L) from Ely has started his final year at university with ScreenSpace in London. He's refusing to let his disability hold him back from a career in the screen industry that he's hoping for. - Credit: Steven Dowle

An Ely man who has cerebral palsy is refusing to let his disability hold him back as he starts his final year at university studying BA content, media and film production.

21-year-old Steven Dowle is a student at MetFilm School London’s ScreenSpace, based at the world-famous Ealing Studios. 

“I came across ScreenSpace by accident – I'd originally wanted to be an actor as it was something I was good at and enjoyed at school,” said Steven. 

Prior to starting university, Steven had a couple of auditions for TV shows including Ruth Jones’ ‘Stella’. 

But it was at a university open day when Steven was told about ScreenSpace and he’s never looked back. 

“I was sceptical at first because it was a new degree, but I really liked the idea of it,” he said. 


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“I investigated what it was and what it could offer me and decided it would be ideal.” 

Just getting to university is quite an achievement for Steven. 

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He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was less than a year old. 

At school, he was led to believe that university shouldn’t be a consideration for him.

BA Content, Media and Film production student, Steven Dowle from Ely now lives independently in London

BA Content, Media and Film production student, Steven Dowle from Ely now lives independently in London, and believes going to university was the right decision for him. - Credit: Steven Dowle


Steven said: “Mum knew there was something wrong with me when I was around 10 months old. 

“I was at the stage when most babies are starting to pull themselves up to stand, but I was just collapsing. 

Steven has never been able to walk, he uses a wheelchair and says he can pull himself up to stand, but only for around 30 seconds.

Moving away for university meant leaving his family home in Cambridgeshire to live independently in London, but that has proved to be the right choice.

“Coming to university was a big decision, but my college encouraged me to apply,” he said. 

“It was the right decision; it’s been brilliant!” 

Dr Lisette Johnston, head of school at ScreenSpace, said: “Steven has been a brilliant addition to the course and his positive can-do attitude makes him a huge asset on set. 

“Disabled students are frequently underrepresented in higher education and Steven brings a different perspective on our teaching delivery. 

“We have learned a lot from him and put practices in place which are now benefitting fellow students.” 

After university, Steven hopes to build a career in the screen industries. 

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