Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 16:31 UK

Winslet's surprise school visit

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet with her Golden Globe award in January 2009

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet surprised students at her former stage school when she turned up during rehearsals for their latest shows.

The Reading-born star, patron of amateur dramatic group Starmaker, answered questions from young actors before taking part in a drama workshop.

Winslet appeared when curtains were pulled back on the stage at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School, Southcote.

She reminisced about being a student during the half hour chat on Wednesday.

'Don't be nervous'

The mother-of-two said: "Don't be shy, because I am very normal.

"Some of the people in this room can absolutely vouch for that. Ask me questions, anything you like."

The star, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in January for her role in film The Reader, watched rehearsals for the forthcoming productions of Boogie Nights and the Wizard of Oz before taking part in a workshop.

Asked for tips on overcoming first night nerves, she told budding actors: "The great thing is when the lights come on you, you as the performers on the stage, you're so blinded by the lights, you can't see the audience, so it's fantastic.

"You don't have to be all nervous at all."

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