Danny Boyle has launched a passionate campaign urging regular Britons to visit their local playhouses. The Oscar-winning director who helmed this year's Olympics opening ceremony, recalled the "sense of wonder" he got from the stage as a teenager.

Boyle, 56, said his own journey to become a world-renown film director began at his local theatre, the Bolton Octagon, where he worked as an usher. The Trainspotting filmmaker argued that theatres provided "something else to believe in" for communities around the country and highlighted the "catastrophic" effect that arts cuts could have on Britain's local playhouses. Boyle suggested the venues are "modest cousins of football, cinema," adding, "which I'm partly responsible for - and pop music, and what they provide is something else to believe in and we must believe in it as well or otherwise we'll lose it really." Boyle, who was born in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, spoke of the danger that "metropolitan London" would take the credit for Britain's theatrical success and argued that theatre is, "something in our cities and towns that's nurtured, that's believed in, that isn't Wetherspoon's and Walkabout pubs and [the footballers] Mario Balotelli and John Terry and people like that, something decent to believe in, something good and nourishing for us all really."

Boyle's remarks come after stage legend Sir Ian McKellen warned that Britain could no longer produce actors of the quality of Sir Derek Jacobi or Dame Judi Dench, telling Reader's Digest, "The danger is going to be that the current generation of actors won't develop into good middle-aged performers because they won't have been able to live from their work."