While talent agents are know as gatekeepers into the industry for actors, casting directors (CDs) are the gates. While you don’t need to stalk a CD, it can be extremely helpful for an aspiring actor to be aware of top casting directors in the city in order to look out for roles they are casting and to keep up with the latest information.
On top of that, building good relationships with casting directors are one the key aspects to advancing in this industry. As it has been said many times before, especially for actors with no experience, it’s all about who you know and who knows you if you’re looking to climb the ladder in the entertainment business.
Today, we’ll talk about the top casting directors in London, list a whole 25 of them and I’ll give you links so you can keep this for your record.
Who are casting directors?
For the uninitiated actors, a casting director (often referred to in writing as “CD”) or a casting associate is a specialized person/role in productions such as film, theatre, TV show and so on. Casting directors are responsible for majority of the pre-production process of finding and casting the right talent – actors.
Depending on the size of the production and its needs, there may be only one casting director or several. Sometimes, top casting directors will have their own assistants who are responsible for casting smaller roles while main casting directors focus on lead and supporting actors.
Casting directors work either as freelancers on a per project basis, building their own relationships with directors and producers, or they are part of a casting agency, and are then assigned to the production upon request.
How do casting directors work?
A casting director (or casting agency) contacts a number of acting agencies, talent agents, managers, and in some cases, individual talent, submit those people for specific auditions on the production based on the talent needs of that specific production being cast. Smaller productions will use casting directors to also select actors from casting websites.
Casting directors will often select the talent they feel are most suitable for the job based on the talent’s marketing material. Here are the three main things a casting director will look at, ranked in the order of how they view them:
- Actor’s headshot – if the first impression is good, they will proceed to investigate this talent further.
- Actor’s show/demo reel – if the demo reel is available and the CD likes it, an audition may already be locked in.
- Actor’s CV/resume – while credits and training is important, it’s the last thing that a CD will look at.
After this actor review process is done by the casting director, then they contact the actor’s agent, manager or the actor directly to schedule them and hold auditions. There may be several rounds of auditions, depending on the size of the production and the role being audition for.
The success of getting cast in the role will depend on getting the CD’s attention in the first place through your demo reel, headshots, acting credits and good acting training. But it all comes down to giving a solid audition that blows them away.
While casting directors often have the power to make a decision on who’s getting cast for the film or theatre play, the final call – especially for important lead and supporting roles – comes down to the director and/or producers.
Casting directors play a huge role in the industry and knowing who they are is important for actors, mostly because it should be your goal to build good relationships with them. With all that being said, here’s the selection of the best known top casting directors in London (in no particular order, so disregard the numbers).
26 Top Casting Directors in London
1. Amy Ball
Amy has been the head of the Royal Court Casting since 2007. She has cast for over 30 main productions. To find out more about Amy Ball and the work she does at the Royal Court regarding casting visit:
2. Andrea Clark
Andrea Clark casting was founded in 2006 and Andrea and has cast roles for major commercials for company’s including T-Mobile, John Lewis and McDonalds. She has cast in numerous television shows including Trial and Retribution and She also cast roles in the films Dog Soldiers, Keeping Mum and Hellboy to name just a few.
3. Angela Grosvenor
Angela is well known for her casting work in television. She has cast roles in The Bill, The Worst Witch and My Parents are Aliens to name but a few.
4. Briony Barnett Casting
Briony works in casting mainly for theatre and film. Some of her casting work for theatre includes the plays Handbagged’, the Olivier nominated ‘The House That Will Not Stand’ and ’A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes’ starring Lucian Msamati. She also cast for Paul Andrew Williams’ highly acclaimed debut play ‘Ticking’. She has also cast for films such as The Knot, Common People and Final Prayer.
5. Candid Casting
Amanda Tabak of Candid Casting has worked extensively casting roles in Urban Drama, Commercials and music videos as well as some film. Her credits include The Honeytrap, The Children, Specsavers adverts to name but a few. She has cast a host of talent including Heather Graham, Martin Freeman and Nick Blood.
6. Capataz Casting
Capataz casting are a group of casting directors working in TV, film and commercials. The team have cast roles for a host of well-known multinational commercials for companies like Carlsburg, Skoda and Nutella. They have also worked with a host of directors such as Chris Palmer and Michael Gondry.
7. Carl Proctor Casting
Carl Proctor Casting have cast actors for films such as Blood Creek and Son of God. They also cast for theatre, TV and commercials.
8. Fruitcake Casting
Fruitcake casting agency cast actors in a host of industry areas including film, television, commercials, photographic, or A&R.
9. Chris Snode Casting
Chris Snode is a world leading Sports Casting agency and have a range of awards for some of their commercials for companies such as iPhone, Adidas, Argos and Samsung.
10. Crowley Poole Casting
Suzanne Crowley specializes in casting for theatre and film casting actors for films such as Urban Hymn and Chariots of Fire. She also cast for Spooks and White Queen to name but a few.
11. Gail Stevens Casting
Gail Stevens has cast talent in films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Severance, Trainspotting and 28 Days Later plus many more famous films.
12. Irene Cotton
Irene casts in theatre, film and commercials and has 100’s of credits to her name. Irene also offers free advice to actors and you can find her advice by clicking this link.
13. Janis Jaffa
Janis Jaffa casts for TV and film shorts and her credits include the Mill and Meet the Magoons. Janis also took part in a ‘surviving actors’ seminar, in which she gave advice and ran an open question and answer seminar. You can read about that here.
14. Jill Trevellick
Jill has been emmy nominated five times and she specialises in theatre and film. Her credits include Fish Tank and Vanity Fair.
15. Kate and Lou Casting
Kate and Lou have 1oo’s of castings under their belt, casting in a wide range of different areas. Previous projects include Cusp, The Mute and City Lights.
16. Leila BertrandCDG
Leila specializes in film, TV, theatre and commercial work. Leila also runs various casting days’ workshops and showcases and you can find details of these via the links below.
17. Lucy Beavan Casting
Lucy’s most notable casting projects include Beauty & The Beast’ ‘Snowden’ ‘Cinderella’ ‘Maleficent’ ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’ ‘An Education’ ‘Quartet’ and ‘Casual Vacancy’. Lucy Bevan’s movie credits also include Pirates Of The Caribbean and she also gave Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston their first big-screen breaks. To read a recent interview in the Independent, click here.
18. Marilyn Johnson Casting
Marilyn Johnson has over 100 credits in film and television. She has cast roles for A Touch of Frost, The Woman in Black and Sugar Rush plus numerous others.
19. Maureen Duff
Maureen has worked in casting since 1992 and has cast actors in a wide range of roles in film and television. Her credits include Shine, The Flying Scotsman and The Habit of Beauty. She also worked on Calendar Girls and 28 Days Later alongside many other famous names.
20. Nicky Bligh Casting
Nicky has worked as a casting director for the BBC, SKY, Channel 4, and Comedy Central. He has worked with many top production companies including Tiger Aspect, Hat Trick, Universal Films, and the BBC with some of the UK’s top comedy talent including Rebecca Front, Julia Davis, Jack Whitehall, Jeremy Dyson, Sharon Horgan and many more.
21. Nina Gold Casting
Nina is known for her casting work on Game of Thrones, Star Wars – The Force Awakens and Martian as well as many others. Nina also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series. She also revealed in an interview recently that it is the casting directors that make all the big calls, not the directors. You can read about her and see some of her interviews in the links below.
22. Pipa Ailion
Casting includes roles for musicals, drama , TV , commercials ,pop promos, corporates. Pipa has also cast for 160 international productions including many for the west end.
23. Sasha Robertson Casting
Sasha has cast roles for a host of films and TV. Her credits include Shifty, Harley and The Davidsons, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and her most recent casting work was for A United Kingdom.
24. Suzy Korel Casting
Suzy specializes in theatre, film, T.V, commercial and corporate casting. She has worked in the industry for over 30 years and some of her work has been shortlisted for various nominations. She has cast roles for films such as A Reason to Leave, It’s a Wonderful Life and the TV sitcom Small Shoes.
25. Unconventional Productions
Unconventional Productions team of cast directors have cast roles in many famous commercials for companies such as Ceaser dog food, Holston Pils and Specsavers.
26. Chris Snode
Chris Snode (CDA) specializes in sports castings. He is London-based but casts throughout the UK and worldwide.
Chris is one of the longest-running and most experienced casting directors in the industry. He has cast and advised on many award-winning commercials over the last 30 years, including the Guinness/ AMV BBDO “Never Alone” commercial which won Gold in the 2016 Cannes Lions Awards.
After competing in the 1984 Olympics as a World Champion diver, Chris returned to the UK and founded Chris Snode Casting and built a reputation for casting exceptional sports commercials. In the early 90s, Chris began to develop a significant international network, giving him access to remarkable talent from the Americas to Asia enabling him to fulfil challenging briefs both locally and worldwide.
As you can see, there are many influential top casting directors in London. It’s good for actors to be aware of these people because these London casting directors are always on the lookout for new and fresh talent for the productions they’re working on.
I’m not suggesting you stalk these people or bother them on social media on a daily basis, but it would be well worth your effort to follow them on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and where else is possible. See what they are all up to in and around London.
For a complete list of all London and UK casting directors and those that work in casting business that are based in the London area specifically, please visit: http://www.thecdg.co.uk/members/