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Chris Grady: Exciting Casting Directors and Agents

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I've been working today on two different projects at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Firstly Rebecca Jewell and I have met all the 2nd year acting students for a seminar of “What an Agent does/does not do”. We have been impressed by the student’s knowledge and interest, by their desire to really understand the business, and by their hope to be spotted and supported by a really good agent.  

Now’s the time they need to do their research and there are hundreds of agents listed in Contacts. They need to find ways to build relationships, and to understand how best of be seen for work.  In the discussion we came up with a multitude of ideas, and its amazing how many connections they uncovered when they started thinking . All over the country there are similar discussions going on in drama schools.

The parallel path of my day is working with the Mountview team on a breakfast next week for Agents and Casting Directors to come and meet Sue Robertson, the Principal, and Stephen Jameson, the new Director of Performance… and Rebecca and me.  Sue and Stephen will share some exciting visions for the future, and we will aim to learn more from our guests about how to prepare the students. 

Mountview has a challenge – its 9 stops on the tube to get to the Wood Green performance space, and 6 stops to the Bernie Grant Centre where many performances happen. We have to be extra exciting in our programming and our talent to persuade agents to travel that far in an evening.  The final showcase of students, as with so many schools, happens in a West End Theatre, and our coffee and croissants will be flowing in a very central west end location next Wednesday, so it easy for them to pop in before tackling a day in the office.

As I type this I’m listening to two actors who are in the co-operative agency MV Management, which works out of Mountview exploring casting types for a recasting National Theatre project, an Old Vic production, a bit of Casualty pitching and a BBC TV drama documentary. It's great to hear the passion which actors can put into supporting their colleague actors in a Co-op.  There are so many ways in which an actor can be championed and supported in the profession.

So I look forward to meeting many agents I don’t know next week, and a few old friends over coffee – and talking about Mountview’s future plans. Now its back to Suffolk to mark some more Anglia Ruskin assignments. Oh the variety of freelance.

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