How to get agents to come and see you perform

Getting agents to come and see you perform is very difficult and they are very busy with lots of similar requests. The key is to make sure you stand out from all the other requests. First, you need to think like the agent I.e. what is it about this actor/actress that I want to see.

Firstly, you need to do some research, it's all very well inviting lots of agents to your performance but they might not be the right ones for you. Your research can be done based on asking other actors (when you're in the green room). I have found other actors experiences very valuable and often see a trend with different actors from different productions recommending or not recommending an agent. The key questions to ask is do they get you lots of work, what sort of work do they get, how are they to work with etc.

Next, you need to get the contact details of the agents. You can get the contacts of agents from The Casting Call Pro handbook or Spotlight handbook. The best method to contact an agent is by post, however, check their website, some prefer to be contacted by email. The reason for contacting an agent by post is because they then have a hard copy of your cover letter, headshot and CV - an email can be easily deleted and are not often read.

So when contacting an agent, you should provide your headshot (good quality) CV and a cover letter.

The cover letter needs to sell you as an actor, it needs to be short and use half line spacing and no less than size 12 font. some of the key points should include:

- typical letter outline I.e. your address, their address, subject line, body of the letter and signature

- do some research on the agent, who have they got on their books, what productions have they been involved with. Briefly mention this in your letter and that you enjoyed watching their actors in the production (make such you actually watch the production, don't just say it). Demonstrate in the letter why you want to be represented by them and show that you've done research.

- say why you want to be represented by this particular agent, what is it you like about them. If another actor has recommended the agent, mention this in your letter (ensure you have permission from the person who recommended the agent first).

- sell yourself - what is it that you have that others don't, why would the agent want to see you perform, what do you have to offer, what big productions have you been in. You really need to sell yourself and this is the key part of the letter.

- provide details of the play, brief synopsis, what makes the play stand out, is it a good theatre? Again, sell the show.

Enclose a copy of your CV, make sure the CV looks professional and shows your credits (date, type, production, roll, director etc), training and personal details. Print the CV onto good quality paper.

As for the headshot, enclose the best possible quality headshot and consider two contrasting headshots that shows different emotions, appearance, character etc.

I would recommend giving a months notice of the play and send the letter at the beginning of the week so that it ensures they receive it on a work day. I would then suggest sending an email reminder a couple of days prior to your performance. But don't send repeat reminder or phone calls as this will only annoy the agent.

However, to ensure agents come to see you, choose a play to audition for that is relevant, and is likely to have a high profile. When choosing plays to audition for, if possible, chose a play that is being held in a good well known theatre and is in a location close to where agents are based. A well known theatre (there are some good well known small theatres) is more likely to attracts agents than a theatre miles from anywhere with poor transport links.

Finally, invite as many agents as possible. But remember, tailor each cover letter for each agent.